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Back to School: Tips for Morning Routines

Back to school! Its that time of year that makes moms happy and sad; happy to start new routines and sad about the energy and organization it can take to get your family going. Throughout the month of August we are featuring organized moms who will help get you started back to school with the toughest tasks.

Moms are challenged to get everyone out the door on time with a smile.  These ideas can get everyone’s day started off right. 

 

Morning school routine

 The most important thing I do to make school mornings run smoothly is to do ALMOST everything the night before.  My goal is for everything to be done except for obviously breakfast, getting dressed, and brushing teeth.  Here are some of the things I do the night before that make our mornings more manageable:

* Unload the dishwasher – I loathe spending extra time in the kitchen late at night when it feels like I’ve been in there ALL DAY, but it’s so worth it to start the morning with a clean kitchen.  The breakfast dishes are a quick rinse and load and then I’ve got a clean kitchen again.

* Pack lunches, fruit break, water bottles – another kitchen chore that I despise doing at night, BUT it’s even worse to deal with the next morning, so I make myself get it done!

* Set out backpacks, shoes, and any other items that are going to school that day

* Lay school clothes out as I’m tucking kids in at night

When I slack off and don’t do one or more of these chores the night before, the result is a scattered, hectic morning – not a good start to the day!

Another trick that works for me is to require that the kids eat, dress, put on shoes, and brush teeth and hair before they watch any cartoons.  They are motivated to get these small chores done and they enjoy having 10 minutes or so of TV time before we head to school.

Meredith Delap is a stay at home mom of three.  She enjoys reading, the beach, and peace and quiet.

Back to School: Successful School Strategies

 

Fall is around the corner and now is the time to establish successful strategies and routines.  This time of year we are ready to begin again, even more so than at the new year.   When families work together new routines, the results can be amazing!  Communication is the key.  No one likes to be told what to do whether you are an adult, teen or even a young child.  Asking questions can make the difference on helping your children be successful in school and working together on solutions for family responsibilities and routines.   Here are some questions to help your family get a great start this fall.   Host a family meeting to collaborate on this. 

What are your personal goals for this next year?  Help your child establish a minimum goal for one area by asking what specific actions they will take to accomplish this goal.   Ask them how you can help them reach the goal.  Share with them one goal you have too and ask for their help. 

What is the best way for you to keep up with your calendar, recording your homework and other activities?  Families can set up a month at a glance calendar in a prominent place for everyone to see or use a digital calendar and print out the month at a glance.  Each  child will need their own planner for use at school, either a month at a glance, week at a glance or a spiral notebook to write in all assignments, important dates and other details.  Parents need a reliable planner system too. 

What is your best way to keep up with papers this fall? Some ideas might be one binder with tabbed slash pockets, one folder for each subject and a homework folder, a small box file, or an accordion file with one pocket for each subject.  Remember, paper management is a learned skill and very important to practice. 

What ways to study help you learn best?  Auditory learners learn well with background music, softly playing in the background. Kinesthetic learners learn well with flashcards, re-writing and movement.  Visual learners learn best with color, highlighting and underlining.  Minimize distractions by keeping study time out of your child’s room.  Check grades weekly online with your students asking them to assess what is working for studying. 

Ask all your family members to brainstorm all the stuff that must be done each week, including trash, dinner preparation, dishes, laundry, and more.  Then ask each family member which task they can do best or which they prefer.  When you work from your strengths and/or work on what you prefer, everyone does a better job. Ask for family members to partner in getting these jobs done too, so that no one person has to work alone.  Record their responsibilities on a chart and post this again in a prominent place.  Everyone has come together to work together as a team. 

Start this year off with a plan for everyone in your family. Keep the strategies going with encouragement and enthusiasm, hosting family meetings to continue this dialogue and communicate about other important family values.   Starting new or getting back to routines makes a difference for everyone.

Back to School Time Management

Back to school means getting back into schedules, activities and getting to school on time.  It is hard to do, especially after summer.   One of the most important parts of back to school is getting back or getting going on good routines.  Routines are the consistent, every day ways of getting things done that make life easier.  Try out these routines this fall, starting them the third week of August, so that by the first day of school you are already in the groove. 

