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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back To School 101

Well, it's that time again.

Time for empty notebook pages, full of possibility.  Time for fresh text books, just waiting to be cracked.  And high time for a little structure and routine around here.  I am one who is ready to be finished in the spring and always ready to head back to school in the fall. 

This year I have ones in 8th, 6th and 2nd grade.  They are involved in before school activities and after school activities.  That means my days start early and end late and I need to be one organized mama!

Recently, a friend asked if I would share my 'secrets' for getting everyone out the door in the morning and to school on time. {Maybe you don't struggle with this, but maybe you do.}  I thought if she was curious, maybe you all would be as well.  I'll share what works for us.
*Disclaimer*    There are occasions where the wheels come off the cart and it all falls apart.  But by and large, this is how we roll.

 Secret #1.  Tomorrow's success starts today.  I find my best defense against morning craziness begins the night before.  After dinner I clean my kitchen.  There are no dinner dishes left lying around, the dishwasher is humming, my sink is scrubbed clean, counters wiped down and my table is set for the morning.  I know it sounds like a lot of work at a time of day when most of us just want to kick back and rest, but believe me.... it is SO VERY worth the time at night, for a calm, organized morning.  There is no better feeling than waking to a kitchen that is ready to go.  Nothing to do except move forward in the day.

 I started setting the table in the evening several years ago.  It is just one less thing to have to contend with.  And my kids and husband feel special because I have taken the time to make sure their day starts smoothly.  Don't you feel honored or special when someone has gone the extra mile for you?  I also set up this little cereal station.  I was tired of ripped cereal boxes, cereal bags torn from top to bottom and my youngest climbing on the counter top to grab a bowl.  This is a great self-serve station.  With the exception of the milk, everything they need is there or on the table.  I am using their silver baby cups as scoops - they love that!!

Sorry for the blurry photos.  They were taken on Luke's ipod because I'm fancy like that!

Secret #2.  Rise before your children.  I know, I know.  It's not easy.  If you give yourself time to wake up and get dressed and ready for your day BEFORE the kids wake up and need 100 things, your day will go smoother.  I find that if my basic needs are met, I am much more able to help them without being stressed or panicked.  {It's akin to putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting young children with theirs.  The same could be said for my morning cup of chai.}  I rise at 5:30 during the school year and wake my kids between 6-6:30, depending on the days activities.  We are all night showerers around here - cuts down on what needs to happen in the morning {and cuts down on the frequency of sheet washing, as we go to bed clean!}

Secret #3.  Plan what everyone will wear the night before and have it ready to go.  Sounds like a no - brainer but this is a HUGE help.  Especially with girls.  Middle school girls in particular.  If we take a few minutes before bed to pull what we are going to wear the next day, the 'I'm too tired' drama is removed.  Iron if you need to iron.  Accessorize if you need to accessorize. {middle school :0)} But have it ready to go so all they need to do is put it on and go!

Secret #4.  Have a specific place set aside for shoes and backpacks.  We have a bench in our mudroom where all their backpacks, books and homework go.  Their shoes go on a rubber mat under the bench for a quick dash out the door.  Now, whether they use them or not is another story..... but at least I have created a system and it is their responsibility to work within that system.  We rarely have issues of not being able to find homework or shoes as we head out.

Secret #5. Pack lunches the night before.  I have all their water bottles {all 6} in the fridge and ready to pull out in the morning.  Why six?  I have three kids.  They each have a bottle in their lunch boxes and one for classroom or lockers.  That way the lunch box bottles stay in their lunch and the classroom bottles stay in the class.  Less chance for loss than if the water bottles 'travel' during the day.  Anyway, pre-pack what you can the night before.  That way you just pull and pack in the morning.  Occasionally my kids will pack their own lunches {my goal someday}, but we have a heavy homework load and usually take our sweet time, and evening commitments.  That pushes us for time.   I would prefer they head to bed to get a good night's sleep.  They help me out in other ways.


  I hope this information doesn't come across as prideful, I don't have it all going on and lack greatly in other areas - -like photography.  I just hope this is helpful.  Again, I apologize for the photo quality.  Even tried making them smaller, nothing helped!


1 comment:

  1. When you were talking about setting the table the night before Grandma Sobieck came to mind. She always set the table the night before. When we visited her I could here her setting the table while we were all snug in her handmade quilts in the upstairs bedrooms. what great memories, thank you for bringing them to mind.