I crave routine and productivity.
So “Back to School” is fabulous because it means the kids get up, have breakfast, and get out the door. Well, and make a mess of the kitchen floor, create an art project or two, wiggle through sunscreen application, and show me three outfit changes before hauling their backpacks to the car. But then, voila, I have six uninterrupted hours to get my work done.
After a summer spent transforming the living room into a play tent to avoid the 110 temps outside, this also means I have to retrain the kids – and myself – to get out the door on time with a minimum of hassle, while keeping us focused and happy until the weekend comes around again.
Here are some shortcuts to get out the door as a relaxed family, and maintain your sanity through the week.
Lay Out Their Clothes.
I have girls. This is not to say that girls have more clothing choices than boys, but.. they do. Do they want to wear shorts and a t-shirt? Nah, probably a flouncy tutu and tank top. Or, how about that new dress that’s hanging in the closet? Spaghetti strap tank tops are against dress code. Maybe a layer of leggings in case they get a chance to go down a slide at morning recess and don’t want to burn their butts on the scalding plastic. And then which hair-band should they use, or wait, should it be a braid or a ponytail? Actually today they want to wear their hair down (mom side note: nope, it’s still 99 degrees!). To eliminate the hassle, I have my girls choose their clothes and lay them on the floor by their beds each night. No changes in the morning. Done.
Have an After-School Plan.
I’m not aiming for a crammed schedule. However, it helps to have something exciting for the kids to look forward to after school or else I will listen to this whiny question on repeat: “Can’t we just watch one more TV show?!” Whether it’s an art project or a game of Go Fish or some new library books to read together, I have an activity set aside for me and the kids – and then, satisfied that they had their Mommy-time, they will happily scoot into the playroom for self-entertainment. For a few minutes, at least.
To coordinate the days, I might use an app like OmniFocus on my iPhone to make all of our activities – from swim lessons right down to emptying the dishwasher – available on the same platform for me, my husband, and eventually my kids to use.