Welcome to Back To School Prep Week!! School starts in just one week around these desert parts, and I need to do a major 180 from lazy summer days, to intentional school mode....otherwise this Mama will be late for the school bell!
Each day this week, we'll address one aspect of school mode and do our best to set ourselves up for success. Like having a plan for all those papers and tips for getting out the door on time. Today we're starting with something a little less tangible and that's TIME!
The hub's summer football schedule always throws me for a loop. He's gone all day and doesn't get home until 8-8:30pm, so we keep the kids up later to spend time with him. And for the first time in our lives, they actually slept in to compensate. That whole keep-em-up-late-so-they'll-sleep-late trick has always bit us in the rear in the past. But now everyone is going to have to shift their schedule a bit.
In the words of Mia...."Mom, I like to sleep until 8 o'clock. But school starts at 8 o'clock. How am I going to do that??"
Story of my life, Honey. You are your mother's daughter. When you get older, there's coffee.
So, how do you shift the schedule? I think it's always easier to start with the wake-up time.
Sure we could deem bedtime an hour earlier, but if the kids are still waking up at 8am they're not going to be ready for bed earlier. Especially if you are dealing with littles that still nap. They won't be ready for a nap or bedtime an hour early if they are waking up at the same time.
Mon-Wed of this week, I'm not letting anyone sleep past 7:30am. I cried when I realized that meant I would have to wake up before that....I've become so spoiled. Beginning on Thursday, the wake up time for everyone is no later than 7am. Hopefully a full 7 days to transition will leave us ready to roll next week.
Everyone up by 7 am still only leaves us 45 minutes to get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door. For that to even be possible a lot needs to happen the night before....and here's where you save yourself a lot of headaches. Cause no one needs a headache first thing in the morning.
Tasks that happen the night before:
-Clothes set out (more on this later in the week). Including mine!
-Lunches are made with the help of the kids. Mia will help make her lunch this year. Kids tend to be less picky and actually eat all their food if they have a hand in making it. No surprises!
-Backpacks are packed, and paperwork is in the "outbox" (again, more coming on this one)
-Possibly showers (if you have a lot of kids and the bathroom gets crowded, or some slow movers that want to shower each day).
-Your purse/bag/whatever you need for the next day is ready to go.
-Prep for breakfast. The kids love to help bake and like muffins, pancakes, etc. in the morning. So, once a week we have a baking day. We bake a few different kinds of muffins and a big batch of pancakes. They can all go into the freezer, if you're afraid they will spoil and it's easy to just pop a frozen pancake in the toaster or set out muffins to thaw the night before. Serve it with some fruit and they're ready to go. Just think about what your kids like for breakfast and what you can do the night before to save you some effort in the morning. Even setting out the bowls and spoons for cereal can add ease to the morning rush.
I'm fortunate to have hair that allows me to shower the night before and go a couple of days between washing. I know that's simply not possible for everyone. I am so much of a non-morning person that if I don't take a shower at night to cut down on my morning routine, I think I would make us late every. single. time.
I'm also a night owl and sometimes taking a shower is the last thing I want to do when I finally make my way to our room. The shower - ok. But dealing with my hair late at night - too much time. I've found the best time for me to shower is right after we put the kids to bed. It helps me to relax from a busy day and not be as stressed during the time James and I have to ourselves in the evening. This takes discipline (something I suck at), so I employ the hubs. "Babe, please help me do this each day or I know I will pay for it the next." And he does. Because he's the best.
How do you fit in the rest? Here's our typical day as a whole...
-I"m up at 6am. It pains me to even type that, but if I don't get ready before everyone else (and Sully is my early bird at 6:30am) then it really gets the day off to a rocky start. Everyone else is up by 7am. We do breakfast first to avoid food on clean school clothes, then it's off to get teeth brushed and everyone dressed. We're out the door by 7:45am.
-I make sure Jack (and sometimes Sully) gets down for a nap by 1:00pm or he's not a happy camper when I wake him up to get Mia.
-After school we change clothes, have a snack and do any homework. Then the kids can play while dinner gets started.
-Dinner happens whenever James gets home between 5:30-6pm. We all help to clean up the table and do the dishes from dinner right afterwards. It is so nice to have a clean kitchen after we put the kids to bed for the night, and it's downright depressing to walk down the hall into a dirty kitchen after putting the kids to bed. We do it for the "Ahh" and to avoid the "Ugh."
- We enjoy some family time after the dinner clean up, and then at 7pm we do a quick 10 min clean up. If we're staying on top of things (which, ahem....is sometimes), then this is just a quick pick-up of the areas we've been playing in. A 10 minute power clean up does wonders and saves you some stress later in the evening.
-Then we hit our bedtime routine of pj's, brushing teeth, potty, a story, and prayers. Bedtime is 7:30pm.
The first week back is always an adjustment and can be exhausting for the kids and for you. I intentionally keep our calendar clear of other activities that week (if I can help it) and make sure there's plenty of down time. We find that having a general daily routine, helps us to make the most of our time as a family, ensure everyone gets enough rest, keeps the house from getting too out of control, and simply brings more peace to each day. And easing our way into that new groove this week before school starts will make it much less of a shock when school is officially open!
How do you transition out of summer mode and into school mode? Anything that helps your daily routine run a little more smoothly? Any tried and true things you've found that work and things that don't? Let's help each other get ready!