- Speed Up That Morning Routine: We like to take it slow in the summer. But once school hits, we have to speed it back up. I like to make up lunches the night before so they're pre-packaged and ready to go. We also have "docking stations" set up for the kids' backpacks. The night before, we make sure that the kids have packed everything they need so they're ready to grab and go the next morning.
- Get to Bed a Little Earlier: Trust me, this will make step 1 a whole lot easier. Get your bed time routine started 15 minutes earlier every night the week before school starts. You'll be glad you did once they have to start waking up in time for the bus!
- Let Your Kids Take On Some Responsibility: If your kids are in kindergarten or above, they're completely capable of dressing themselves, brushing their teeth, putting their lunch in their backpack, and double checking on homework. You may have to remind them the first few times, but within a week they'll have no problem looking after much of their morning routine on their own. This frees you up to put out (hopefully metaphorical) fires and get yourself ready for the day.
- Make an Emergency Pack: What I mean by emergency is "oh no, we're late and my kid hasn't had time to brush her hair or pack her lunch." When you have an emergency pack, you're covered. Grab a backpack and fill it with protein bars, hair ties, a detangling brush, sugarless gum, water bottles, and extra cash for lunch money. I've saved myself from many a meltdown by having what my kids needed on hand on the drive to school.
- Bring a Snack for Pickup: I don't know about your kids, but mine can get pretty cranky after a long day at school, especially during those weeks when they're adjusting back to their routine. Showing up with something for them to munch on on the drive home makes it much more likely that I'll have a car full of happy kids. Tip: Don't bring a sugary snack, this won't help with their mood, yet opt for some protein, such as a cheese stick, a yogurt, some turkey or milk.
- Know When to Throw the Schedule Out the Window: Weekday schedules will go a long way in helping your kids transition back to school. But that doesn't mean your kids can never stay up late again! Ditch the schedule on the weekends and let your kids have some fun. Stay up a little late on Friday and sleep in on Saturday. Be flexible. As long as they're in bed on time on Sunday, things'll probably be just fine.
- Jenny Smith
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