After our kids started school, my friends and I realized we needed a plan to make it through the school week with your sanity. In the beginning, it felt like I was losing my mind trying to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door on time.
So I started coming up with ways to make the whole week more manageable and therefore MUCH less stressful. The ideas below will help prep you for everything before you leave the house each weekday.
Check out this post for ideas to help you manage homework and dinner when you come home!
90% of the hurdles that could hold me up on a school day can be circumvented by prepping some things the night before. No, even these tips won’t help you if your 3 and 5 year old decide they have to go #2 five minutes before you need to load them in the car! But for all the other days, try these tricks!
1. Lay out your kids’ clothes for the week on Sunday night! One of my best investments was a $10 hanging sweater organizer. I have one for each of the girls and Sunday night I check the weather for the week and lay out each daily outfit – this means socks, underwear, headbands, etc! If your child is old enough…or at least old enough to protest their outfits, get them involved in the process. Once they have a say in it, you will be amazed at how they don’t fight over that daily outfit.
2. Lunches – I love to pack my husband and girls’ lunches because it is so much cheaper and I have so much more say in making the lunch healthier. But I tired quickly of spending 20 mins each might packing the same thing! So now I make everyone’s sandwiches on Sunday and freeze them individually. Peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, etc. I love the Tupperware Freezer Mates containers b/c I know the items won’t get freezer burnt either.
I grew up very poor and individual snack bags of chips were never found in my home. Now that I am older, I can see what a waste of money these are. Instead I buy a large bag of chips from SAMs and use snack baggies to portion out whatever I need for the week.
3. Have some readily accessible breakfast options. Healthy breakfasts are hard to come by quickly. My whole family loves yogurt so I make up these healthy greek yogurt parfaits and throw them in the fridge. I use vanilla greek yogurt and layer it with granola and frozen fruit in a mason jar. The frozen fruit naturally defrosts in the fridge making for a yummy treat.
And the great thing about using mason jars is you can buy various sizes depending upon what size parfait you want. I use the larger ones for my husband but smaller ones for my girls.
4. I keep a large Tupperware bin in my pantry full of granola bars and other healthy snacks. The kids know that if we are running behind, they can grab from this bin to get a bite to eat. I also use it as add-ons in their lunch box. I also always keep these Health Cookie Bites made and ready to grab!
5. Lay out book bags the night before. As soon as my older daughter gets home, I pull out her folder and any other papers from her book bag. I sign off on anything I need to, add any important dates to my calendar and then repack her book bag for the next day. In the morning, all I have to do is pack her lunchbox inside and we are set.
6. Don’t forget winter accessories! With cooler weather, one of the biggest hang ups I found us running into was looking for matching gloves and hats that actually fit this winter! So now I lay out a pair of gloves, coat and hat for each of my girls the night before.
7. My last tip in this series….for the love of all this is good, get up half an hour to an hour before your earliest riser! I know this can be tough if you have an early bird…I mean, I really know…my oldest used to sleep “in” to 6 am. But I find that my most rushed mornings are when I have slept in and I’m trying to get myself ready and fed along with my kids.
That little bit of alone time allows me to gather my thoughts, reflect on how I want the day to go, say some words of thanks, and actually go to the bathroom without 2 sets of eyes following my every move. That is worth the small amount of sleep I give up any day!
At the end of the day, the end goal of all these tips is to leave the house with a smile on your face and your kids’ faces. It makes a world of difference when you can send them off to school and they know there is a place of calm that will be there waiting for them at the end of the day.