How parents can prepare for 2010 School Season

Children aren’t the only ones to be a bit overwhelmed about the upcoming school season. Parents are also frazzled at all the impending responsibilities and juggling they’ll have to do between September and June. Morning routines will change. The traffic will be much more hectic. You’ll find yourself pushed for time to get from work to school or to daycare(to pick up your child) and you’ll find that you’ll still have to juggle making dinner, cleaning, and getting your child to their various extracurricular activities. Doing all of this is extremely overwhelming even for the most patient parent. But time can be managed, and there are ways to make things less stressful.

-Prior to school starting(at least two weeks beforehand) develop a new routine that incorporates getting your child ready for school. Realistically think about how much time it takes to get your child ready and plan to wake up based on that time frame. Also take into account that you have to drop your child off at school, and then head off to work, so you’ll want to make time for that. For some people, that means getting up an hour earlier. So practice this for two weeks PRIOR to school starting. Make sure that your child cooperates. Having this practice will make for an easy adjustment when schools starts for both the parent and the child.

-Have lunches made the night before. All your child and yourself should have to do is open the fridge and take the sack lunches out. That eliminates time spent making lunch. Do the same for breakfast. Have a bowl and a spoon out already. And cereal poured into the bowl(without milk).  Cover the top of the bowel with plastic wrap or aluminum foil so that it stays good overnight. If your child likes fresh fruit, already have the fruit rinsed off and placed in a safe container in the fridge. Have the bowls sitting on the table already. Also have plates and cups set out next to the bowls at each child’s designated chair at the kitchen table. So that the child simply goes into the kitchen takes out the milk, OJ, and fruit and goes about making a quick breakfast.

– Give the children set time limits–though it may sound  a bit OCD, it will help. Give the children 10-15 minutes in the bath or shower and if you have to time the children then do so(the two weeks prior to school starting is the best way to implement this). Give the children 15-20 minutes to dress and do hair. And give the children 15-20  minutes to eat breakfast. This is of course dependent on the average time it takes your child to get ready. But on the same hand children can be rather sluggish in the morning and slow, so by rushing them just a little bit–and of course establishing time limits–you are all on the same page about when you all need to be out the house.

-Calenders and reminder notes should be your best friend. Make sure you know weeks before, what your child’s schedule is in terms of when they need to be picked up, what time they have practice, and the days they have games. Make sure that at least a month prior you have ALREADY planned out your schedule. Placing reminder notes on the fridge will remind you and the kids of who has what practice, who needs to be picked up when, and what you have planned for the day.

-On Sundays make at least 3 meals for your family. Freeze them all. Plan to have one day of take out or a day where the children eat “sandwiches” for dinner. And plan for one day when you’ll take the time to cook a fresh and easy meal(frozen pizza). By doing so you eliminate the need to cook everyday or the impulse to buy fast food everyday. You’ll obviously want to make meals that are freezer happy(i.e. soup, spaghetti, meat, casseroles, etc). On Sundays you can also do your deep cleaning.  Throughout the week you can make sure each child has a set “chore” to maintain your Sunday cleaning(i.e. one child washes the dishes every other night, the other sweeps the floor and vacuums, etc).

Finally realize that it does take a least 2 months before routine REALLY sets in, so give yourself a break. Understand that there will be days where you guys will be late. That’s okay. There will be days where dinner won’t be as good. That’s okay. And there will be days where you’ll children will divert from routine–that’s okay.  Learn to take it as it comes, but also learn to be a little prepared.

I hope these tips are helpful.

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