It’s September and that means the back to school season is officially here! My son starts grade one next week and I still can’t believe my “baby” will be in school for full days now. I asked him yesterday “When did you grow up to be a big boy?” and he said “At 4:3o”. Ha! Such a little clown. Last year he was an afternoon kindergarten student so we never had to rush to get ready in the morning. This year he’ll be in school full days starting with a school bus pick up at 8:20am. Lately he’s been sleeping 13+ hours a night and not getting up until after 9am. To help make school mornings less hectic, I’ve come up with a few school morning hacks to eliminate some of that early morning stress. If you have any tips to add, please let us know in the comments below!
10 School Morning Hacks:
1. BACKPACK STATION: Dedicate one shelving unit by your front door as the “Backpack Station”. This is where your kids will unpack their backpacks when they get home, take out any assignments or paperwork, take out their lunch kits, leave their hats, sunglasses, gloves, bike helmets, etc. You can set out a basket for each child where they’ll keep their hats, gloves, etc. Set out one plastic container per child for school paperwork, homework to be checked, forms to be signed, etc. You can have a calendar on this shelf that reminds them of special dates like school field trips, sport practices, assignment due dates, special lunch days at school, etc. Make sure that you review each container of paperwork every evening so that it’s ready to be packed again that evening. Set a routine that you go through backpacks, homework and other paperwork every evening before supper (the earlier the better in case there are assignments that need to be completed) so that the kids can start getting their bags packed again for the next day of school. Having their backpacks packed and ready for school the evening before saves a lot of time in the morning.
2. SCHOOL LUNCH STATION: In the pantry and the fridge, have some plastic storage bins ready with food for lunches. Have one bin in the pantry filled with school-safe (nut-free) snacks, another bin with lunch containers plus cutlery and napkins, water bottles and lunch kits that have been cleaned up and are ready to repack for the next day. The same idea goes for the fridge – have a bin in the fridge dedicated for lunches with washed and chopped up fruits and vegetables, sliced sandwich meats, sliced cheese, etc. that the kids can pick from when packing their lunches.
3. PACK LUNCHES AFTER SUPPER: After supper each night, set a routine that the kids are responsible for packing their own lunches. They can choose from the designated food bins that you’ve already filled with school-safe snacks. To make sure they don’t just pack a lunch full of granola bars, you could even label each bin to say “choose two” for snacks or “choose three” for the fruits and vegetable bin. Store lunch kits in the fridge until the next morning.
The Nike lunch duffle bag is from Sport Chek and the lunch containers are from Canadian Tire.
4. KEEP THE SAME DAILY ROUTINE: If you set an after school routine and stick to it daily, kids will have an easier time remembering their responsibilities. You could even write this up on a chart to display by your backpack station. The routine could include: come home and empty backpacks, put lunch kits in kitchen to be cleaned out, take out homework and permission slips and put in baskets for review, pack lunches after supper, when picking out pyjamas for the night also pick out your clothes for the next day and hang them on the closet door, etc. Remember to pick out your own outfit too so you can save a few minutes in the morning.
Both kids and adult fashion provided by Sport Chek. Those Firefly leggings are seriously so comfortable! I bought two pairs – the camo and grey.
5. BATHROOM CADDY: Organize all of your child’s bathroom supplies into a caddy to help speed up the process in the morning. This caddy would include toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, comb, hairbrush, etc.
6. MAKE-AHEAD BREAKFASTS: To save time in the morning, you can prepare quick breakfasts the evening before. Ideas include muffins (recipe suggestions Banana Cranberry Muffins, Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins, Stud Muffins, Pineapple Coconut Muffins), quiche (Best Quiche Recipe), measured out berries for smoothies (Mixed Berry Smoothie), waffles (Best Waffle Recipe), etc.
The 10-piece cookware set from Canadian Tire will help you prepare a healthy dinner for your family while you’re busy preparing for your next school day.
7. SET TIMERS: Some kids work better under “pressure” so you can use timers to set for how long they have to eat breakfast, how long before it’s time to get out to the school bus, etc.
8. PREPARE SPORTS GEAR: Pack up all the sports gear the evening before and put this packed bag by your backpack station. So runners, sporting equipment, uniforms, dance shoes, etc. The same thing goes for your own sports bag if you plan on heading out to the gym after the kids leave for school.
Adidas bag and Under Armour shoes from Sport Chek.
9. PACK A SNACK TRAP: To help with those snack attacks after school when heading to sport practices or running errands, keep a “snack trap” packed in the vehicle with granola bars, dried fruit, bottles of water, etc. You can pack an ice pack in there and just set a reminder on your phone each evening to replace that ice pack but keep the snack pack in your vehicle so you always have it when needed.
10: GETTING PROPER SLEEP: The best way to prepare for a busy day is by getting a proper sleep. Some light exercise (like going for a walk with your family) before bed helps to prepare your body for sleep. The FitBit Flex (from Sport Chek) can track your activity level throughout the day and it can even track your sleep patterns so you can see if you’re truly getting a good sleep each evening. I always keep the same bedtime routine with my son and the same bedtime so his body adjusts to the schedule and he’s (hopefully) not a cranky pants in the morning due to lack of sleep.
Have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments below.
*Disclosure: I was compensated for this post; however, all opinions expressed here are my own.