With back-to-school season here, it’s time to prepare for the hustle and bustle of the school year. After many schools moved to remote learning during the last year, getting back into in-person schooling might take a little extra prep. Get tips on surviving the busy back-to-school season from our Moms Meet team members.
Annie Douglass, Chief Mom Ambassador
Be consistent with bedtime routines to ensure kids get enough sleep. My younger kids are in bed by 8pm on school nights. I’m more flexible with middle and high school age kids, but they still need a good night’s sleep so my oldest is usually in bed by 9:30pm. This also allows a consistent down-time for moms – we need it too!
Personally, I don’t allow device time before bed or school. This helps kids to stay focused on getting their minds and bodies ready for the day.
Meal prep and planning ahead helps so much during busy nights. Here are some of my meal tips for busy week-nights:
- Double up on recipes when cooking a meal to have leftover portions and have a leftover night once a week.
- On some leftover nights, make quesadillas using leftover chicken or veggies to make a “new” meal.
- Make a batch of meatloaf in muffin tins and freeze them individually, then reheat as needed.
- On super busy nights, quick meals our family loves are BLT sandwiches or breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs with avocado toast).
Chrissy Kissinger, Senior Project Manager
Always look at your calendar on Sunday night so you know what is in store for the week ahead. On Sundays, I always lay out outfits for both kids for the week. They each have a hanging shelf in their closet and each shelf gets its own outfit. For preschool, check for any dress up days, etc. so you’re not scrambling.
Plan out your meals based on your weeknight schedule. Make freezer meals ahead of time that you can pop in the crock pot or instant pot. I always have a frozen dinner option (chicken fingers, fish sticks, frozen veggies, etc.) as well so I have a backup in case I don’t have time to meal prep.
When it comes to lunches, I always pack bags the night before. I highly suggest buying storage containers for the entire family. My husband and I pack our lunches for work so we need our own set. I don’t send glass containers to school for my children so they have a different set.
Make sure you schedule dinner time as a family. This is always important to us. Regardless of the busy school and work day, we always make an effort to sit down, talk about our day, and eat a meal together (even if it’s for 5 minutes!).
Talk to your kids a few weeks before school starts about schedule changes and expectations. It’s also important to start their bed time routine for the school year a few weeks before so they get used to it. This makes a huge difference for my kids.
Katie Walker, Marketing Assistant
I created a lunch packing station using a 3-drawer storage container. It has one drawer for chips, one drawer for applesauce and fruit cups, and one drawer for snacks. I have cheese sticks and yogurt tubes in the fridge. My kids can pack their own lunches by picking one thing from each drawer, one cheese stick or yogurt, and a piece of fresh fruit. Then I just have to add a sandwich or a main dish the morning of.
Every night, my kids pick out their clothes for the next day, including socks and shoes.
We fill our reusable water bottles the night before so we are ready to go in the morning. I also always keep a box of granola bars in our car just in case we have a late morning and are eating on the run.
Jenna Sims, Writer
Prep EVERYTHING the night before if you can. We pack our lunches, know what breakfast will be (even if it’s making oatmeal in the morning), pick out our clothes, and pack backpacks (now with hand sanitizer and extra masks).
Start bedtime routines early. We have “summer bedtime hours” now. But about two weeks before school starts, we practice bedtime routines and going to bed a bit earlier to get used to “school bedtime hours.”
If your little one is starting at a new school, talk to them about what to expect and how much they’ll learn, have fun, and meet new friends. It’s really nice to also see if you can plan meetups with classmates before school starts, at the park or somewhere comfortable, so your child will see some familiar faces on the first day.
This isn’t necessary for everyone, but I have four kids, so my back to school shopping list is put into a spreadsheet so I know how much of each item I actually need to buy. I also like to bring them with me to pick out some of the items (pencil pouches, etc) that they will like to use for the year.