This summer went by way too fast. It seems like the school year ended just a few weeks ago; yet now it’s August, and my kids have just finished summer camp. We have a week off before my sons start second grade and kindergarten. I’m still reeling from the thought of having two kids in school at the same time — it means double the homework and double the extracurricular activities.
Lucky for them (and my sanity), I’m a huge planner. I’m already thinking about how I can make our back-to-school transition easier and stress-free. Here are a few little routines that make a big difference with my kids as we ease back into school mode:
1. Have kids wear their school clothes for the next day to bed instead of pajamas.
Whether it’s finding a clean tagless shirt (my oldest son hates tags) to convincing my them that underwear is not optional, there have been times when I’ve had to deal with morning meltdowns before I even have a chance to get properly caffeinated. Going to bed wearing school clothes is the perfect solution for them. They think it’s fun to forgo the jammies, and it’s a huge time (and meltdown) saver — provided they don’t have a potty accident in the middle of the night.
2. Create a menu of school lunches in advance.
I’ve been guilty of asking my kids “turkey or PB&J” way too many times, and I know they get bored with only two sandwich options. This year, I’m creating their lunch menus in advance so they don’t get bored, which usually results in uneaten lunches and cranky kids who are starving after school. Plus, I want to be sure they’re getting enough protein, fruit and vegetables so it helps me to see a menu to ensure variety.
3. Prepare, pre-cut, or pre-pack lunch and afterschool snacks.
Shop for the week on a Sunday and prepare the food in advance so all you’ll need to do is grab and go when it’s time to pack a school lunch. A few favorites in our house include: carrots, cucumbers, apple slices with a bit of lemon squeezed on them to prevent it from browning, cherry tomatoes, grapes, pretzels, crackers and cheddar cheese slices. I keep all of these foods portioned in containers or reusable bags so all I usually need to pack is the main dish, which varies each day.
4. Make a big batch of breakfast foods to serve up during the week.
My kids rarely want the same breakfast two days in a row, but I have a sneaky way of serving it up without them noticing. For example, I’ll make a big batch of scrambled eggs on Monday morning and serve it with a side of toast. The next day, I’ll make egg burritos using the same scrambled eggs, and if I have any leftovers I might serve it up as an after-school snack like English muffin sandwiches. Pancakes are another great option; I’ll make a batch and then serve it a couple of days later either as breakfast with a different topping like bananas or berries so it seems different, or I’ll make breakfast for dinner, which is always a big hit in my house.
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