Transitioning into the back to school swing can turn any family’s life into a hectic rush. Luckily, there are many alterations that can be made to your daily lives in terms of efficiency in order to streamline the transition and make mornings a breeze. Consider making the seven changes below in order to help your family thrive in the back to school frenzy.
1.Pack a full week of lunches on Sunday. Streamline your lunch-making process by preparing lunches ahead of time. Pack every component of weekday lunches into gallon-sized Ziploc bag, except for the sandwich or leftovers that you’ll be including as the main component of your child’s lunch. You should have five filled bags, one for each day. Each weekday morning, take a minute or two to make a fresh sandwich or package leftovers then transfer the Ziploc bag into your child’s lunchbox.
2.Help build up their immune system. Back to school means interacting with dozens of other children each day. If just one of your child’s friends is sick he can contract a cold, stomach bug or flu. Prepare your child’s immune system to fight back ahead of time by adding immune boosting foods to their daily diet. Foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E help strengthen the immune system. Probiotics also help strengthen the stomach. It’s a smart idea to jam-pack meals and snacks with bell peppers, kale, salmon, mushrooms and nuts. Get creative when preparing these foods for picky eaters. Slip bell peppers into a salad, mushrooms into a steak sauce and make salmon burgers. Your kids will beg for kale once they try crispy kale chips. Whenever possible sneak homemade chicken stock into recipes as it helps the body absorb more nutrients.
3.Organize clothes ahead of time. Place a hanging shoe organizer in your child’s closet and label each cubby with a day of the week. On Sundays, lay out each weekday’s outfit and stick them into the corresponding cubby. Be sure to include underwear, socks, undershirts, shoes and even hair accessories. If you have school aged daughters, consider going one step further by writing down the hairstyle she’ll be wearing that day (e.g. ponytail, pigtails, braid) on an index card and placing it with the clothes for that day. This is also a great way to help transition girls into doing their own hair each morning.
4.Nighttime showers. Getting the kids out of bed each morning is a difficult task all on its own. Add in a morning shower and you often find yourself in a time crunch and with a grouchy toddler on your hands. Save stress, time and energy by scheduling showers for bed time rather than mornings. By doing so, you’ll find that your mornings aren’t as rushed and your family may actually have time to enjoy your new morning routine.
5.Weekly family fun night. It’s easy to let family time get lost in the shuffle when transitioning back to school. Keep your family connected by setting aside an evening for family fun night each week. Scheduling it to fall on a Wednesday or Thursday night can give the family something to look forward to aside from the weekend. Some fun family activities that are perfect for a family night are making a homemade pizza, baking and decorating cookies, playing football in the backyard and of course, watching movies.
6.Stock up on readymade meals. Having a few prepared meals on hand can save your budget and your waistline on those inevitable nights when you just aren’t up to cooking. An easy way to stock up on these meals is to make double batches of food when you’re making dinner. If you’re making an extra casserole, cover it in aluminum foil and slip it into the freezer. Most meals can simply be place in a Ziploc bag and placed in the freezer. When dinner time is looming on busy days, reheat the meal in the oven or microwave and a sizzling homemade dinner is on the table within minutes. Some ideas for meals that freeze well are burritos, baked ziti, soups and frozen pizzas.
7.Set up a carpool. Get together with other parents in your neighborhood and set up a car pool. If you have a big network of moms in the area you may only end up driving your children to school one or two days per week. Carpooling can also work for afterschool activities such as sports, karate and dance classes. Just be sure that the arrangements are fair and convenient for each parent.
Many moms will agree that the worst part about sending the kids back to school is the hectic mornings. By implementing the changes above you’ll be in cool, calm, collected and may actually have time to sit down and enjoy your morning cup of Joe.
Katelyn Roberts is a frequent contributor for NetQin, helping couple explore vacations to keep them healthy and safe.