Simplify Your Routines This School Year
For many families, school is back in session! And while each new school year will bring different challenges, keeping a consistent schedule can provide your kids with structure. A good routine gives your children the ability to learn vital skills, such as how to set priorities, meet deadlines, gain independence and cultivate habits of self-care.
But routines don’t have to be complicated! Simplicity is key to keep everyone happy and on track. Here are some tips to streamline your life and embrace a new habits.
Create Morning and Evening To-Dos
Figure out what things can be done at night, and have a set schedule for the morning. For example, at night, you may want to pre-pack lunches, sign school paperwork, set out clothes for the next day and have shoes and backpacks lined up at the door, ready to go. In the morning, try doing the same things in the same order: wake up, make your bed, feed pets, eat breakfast, take a vitamin, brush your teeth, get dressed, fix your hair, etc. Find what works best for your family, and stick with it.
Track Your Time to Avoid Rushing
Kids can get easily distracted and don’t have a well-developed sense of time passing by. To avoid rushing around, make sure everyone wakes up with enough time to get all the necessarily morning activities accomplished. Use a visual schedule or to-do list to prompt them of their routine. And consider using a timer (either a clock or an app) to help set expectations and provide alarms for when it’s time to move on to the next activity.
Get Good Sleep
Sleep is important for healthy growth and development. Have a solid bedtime routine, and avoid cranky kids (and parents) by ensuring the right amount of sleep. Kids ages 3-5 need 10-13 hours of sleep; while children ages 6-13 need 9-11 hour of sleep, and teens need 8-10 hours of sleep.
Make a Meal Plan
Planning or even preparing meals for the week ahead of time will be a lot less stressful if you take the time to make it happen. Create your menu, make a shopping list and take a few hours (perhaps on Sunday) to cut, chop, peel, marinate and even pre-cook some meals.
Create Drop Zones
In the whirlwind of a new school year, it’s easy for your house to become chaotic. Bags, shoes and clothes can be thrown everywhere if you don’t have a system in place. But setting up established places for easy drop-offs can make your house less cluttered and more organized. Backpacks can go on hooks near your garage door. Shoes can go in cubbies in your mudroom. Clothes go in hampers and water bottles go on a certain counter. Important art projects are filed away and sports equipment is stowed in a specific area to make your home — and your life — more efficient.
Make Your Home Smarter
Consider using technology to take care of simple details around the house. Program your “smart home” to water your yard, turn off lights and automatically adjust your thermostat to different temperatures throughout the day and into the evening. You can also use indoor camera to monitor your children when they come home from school.