Kids & Family

5 Back To School Ideas To Save You Time

July 28, 2022

Serenity Here
I devour health and wellness information, and love to share everything that works in my life, so you can use the same self care and lessons in yours!
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Summer is coming to a close, and holy mole, does it always fly by! 

Is it me or does it keep getting shorter!? Okay, to be fair it’s not really coming to a close, but kids are gearing up to go back to school, so for them it’s coming to a close – right!

Over here, we’re working on getting back on schedule little by little. Back to typical electronic time schedules, bedtime schedules, and simply just routines in general, which somehow always manage to get out of whack in the summer. We didn’t throw everything out the window, but when trying to transition back, it kinda feels that way. My moto is slow and steady. Afterall, it did win the race. 

No one likes things thrown at them all at once. I sure don’t. 

We’ve got a lot of other things thrown into August, like a first job, gymnastics, and soccer starting up, so it’s really about easing into everything. Being prepared is key, and having a plan is the icing on the cake. I’ve learned over time, that when you take on too much, it never works out. The best place to start is with one thing. Then when that one thing is moving in the right direction, focus on the next thing. 

I like to start to map things out. 

Google calendar anyone? My serious go to for all things scheduled are a must around here. And can you say reminders? There’s too many balls in the air and it’s easy to forget things if they aren’t down on paper (or in a google calendar), because you know, if it’s not scheduled, it doesn’t exist. 

I recently got in the habit of jotting everything down and putting it in a calendar. On Sunday, as part of my routine to ease into the next week, I take a peek so I can start to prepare and have a plan to tackle the next seven days seamlessly. It works, try it!

I’m all about saving myself time and money where I can, and love coming up with new ways to do this. I mean, who wouldn’t. When you save time and money in one area, it makes room and space to put those resources somewhere more meaningful. Win!

Here are 5 ways I do this when it comes to kids and school:

  • Make lunches the night before. I like to add this into dinner time, because I’m already in the kitchen and usually have some downtime, as I’m waiting for water to boil, or something of the sort. I get the lunch boxes out while I’m in between and make it simple. I want to have something with protein and possibly some fat to help keep the kids full and satisfied through the rest of the school day, especially as energy levels start to deplete through the second half of school. A fruit and veggie if possible and then usually one treat lower in sugar. I have a rule of 4. I usually have 4 items in their lunch. Then I throw it in the fridge so it’s simply a matter of pulling it out quickly in the morning. One less thing I have to worry about in the hustle and bustle the next day.

  • Have backpacks packed, and by the door – include shoes too! Anyone else been left searching for shoes in the morning? Or something else for that matter – homework folders! This has cost me a lot of time, and frustration from everyone. It’s been a game changer to ensure everything is done, packed up, and by the door the night before. Only thing left is to throw lunches in, and then getting out the door is as painless as it can be. 

  • Think hearty but quick when it comes to breakfast. I don’t know about you, but we don’t’t have a lot of time in the morning for leisurely breakfast, and let’s be real, I’m much better as a breakfast for dinner kinda mama. It’s not my favorite meal to cook, and my pancakes are something that should never be on display! Kids have a ways to go before lunch, so filling their belly with something that will push them through until then is important. There’s so many quick sugary options, and it’s tempting don’t get me wrong, but try to run the other direction with these, they’re not really serving anyone when you break it down. Think fat and protein. Nuts, and seeds are a great option. Have these available with some fruit. I also love Dave’s Killer Bread brand. It has protein in it, and you can throw some avocado on top. My kids love sleeping in until the last possible minute, so everything has to be quick, and usually finger food. 

  • Bedtime routines are queen. The morning starts the night before. Not the first time you’ve heard this? It’s because it’s true. Lol. This goes hand in hand with setting backpacks by the door. We have way more time at night to make sure we are ready for the next day, and it’s easy to make it all a routine. Let’s face it, kids thrive on routine, and so do adults! Commit to the last hour of the day, being queen and taking the cake. No deviation, or detours during this hour. Electronics should be off, including tv shows. Carve out time to spend time reading, brushing teeth, doing quiet activities, etc. It’s important to know that teenager’s don’t start producing their own natural melatonin until later in the evening, usually around 10 pm, so having a 9 pm bedtime expectation, might be difficult for them. Hint hint. 

  • Three dinner words: plan, quick, and easy. I started making a monthly dinner menu years ago, and it has been a lifesaver for me. Everyone knows what’s for dinner, because it’s posted on the fridge (with a disclaimer that it could change, because come on, life happens!). It takes the guesswork out of the week for me, saves me time and money, and makes for a stress free meal plan. I take a look at what’s going on that month, and then plan around it in advance. It helps me with grocery shopping and all around has been a game changer. If I want to make something that’s going to take time and energy, I don’t always have during the week, so I place it on the weekend.  When I sit down to plan my menu, I jot down quick meals, and then I plug them into day’s we’re on the move and I know I’m not gonna have a ton of time. Let’s not make life more difficult than it needs to be – are you with me!? 

We need hacks like this in all areas of our life. 

I am continuously evaluating things in my life, and how I can save time, money, and frustration. I am not a huge fan of multitasking. It’s great to knock multiple things off your list at one time, but it’s typically not fully productive and the research is now backing this up too. We simply can’t pull our energy into multiple directions, and be productive. The reality is that it’s been leaving us burnt out too. But, we can get creative with the concept of multi-tasking. 

I love to do laundry and listen to a podcast, because laundry does not really need my attention. Another way to get creative with this is dinner time. As mentioned above, what other things can you do when you are waiting for the water to boil, or the oven to heat up? Think of things that have to be done but don’t need much focus – like cleaning, and then what you can add in to make it more productive, or fun. 

Make good use of the time in between. 

We are so distracted these days with everything on our plates, and we need to start to shift this, me included. I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself starting one thing, and moving on to the next before finishing something, because it seems like there is always so much to do. I am trying to be more mindful lately about finishing something, before moving on to the next thing. 

Lists are gold. 

If I feel like I am getting distracted and need to move on to something else, I jot it down, so I don’t forget, and can come back to it later. I have a running list every day, and I don’t beat myself up if something doesn’t get done. I simply move it to the next day. 

I find it important to celebrate the wins too. Instead of focusing on the things that I didn’t have time for, or that didn’t go as planned, I focus on the things I did finish and give myself a high five for those. 

I continue to ask myself things like: how can I do this better, faster, easier? Or like when it comes to laundry, how can I make this fun? When I asked myself that question around laundry, I realized I could listen to music or a podcast which has made a huge difference. It also removes the dread, and helps me look forward to the time. 

Keep asking yourself the right questions, and see how life can unfold and have your back. What other ideas do you have to make back to school or life more simple and quick? What are you already doing?

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