Summertime means all sorts of things to different families. Maybe this was the summer you and your loved ones finally went camping at that gorgeous campground. Or did you spend the majority of the warmer months planted out in the backyard, soaking up the sun and floating in the pool?
No matter the adventure, it’s never easy saying goodbye to summer. In some cases, it’s overwhelming imagining how busy things will get once the kids return to school, and you’ll have to combine your hectic schedule with theirs. Juggling complicated sleep schedules with picking out meals for picky eaters and keeping track of after school extracurricular activities is a hassle. This is when a masterful back-to-school routine comes into play.
Thankfully, developing a solid routine doesn’t require hours of planning or materials. All you need is a couple of minutes to read this article to get you started.
Put Everything on a Calendar
One of the best ways to stay organized is to write everything down. However, it’s the 21st Century and you’re a busy parent who deserves a little help wherever you can get it. So put down the paper and pen and start utilizing these digital solutions.
Call On Alexa
Smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo Dot, are a great way to keep track of just about anything, like that soccer game next Thursday, tomorrow’s field trip or your big presentation at the office on Tuesday. Just say something like “Alexa, remind me to take Macy to her piano lesson on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.”
Use Mobile Applications
You can also keep track of your schedule with your phone. While not as easily accessible as Alexa, mobile calendars are still convenient and quick to update. Applications like Evernote are efficient enough for note-taking, creating to-do lists and monitoring deadlines while Trello is a smart tool your kids can use on their own devices to track upcoming homework assignments or exams.
Find The Right Planner
If you want to keep things old school, then stay on top of everything with a nifty planner. Some styles pack in spacious note-taking sections while others provide monthly overviews or weekly pages for an in-depth scope of any daily activities. Try writing with different colors or sectioning off appointments with color-coded stickers for organization.
Keep Your Kids Organized With A Visual Planner
Even some of the youngest members of your family can use a schedule to better understand what the day ahead will look like. You can do so by introducing your child to a visual schedule, which is a series of pictures illustrating a timeline of events. This is a fun way to keep them engaged and more aware. Another plus side to using a visual schedule is there isn’t just one specific way to create them. Some families arrange the illustrations in a binder or on the refrigerator with magnetic cards. The more adventurous may prefer to use uniquely shaped pocket charts.
Get Up Early and Get More Done
Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard someone coin the phrase “the early bird gets the worm”. Sure this expression is a little overused and will probably trigger an eye roll from whoever is getting fed the expression, but regardless of what your feelings may be, the saying holds true. Waking up early sets us up for productivity and leaves us with more time to accomplish tasks free from interruptions.
You can start improving your productivity in the littlest ways, such as by waking up an hour earlier. You can use this extra time to do some activities that get swept to the side once your children are up and in action, like working out, reading a book or listening to a podcast.
Afterward, you can start waking the kids up and begin getting their breakfast ready.
Your children can benefit from rising earlier, especially if one of them is difficult to wake in the morning. If your child needs to be up by 6:30 a.m. to make it to school on time, gently nudge them awake or set their alarm 30-45 minutes in advance to get them ready. If your kid isn’t a fan of an alarm’s blare, a wake-up light alarm clock is a mellower but equally effective method.
Once your family has found their rhythm, develop a schedule of how the mornings need to play out.
De-stress Your Mornings by Planning Ahead
An easy way to craft a masterful back-to-school routine is to take a few minutes to plan out the week ahead. This can include the meals you plan on cooking, the clothes your family will wear and more.
Have you ever wondered at the end of a workday what you and your family will eat for dinner in two hours? Curating a last-minute menu is stressful when you throw picky eaters, a crowded grocery store and exhaustion into the mix. Eliminate stress and uncertainty by utilizing the magical wonders of meal prep.
Meal prepping isn’t a complex concept; it’s just taking a few moments at the beginning of the week to determine what your family will have on the dinner table each night. Then you make all of the meals on a specific day ahead of time. Families can benefit from meal prepping because it saves times, is reliable and provides consistency. Having meals ready to go at home also reduces the odds of having to spend money on expensive take-out throughout the week.
Take your planning to a whole other level by leaving the grocery list to your Amazon Echo Dot. If that pasta dish needs cherry tomatoes and Parmesan, just ask Alexa to add it to the grocery list on your phone, so when you finally make it to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon all you have to do is pull open your app and go.
Pick Out Clothing The Night Before
Cut back on the time your kids spend pulling together the perfect outfit by encouraging them to pick their clothing the night before. They should also pack up their backpacks and leave them in a designated area closest to where your family will exit in the morning. Planning outfits ahead of time isn’t just limited to your kiddos. As adults, we can overthink which tie or shoes we plan to wear in the office. Save yourself the headache and let your inner fashion guru run wild the night before.
Establish Work Stations
You can reduce the odds of coming home to a messy house by establishing homework stations in unique sections of your home. Instead of having your children pile up their textbooks and spiral notebooks on the coffee table in the living room, refer them to the kitchen table, a hallway or next to the bookshelf in your home office. Once your homework station is set up, you can discuss with your kids a specific time frame for completing homework.
Stay Up-to-Date with Your Kid’s Schedule
With the start of a new school year comes the start of piling after school activities. There’s also establishing how your child will get to and from these extracurricular activities. Are they a part of a carpool? Will they take the bus? These are things you can determine ahead of time for your back-to-school routine so everyone remains on the same page. Keeping track of your kid’s schedule is easier with the help of Alexa. The smart speaker can store this information for you and can retrieve it upon request. You can also log this schedule on your phone using the applications mentioned above or try writing it all down on a large surface, like a chalkboard. Then find a central location in your home to keep this chalkboard so your family can quickly browse at the schedule when need be.
Include Smart Home Automation In Your Back-to-School Routine
While putting together a masterful back-to-school routine is a great way to set your family up for success, smart home automation is essential for keeping your family connected. Need further convincing? Take a look at our IQ2 Panel. The sleek and innovative alarm panel can help you keep track of your children by integrating with a keychain remote control. Give your kids a keychain remote control to enter your home after school. This unlocks your home’s smart locks and sends a notification to your phone. This means you can rest easy knowing they’ve made it back safely without having to disarm your panel with a passcode. Set the scene for homework time with the Protect America app. This lets you brighten the lights and keep the air at a comfortable temperature while your children work. Speak to one of our experts today to learn more about how customized home security can improve you back-to-school routine and put you on track for a stress-free year.