Fall · School · Teaching

Back to School…Calming the Chaos and Fun Traditions

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Oh sweet summer mornings, I go for an early morning walk, sip my coffee, read my Bible all before the kiddos wake up each morning. They get to sleep in, slowly wake up, and we are never rushed out the door in the morning.

Enter back to school…RUSH! That is the word that comes to mind. If I do not take some steps to prepare, we are go-go-go in the morning and no one seems happy. There is always a chance of grumpy, yelling, tantrums, missing shoes, disappearing backpacks…it can be quite a shock to the system to say the least. I don’t know about you, but mornings set the stage for my day, so I thought I would share some tips and tricks that help calm our chaos and help you get back into the school routine….as well as some fun traditions…

…SHOPPING…

I start our shopping early. We don’t start school for another two weeks but our supplies are bought. If I start early enough I can shop the sales and pick up things at different stores. The kids also get a good selection on supplies. We start shopping a month in advance.

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I also splurge on Pottery Barn backpacks…they last! In fact, I do not buy my kiddos a new backpack each year. Investing in a high quality backpack and washing it a few times a year keeps it looking new, but also saves on the bank.

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…ROUTINE…

This is huge! I have a routine that I follow to ensure that I get blogging and quiet time in each morning. My kids also have a routine they follow each morning. As they have gotten older, they have also gotten more independent which is helpful. They know they each need to get dressed, brush hair and teeth, eat breakfast, and they also get a little TV time.

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…WAKE UP EARLIER…

This is huge. my mornings start best when I don’t feel rushed. The same goes for my kiddos. They both take a little time to “warm up” in the morning. They know they have to get dressed right away but then get about 20 minutes to zone out to the TV. I don’t even mind. They need this quiet time to wake up, they need to wrap their minds around the day, and they don’t like feeling rushed. I learned this hard way. We always seemed to be frantic trying to get out the door when I had both kids to get to school on time (along with myself) so I started waking them up about 15 minutes earlier and it has been such a great shift. Getting out the door is no longer frantic.

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…KEEP IT SIMPLE…

Breakfast around here is not glamorous on the week days. The kids get cereal, toast or an EGO and they grab a juice pack out of the fridge. With that being said, I have a lot of working mom guilt, so to ease that I make their breakfast every day while they are watching TV. They are waking up, I am able to serve my family breakfast so it is a win-win. Simple is best.

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…PREP…

I am a big believer in prepping as much as possible the night before. Lunches are packed, Reading Logs and homework are completed, papers are signed, and backpacks are hanging on the back of the chairs by the door. I also have the kids lay out their clothes the night before, and they put their shoes on their chairs (where their backpacks are hanging) as well…this solves the case for the missing shoes. About 15 minutes before we leave, the TV is shut off, the kids brush their teeth, get their lunches from the fridge, load their backpacks and get on their shoes. While they are doing this I am finishing getting myself out the door, but also loading the dishwasher because it is nice to come home to an empty sink.

…HOMEWORK STATION…

You can read my post on our Homework Station and how we Stop the Homework Hassle.

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…SLEEP…

Kids need A LOT of sleep. My kids are in 2nd and 5th grade and they go to bed at 8. I am really protective about the sleep they get. As a teacher, I get to experience and see the consequence of lack of sleep. I cannot stress early bedtimes enough.

…FUN TRADITIONS…

  • We have Open House the night before school starts. The kids love seeing their friends and meeting their new teachers.
  • I make one of our favorite meals for dinner the first day of school. I’ve made pans of lasagna before (you get to send the leftovers for lunches!) or spaghetti, grilled burgers (my husband makes the best). Something that we all love and we can share a fun family meal together.
  • Our favorite tradition…we start school on a Tuesday and come Friday we are wiped out! Mama doesn’t want to cook, so we all go out to a nice dinner. No dishes, good food, and we hardly eat out so it is a fun little treat for all of us.

What are your back to school tips? Do you do the majority of your prepping the night before? Does it a take awhile to wake up in the morning? Are you a pretty routine person? I would love to know how you handle the AM crazies!

-Jenna

 

 

8 thoughts on “Back to School…Calming the Chaos and Fun Traditions

    1. I am not feeling ready either Dara! I love getting up, my daughter, not so much. She is my night owl/sleeper-inner! I am going to miss the slow mornings most!

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  1. I am so glad that you have such a set schedule for the kiddos. I personally get up about 45 minutes before I need to be at the gym for my AM workout so that I don’t feel rushed to get there AND get to my class. I also use that time to prep my food for work and lay out my clothes. Do you ever workout in the morning or are you more of an after work gym person? Do you think as the kids get older they will start making their own breakfast/lunches??

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    1. Packing lunches are a family affair, but I always like making them breakfast. I need to get better about giving them responsibilities. Hahaha! Once school starts back up again I work out after work, but during summer break I am able to get my workouts in early in the morning and I love it.

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  2. Jenna I am STILL finding it hard getting Caspar to remember to do certain things – like do his hair or brush his teeth before school, he is so laid back. I am usually screaming out of the house 10 mins before school – I hate rushing though. HAVE to get more organised. You are right about doing everything the night before (even if exhausted) – nothing worse that not being able to find things in the morning. Will you carry on with the time for you, blogging, coffee etc and a walk when you all go back to school? It is something I’ve thought about but already get up at 6:15. A lot of bloggers swear by this, even if it means getting up at say 5am – what are your thoughts? With you on the special meal for first day of school – gives everyone something to look forward to if they are not too keen on going back! J xx

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    1. I feel you about the rush to get out the door. Story of my life! Hahaha! I woke the kids up earlier last year and that worked out so well. Also, just getting things (like shoes and coats) ready to go the night before helped us out so much. Also, I completely understand about the brushing of the teeth and hair…daily battle around here! What would our kids do without us?!?!? I won’t be able to get a walk in before school, but I will go after school. I do get up at 5 each morning just because I love having a little extra time with God and blog reading before having to get the kids up and ready. I will miss my morning walks most of all when school starts. Those slow mornings are the best! Have a great week ahead!

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