How I Manage Our Family During The School Year
Children are creatures of habit, so switching up the simplest things may send them into a panic. Though summer seems short, for most households, it is a period of more freedom and less structure. I recommend getting back on routine at least a month before school starts, to make the transition a bit easier. Starting with your morning routine and moving on to your school evening routine each day can slowly get your little ones back on track for the new school year.
Get up and start your day earlier. Rushing causes stress for both you and your child. If you are a working mom, give yourself plenty of time for "me time." This is the time for you to get dressed and entirely ready for the day. Every morning, I get completely ready and leave my daughter asleep, this works well for both of us. About 45 minutes before its time to head out the house I wake her up.
She knows that when she wakes up, she goes to the potty, brushes her teeth and washes her face. I either let her watch television for about 15 minutes while I freshen up her hair, or we get ready by talking about the day ahead. We say our affirmations, and I tell her "school is going to be so amazing today." We talk about all the excellent things she is learning, and I reassure her that mommy and daddy will pick her up after work when she is done playing with her friends. This usually leaves us enough time to take our vitamins and get a quick breakfast before heading out the door.
We have a live dance party in the car jamming to our Hip Hop Nursery Rhymes, and we pray before entering the building. It is always important to her that I take her into her classroom, get her settled in and say my farewells because leaving without her knowing does not work well for her.
Her school day is extremely structured, and she naps the same time every day and dad picks her up every day at the same time. Two days a week, my daughter goes to the gym with us and gets to play with her friends right after school. On those days we get home about two hours before bedtime, and we try to stick to a basic routine. By 7 pm we are eating dinner, and I give her a choice of the TV for 45 minutes or tablet. After dinner she takes a bath, we read a story or do flash cards, daddy gets home, and we pray and go to bed by 8:30. Children having a good sleep and a structured schedule is key to a successful day.
I prepare as much as I can at night, laying out the next day's activities so that we can grab and go in the morning. A successful night leads to a successful day and our family is nothing without preparation!
Preparing the house
A significant goal for my household is preparing for the week on Sundays. We are so busy during the week, and this is the key to success in my home. Between Saturday and Sunday, I like to deep clean my house. This includes getting into and under the dark areas that may go missed throughout the week. Ideally, I love to disinfect and clean my entire home so that only light cleaning and tidying up needs to be done during the week.
In a perfect world, I would love to have all my laundry washed and folded. But in reality, they get washed, and the pile of clean clothes could sit there until they become dirty again. As long as dad has his work shirts accessible, we have a week's worth of underwear on hand, and enough clothes to get through the week I am overachieving.
Preparing the children
To prepare my daughter for the week, it's essential that I plan and always think ahead. I like to fully plan the wardrobe for the week as she needs three extra outfits for school in case of an accident, five outfits for each day of the week, and uniforms for ballet and soccer. This can be a lot to think about for busy parents so doing it in advance works perfectly. I also like to style her hair on Sundays, this is a task in itself, but it helps to do a style that will last at least until mid-week.
Preparing the meals
I cook four meals that we alternate between lunch and dinner for the entire week. I usually make two selections for breakfast that generally include egg whites or overnight oats. I take those meals and portion them into Tupperware to make it super easy to grab and stick in our lunch boxes in the morning. Our life is a scheduled time crunch, and most of my meals have to be simple ingredients and taste good when warmed up in the microwave. Meal prepping also helps us stick to healthy eating. When eating on impulse, you will often find yourself in the drive-through ordering a #5.
I can better balance out my meals and portions if I take the time to think about them and separate them by meal. I also do not spend as much money during the week on snacks and miscellaneous items because all of my meals and snacks are already planned and well thought out. Being an indecisive person has led me to make bad health choices in the past because I am eating impromptu meals, and snacking on whatever is accessible to me at that moment. Meal Prepping has indeed changed my life for the better.
Create a schedule & a backup plan
As a mom, we can plan all we want, but there will often be unscheduled meltdowns that aren't expected. The first day or even the first week of drops off may seem like a breeze and everything changes. For children, it helps to read books about being excited about school. At night time or on the weekend, talk about how excellent school is and take great interest in their teachers, the curriculum they are studying, the meals they are eating, and even the friends they are making. Take some time to volunteer at school, be involved in after hour activities or family nights that your school offers to let both your child and the teachers know that you care.
Outside of school, spend some one on one time with your child. When you get home, put your broom, mop, and disinfectant wipes down and spend time with your baby. No matter how old they are, he/she needs you.
Choose one day during the weekend to prep and use the other as a family day. Your children need to see you happy, healthy and having fun. Life is too short to be stressed. Preparing ahead of time can help to relieve so much of that. Your family and life will grow old right before your eyes. Right now you are sending your children off to pre-school and the next thing you know you are sending her/him off to college. The good news is, it gets easier. These times do not last forever, prepare ahead and PUSH THROUGH!!