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This Is Crucial for Your School Routine This Year

back to school

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

It’s been a long time since my family of six has been in a routine where everyone needs to get out of the house on time to different locations. Getting to the computer on time for online learning didn't exactly require planning. We are all out of experience when it comes to getting organized for school, so we can all benefit from some tips.

Tips to Get Organized for “Real Life”

It’s crazy to think how long it’s been since we were running around getting our kids to school and programs and how normal it once felt. Since the pandemic, many things have changed for many families. Schools may have changed for a number of reasons or you may have children in different schools now when you once had them in the same schools. We will all need to get back to making a schedule for all the extracurriculars as well as how to get the kids there on time. It can feel overwhelming when you think about it all at one time, so here are some tips to make the transition easier. 

Plan It Out: Start With Work

Before you start making commitments, it’s important to know when you can make commitments. Look at your work schedule to see what times work best for you. I highly suggest using a day planner or google calendar to keep things organized. Mark off the times that you know you are booked to ensure you don’t double-book yourself. If you need to start driving the kids to school in the morning or after school, make sure to add it to your calendar so that you don’t book calls too early or late in the day. Marking off your unavailable times in your calendar will give you a good picture of when you have time to book extracurriculars.

Plan Ahead: Traffic

Traffic is something many of us haven’t seen in a long time. As the world starts to open up, there are more and more cars on the road. Start to plan your drive to school and activities early by checking Google Maps or Waze for the best route. Check a few times before the day you need to leave so that you have enough time to arrive on time. Anxiety will be running high for many, whether it be yourself or your kids, so make sure you have extra time to get out of the house and to your destination. 

Plan Ahead: Lunch

Lunches always take the longest time to get organized, especially when you have a big family. Preparing lunch before school can be stressful, but planning the night before can be a lifesaver. The night before, set up lunch boxes for everyone in the family. I always find that I get the kids organized, but then forget about me and my partner, so get everyone organized ahead of time. Set out all of the lunch and pack them with all of the non-refrigerated snacks. Cut up fruits and veggies and put them in Tupperwares so they are easy to grab and place in the lunch box in the morning. Ask everyone what they want for the main course and get it organized. If they want macaroni and cheese, don’t wait until the morning to make it. Make everything the night before and then heat it up in the morning. Pro tip: When serving hot meals, pour boiling water in a thermos to heat up the inside. Then pour out the water and replace it with your warm meal. This will keep your kids’ meals warm until lunch. I highly recommend planning and packing out lunches for you and your spouse as well so that everyone is organized for the morning. Don’t forget to set the coffee pot the night before, too.

Plan It Out: Use a Family Organizer

I have a family of six, which means there is a lot to organize. With that said, it’s important for everyone in the family to know what’s going on. In a big family, everyone has to take account of what the other is doing. We keep a family organizer in a space in the house where everyone can see it so that if they need something, they can look and see if a parent will be available. They can look at the schedule to see where their siblings are and when they are free. This helps everyone to know who will be home and who will be out when. 

Getting back to the “real world” will take some time, but planning ahead in a number of ways will make it much easier to adjust. 

Good luck! Wishing you a smooth transition back to life. 

This piece is part of a series focused on helping parents prepare their kids for back-to-school. For more tips on getting organized, mastering multiple schedules, and prepping for the 2021 school year, see our full back-to-school guide.

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