It seems like just yesterday I was packing lunches, my least favorite thing to do ever and scrambling for socks, not even a matching pair, because that is never an option in my house. I have to admit, I am not organized by any means. I suck actually. We live out of clothes baskets, I mentally prepare for my morning tasks the night before instead of just getting organized and getting things done so I can ease into the following day. I often forget to go through school bags, and Will and Mia have been known to miss a spirit day, or three. I am determined to get my life in order and get organized this school year. This is a sure fire way to reduce the stress in my life and would probably dictate how the rest of the day will unfold. In an effort to achieve some ease as we get catapulted into the next school year, I have compiled a list of some tips and hacks that could definitely help my cause and maybe yours too!
No Wifi Until Homework is Done – This hack is brilliant and I can not claim it as my own. I nabbed it from a wizard-mom I was sitting next to on the train one random day commuting. Every single day she changed the wifi password in an effort to keep the kids on task and everyone accountable. For her, changing the password daily was as much a habit as brushing her teeth. She kept each newly changed password logged in a notebook hidden safely from her teenagers and each day after school the kids knew WiFI was inaccessible until homework was done and reading requirements met. Not a device could be used. Brilliant, totally going to need this when mine are a pinch older.
Play High Low at Dinner Time – I supposed this is a hack to get your kids talking and generate some banter while breaking bread with your family. Believe it or not, I learned this version of “High Low” around our dinner table in college with my roomies. Granted, we were all probably literally a little high, nevertheless the game definitely encouraged conversation and works even better to get those “Few Word Frannies” to pipe up around the dinner table and share their school day triumphs and tribulations now. Each person takes a turn describing their high and low from the day. It is amazing what you may learn through this process from your little, less forthcoming children.
No T.V. Tuesdays – I LOVE THIS! Why the heck not make this a rule that stands? A day without T.V. never killed anyone. For crying out loud, Nicole and I made a bet with our dad that we would not watch T.V. for an entire year. We not only won the bet, cross my heart, we were awarded $600 big ones and the front page story in the local paper. “Boob Tube Bet Sends Dad To Bank.” I have announced this no t.v. Tuesday mandate over vacation and I plan to continue making mini announcements so they are good and prepped for the real deal come school.
PB & J in Advance – Instead of having to deal with making peanut butter and jellies every single day, make an entire loaf of sandwiches ahead of time. Package them individually in baggies, place them back in the bread sleeve and freeze. Toss a frozen, prepackaged sandwich in lunches that morning and they will be ready to eat by lunch.
Large Family Calendar – A desk calendar or some sort of large planner is key to keeping everyones activities orderly and in one spot. This way, anyone can add, omit or change any event and everyone knows about it and no one will miss their next dental appointment. I was turned on to these planners by my most organized friend and they are the cats pajamas.
Crock Pot it Up – I am a working mom and good, home cooked meals are essential. By the time I get home from work though, whipping together a legit meal can not also be time consuming but it doesn’t leave much time, energy and patience for homework. In order for me to not flirt with committing manslaughter due to my lack of patience at this point, crock pot meals are essential and as easy as 1,2,3. All you need to do is toss your ingredients in the removable pot and toss in the fridge until morning. Before you head out the for work turn the crock pot on and let her rip.
F Plastic Containers – I am officially done with “plastic ware” for food storage and lunches. Shocker, I can’t find a lid to a match a container to save my life. What is wrong with me? Well, if I am committed to streamlining my day and want lunches to be put together and packaged with ease, I am going to have to make a little mini investment. BENTO BOXES! These things are awesome, environmentally friendly and the days of hunting for lids for crappy plastic containers are gone. There is a compartment for everything from your sauces to your veggies to your little turkey rollups! Thank goodness for AMAZON!
Homework Station – A well lit space with all of the essential school supplies in one spot is key to a smooth homework experience. I have a sneaking suspicion my first graders are going to be coming home with lots of projects and assignments that will require everything from sharpened pencils to glue sticks and crayons and the less running around I have to do during these homework sessions the better.
Morning Routine – I am excited that my littles are getting to an age where really encouraging some structure they can maintain on their own is near. I am really going to encourage and lead by example with some basic tasks to be done before those little feet hit the first floor screaming, “what is for breakfast?” The morning routine is not only going to reduce the morning rush but it is going to make my life easier on the back end and we all know, when momma is happy, EVERYONE is happy. To start: Wake Up, immediately make your bed and tidy up your room. Breakfast, brush your teeth, get dressed and take Mildred for a walk. That to me sounds like a glorious way to start the day.
Nighttime Routine – A good nighttime routine means the following day will be that much better. Backpacks need to be packed up with homework and any other papers that need to be returned. Lunch boxes need to be emptied and cleaned, ready for the packing the next day and outfits and shoes laid out with socks to boot. Wind down with a little pre bed reading and off to bed.
I am not going to lie, I am ready for school to start. It is fun to enjoy summer and the loose schedule it allows, but after 3 months of that I am very ready for a schedule and some structure in my life. Looking forward to the fall and all of its awesomeness. The thought of relishing in it and having some hacks to assist me will only make the start of the school year that much better. What are some of your favorite tricks of the trade? I could surely use all the help I can get!
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