I'm so excited that the weather is getting a bit cooler, which often signals that school is almost back in session! This year, I will have two school aged kids heading back to increase their brain power and soaking up some knowledge!
Managing the school week with the hustle and bustle of a household with two working parents, two kids back at school and two kids in daycare will definitely need to ensure that we have a system in place to make our lives a little easier to manage.
With each additional kiddo we've added to the family, I've learned a few tips and tricks on how we manage our busy schedule. From hacks on easing our before school morning routines to tips on managing learning at home, you seriously won't believe you ever survived the school week without them.
Back to School Life Hacks
1. Pick out school clothes the night before. When they were toddlers, I usually put them in day clothes that were also comfy to sleep in so that I didn't have to change them in the morning. Now, as our school-agers are older, they are a bit picky when it comes to what they wear to school I suggest picking out their clothes (and having the battles at night) so that you guys can ensure that you head out the door on time in the morning.
2. Get everyone to bed as early. I know that this can be hard, especially if you have hard fought battles now at night to get them to bed. However, everyone learns best when they've had a good night's rest. I may be a lucky one, but my kids know that 7:30 is bedtime - especially on a school night. There is no room for argument here.
3. Create a before and after school kanban board or chore chart. I wrote about how I'm using lean and agile concepts in my household that you can read about here. Creating some cards for what they should be getting packaged up for school and what they should be doing after school will let everyone know what is expected of them! This kanban chart also has a reward system in place, motivating them to ensure that they have everything they need at school.
4. Have a designated spot for before and after school. This will allow the family to know exactly where to find the things they need for school as well as putting their things where they belong. Often times, I tend to miss paperwork that is sent home from school because their backpacks weren't readily available. With designating our mudroom/laundry room as our drop off space, I can ensure that I can review what's in their backpacks and folders every night.
5. Stock up on simple breakfasts for you and the kids. Being pressed for time in the morning can make it hard for everyone to sit down and enjoy breakfast before a full day of learning. Instead of skipping breakfast, you can stock up on easy grab-and-go meals in the freezer aisle at Walmart.
Also at Walmart, there is a Shopkick offer of 600 kicks when you buy three (3) participating Tyson® products (chicken nuggets, chicken strips, Any'tizers® Snacks, Grilled and Ready® items, Hillshire Farm® Lunch meats, and Jimmy Dean® frozen breakfast items.)
If you haven't heard, Shopkick is an app that rewards you for shopping! It allows you to earn "kicks" for scanning products and purchasing them, which you can redeem for rewards like gift cards and movie tickets.
Since I often frequent Walmart to stock up during the school year, a Walmart gift card is typically what I choose as my reward.
You can earn kicks while you are planning your shopping trip, walking into the store to scan the product, purchasing the product or even by scanning your receipt after the purchase. By stocking up on breakfast, you will also be rewarding yourself!
I got the Jimmy Dean® Pancake and Sausage On A Stick! which is a delicious sausage inside a sweet pancake, Jimmy Dean® Pancake and Sausage Bites that you can cook and put in a cup to go and Jimmy Dean® Frozen Breakfast Sandwich Delights Croissant Sandwich for myself with under 290 calories!
They are a great way to fuel yourself to power through the morning. The Jimmy Dean® Pancake and Sausage On A Stick! are a huge hit in my house. It only takes a matter of minutes to make them before we're are headed out the door for the start of a great day.
6. Play some tunes to motivate during preparation time or learning time. For most learners, having their favorite upbeat music will get them motivated to start learning or getting them ready to head out the door! Upbeat tunes can help families out the door as they are getting ready for school in the morning. Classical music can help them be more relaxed as they are doing homework.
7. Use bribery. Go ahead, bribe them with a few minutes of screen time if they get what they need done in the morning when getting ready or completing their homework and chores after school.
8. Make a weeknight game night a learning experience. Spending time with my kids playing board games can also turn into a fun learning experience. Use blocks from any tower building game and add sight words or multiplication problems to increase their knowledge and help them be better prepared in the classroom.
I hope that these tips will help you lessen the feeling like you are running a marathon during the school week. I wish I knew these tips when I had my first child in school!
What's your favorite tip on this roundup? Can you share something that you do to take the stress out of the school week? If so, comment below. My favorite is the easy breakfast - and don't forget to check out the Shopkick offer for Tyson® products!