  •  Have a set schedule for homework and other chores.  Designate a little time for down time, and then start on homework in the late afternoon. The later you start homework, the longer it takes.  Decide on what chores are done on what days and post a chart so everyone is on board with this plan. 
  • Use power periods to get homework done. Instead of 2 hours straight, break your homework time into 15,30 or 45 minutes of work and 5 minutes of walking around, getting a drink,texting friends or taking a very short break. Your kids will be more efficient if they know that the homework needs to be done in 45 minutes.
  • All kids and parents need planners and calendars.  Host a family meeting each week to write in on a month at a glance calendar what upcoming and regular events are going on. Include even the weekly activities, like ballet, football or other kids and parent activities.  You can use the google calendar or Cozi.com if you are a techie, and print the calendar to post too.  Kids bring their planners too to fill in so everyone is modeling and practicing how to use their planners.
  • Set a bed time for the kids and parents.   Well rested kids do better in school. Well rested parents are more productive.  Set alarm clocks for everyone to get up and get going. 

Take a good look at the big picture and what you want this year to be for your family.  At your family meeting, have everyone talk about this and share.  Also think through over scheduling.  Be realistic about what your kids participate in and your commitment.  Being involved is a positive, but being over involved can cause stress and frustration.

Back to School Preparation Checklist

Back to school check lists

 

You and your kids are counting down the days until school begins again.  Start the year off right with some easy steps to prepare for the first day.   A little preparation goes a long way throughout the school year.

 

Appointments

It is time to schedule all those back to school doctor, dental and eye glass appointments. It can take up to 2 weeks so call now for the best time.  Many athletic departments require physicals and it is important to have an updated immunization record. Be proactive and get these dates on your calendar.  Remember to get an extra copy for your files too!  Schedule other groom essentials like haircuts and more too.

 

Paper

Before the new year avalanche of paper starts, take the last year’s artwork and corral it.  Using a Fed Ex Box large box, save only the “precious” items to store in the top of a closet.  Label the box by year (1st grade or 2009-2010).  Now you are ready for this year’s art.

Set up your command center for action papers.  Your command center holds all the very important action papers, including bills, kids papers from school  and other papers requiring an action. Add sections for papers that will be pending and filed. Each day open your mail at this station, recycle junk mail, shred potential identity theft papers and bring catalogs and magazines to a reading spot. By creating a specific work station for these papers, you are ready to act on them with an hour of weekly administrative time.

 

Closets

Clean out your kids’ closets before you shop for back to school gear.  Only keep what is fitting or a little larger.  Keep some warm weather attire for the beginning days of school.  When it comes to creating a system for storing the clothes, have your kids partner with you to create what works. Kids can maintain their closets or drawers if they are in reach and they have a good routine for this.  Have a laundry basket in everyone’s room to collect dirty and redistribute clean clothes too.

 

Academics

The first few weeks of school are all about refreshing skills and concepts. Do your kids need a little routine for the last few weeks of summer? Skill building books and free online computer games are available for writing, math and problem solving.  Make it fun with stickers and rewards for accomplishing and completing pages.

 

Morning and Evening Routines

The hardest part of getting back to school is getting back to the morning routine.  Two weeks before school begins, start having earlier bedtimes and wake up calls.  You can inch back bedtime for half an hour earlier each week until the week before school starts you are setting the routines in motion.   Practice getting up with an alarm too.   Hold your family meeting to review what works best each morning and evening during the school year.    Set in motion an evening routine where backpacks are ready at the backdoor the night before, clothes are laid out and everyone feels ready for the next day.

Make this your best school year yet by chatting with your family about their expectations and more.  Go around the table and ask each person to talk about what they want to accomplish this year.    Ask how each family member can assist another, in partnering about tests, sharing responsibilities or other aspects.  Create a team in making each person’s academic goals come true!

Busy Family’s Guide to Getting Organized Teleclass

Fall means getting back to business for families: the business of school, work and life.  Join me for a free teleclass and get your family off to a great start for the school year.

·                    Establish a family mission statement

·                    Begin building a cohesive family team

·                    Generate House Rules and Standard Operating Procedures

·                    Focus on scheduling for yourself and your family

·                    A starting point for balance in your home, work and life

 

Wednesday September 2  from 8  – 9 pm

 

A teleclass is taken in your home, no traffic, no looking for parking!  Come as you are.  Everyone calls in to the same phone number and is on the same line (long distance rates apply but you can call from your cell phone). 

 

Free Conference Call
Conference Dial-in Number: (218) 339-4300
Participant Access Code: 354656#

 

Please email me to send you a handout too! Happy organizing