Well, the kids have been back to school for a few months now and at our house, we have all settled into the groove. Something that has been running a bit smoother for us this year is our mornings. Getting the kids ready for school in the morning is not an easy task and can often cause my blood pressure to go through the roof. I swear there are days when it feels like a miracle that everyone has made it to school dressed and fed! But the past few months, our mornings have been better. I attribute this to a few simple things - routines, time management and organization. I thought I would share what's working for us, just in case you are struggling with getting the kiddos off to school in the morning! When I started writing about each of these things, the post was getting a little long...making a long story short is not my strong suit, so instead I thought I would break this post up into parts.
Part 1 - Organization
Today I am going to talk about organization and how a few simple systems keep our mornings running smoothly, for the most part! Something that can throw our morning into a tailspin is when stuff gets lost. It's library day and the books are nowhere to be found; permission sheets have gone missing, the dog literally ate the homework. Looking for stuff that has been misplaced absolutely drives me bonkers. It is a huge waste of time and if we are late for something, that is usually why. I myself am pretty organized, but that doesn't extend to all the members of my family! I subscribe heavily to the "a place for everything, and every thing in it's place" mantra. When it comes to keeping our school "stuff" organized, here are some things I have found helpful.
Backpacks have a designated spot in our home. When the kids come home from school each day, before they do anything, they are responsible for hanging their bags on their hooks and unpacking them.
I know it sounds simple, but having a designated spot for each kid's backpack makes a big difference in our world!
School Lunch Station
We have a bank of drawers in our kitchen that are dedicated to school lunches.
The top drawer is for lunch containers and cutlery:
The second drawer is for water bottles and thermoses.
The 3rd drawer is the "snack drawer" and this is where we keep mom-approved snacks that the kids can take to school for recess and to supplement their lunches. In my perfect world, this drawer would be full of apples and homemade granola bars, but that is not our reality so I settle for Kids Cliff bars, seaweed snacks and whatever else I have grabbed from Costco or the grocery store!
The very bottom drawer is where the lunch bags go. The kids were at school when I took these pictures, so you will have to use your imagination on this one!
Having this designated spot makes the lunch-making process more efficient. It is actually one of my least favorite jobs, so anyway that I can streamline the process is a win!
"School Stuff" Bin
Agenda's, homework, notices and anything else that needs my attention (sigh...scholastic order forms) goes into a basket on the counter.
I hate things on the counter, but if it's out of site, it's out of mind for me. Keeping things in a basket at least contains these items so they don't get unruly.
When I was creating our school memory bins, I used an extra folder to keep track of school information. This year I have kids in two different schools, so this helps me to keep everything straight. I have elementary stuff on one side and high school on the other. That way things like schedules and calendars are handy if I need to check something.
Anything that is time sensitive or that requires my attention gets clipped to the front of the folder. That way it's hard for me to forget about!
One of the things I am so grateful for are the cubby's in our mudroom.
Each kiddo has a designated space for their jackets and shoes. As soon as we walk in the door, everyone is responsible for putting their gear away. Sometimes I need to gently remind people (ahem, also lovingly referred to as nagging) but making sure coats and shoes get put away means we will be able to grab them quickly in the morning!
Having an organized space helps to calm the morning crazy. Tomorrow I will tell you about how I manage our time in the mornings to ensure that we all make it out the door on time, and fully dressed!
As always, thanks for reading!