July seems to have flown by around here, sleeping in late, frequent trips to the pool and way more screen time than normal seems to be the norm around here now, but as nice as some of these activities are, it’s time to think about the reality that summer is coming to a close and school is just around the corner.

How do you help you and your kids get ready for school?

I’m mostly working on figuring out our morning routine, since cheerfully getting our kids out the door on time is kind of tricky for me.  It requires advanced planning and a lot of chocolate…did I say chocolate?  I meant to say discipline, yes discipline, routine and a sense of humor.  With the goal in mind to spend as little time yelling and nagging as possible I’ve started to get ready by doing the following:

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1-  Figure out what the morning routine is:

Starting from the time they wake up, I write down everything they need to do to get ready for school and assign each task a reasonable time frame.  When I’m done writing down tasks, I know when they need to get up.

 

 

2-Make a morning playlist.

After figuring out the schedule, I try to find ways to make getting out the door more enjoyable.  One of the ways, we have found to be most profitable is to create a music playlist.  Using our schedule as a base, we pick a list of songs we all enjoy and put them together in a playlist that lasts as long as it takes us to get ready.  We have a mix of peppy and slower songs, but all of them are designed to keep us in a good mood.  We’ve done this for a couple of reasons:

1-  It helps kids better understand the time frame, really helpful since kids don’t really learn to tell time till their old enough to be getting out the door on their own anyway.

2-  To help me stay more civil, getting up kids and getting them out the door can easily turn into an exercise in insanity with children and I can easily, regretfully, turn it into an hour of yelling and nagging, which is not the way I want to spend one, of only a few hours, I get to be with them during the school year.

On our current playlist, we have 16 songs that play for an hour, here are some of the songs we picked:

      • Seize the Day,” Newsies Ensemble and David Moscow
      • “Move Your Feet/D.A.N.C.E./It’s a Sunshine Day,” Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Ron Funches, Walt Dohrn, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Kunal Nayyar (from the Trolls Soundtrack)

 

 

This year, we created ours using Amazon.  We’ve had an Amazon Prime account for years, cuz-yay, free shipping! But recently discovered Prime music.  If you want to try this and are already registered for a prime account, find “your music library” under your account settings, search for songs and add them using the + button to a playlist you create.  Many of our songs were free to add, but a few were purchased and added to our playlist through our library afterwards.  This all works out well for us since we already play music through a speaker connected to our Echo.  If you don’t have a Prime account, you can try one out by clicking on the link below or make a playlist using the method that is easiest to you, we have, in the past, created a playlist on our computer and started that when we get up, or  you could have a CD you turn on.    Whatever you do, though, I would highly suggest finding music that puts you in a good mood as some kids songs might do more harm than good.

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3-Get a head of lunch.

After figuring out the morning fun, lunch was the next item on my to-do list.  Lunch can totally derail an otherwise perfectly good morning at our house.  Our kids don’t like to buy school lunch and are old enough to make their own, but aren’t always stellar at picking out items and sometimes forget at night, which makes for a rushed, unhappy morning.  So, I was excited to find this idea from Karrie at Happy Money Saver,  who suggests making all the school lunches a week ahead of time, freezing the main menu item and putting sides in containers in the fridge and pantry.  I love this idea, they will still be responsible for their lunch (we’ll all do it together), it will be ready to go in the morning, there will be only one clean up and I can make sure there are more healthy items available.   We haven’t tried this yet, but have it on our schedule for a week before school starts.

Make Ahead Cold Lunches {A Week’s Worth of Lunches in a day!}

 

4-Plan a fun, back-to-school tradition.

For the past few years, we’ve planned a spa day a week or so before school starts up again.  On this day, there is no screen time limit, we watch shows, and the girls and I put on face masks, soak our feet and paint our toenails.  I have yet to figure out the boy version of this, please, comment below or on Facebook if you have any ideas, but so far our older son seems perfectly happy to watch more TV while we do this.  It’s just something fun and relaxing we can all look forward to and gives a clear end to the lazy days of summer.  After this day we start going to bed earlier and getting up, on time, earlier.

 5-Do a practice run.

After doing all these steps, I’ll finish my preparations by doing a practice run, where  I find out how much time it really takes my kids to get out of bed and eat their breakfast, hint: it’s way longer than you think.  We’ll get up at the time we should and head to the school, like we would during the school year, to make sure our plan will help us get there on time.

 

And that is the extent of my planning, while there are many ways to get ready for school, we’ve found these ideas to be the ones that are the most helpful for us, so far.

 

What about you, what are some simple ways you prepare your kids for school?

Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment below or on Facebook.