Let’s face it, going back to school means getting back to a routine. Miss’es Clean believes that the key to getting back on track and being stress-free is to be as organized as possible. We’ve done our homework and used our expertise to give you solutions to the common challenges we all face when getting ready to go back to school.
It’s impossible to predict how your morning will turn out. We are all about organizing and planning ahead to avoid these setbacks and make for a more pleasant morning!
Clothing: Lay out clothing the night before. This will save you time in the morning looking for matching socks, lost items and anything else you need. You can also plan outfits for the whole week to save some time in your evening routine. We know the weather is not always reliable, but plan your outfit accordingly to avoid any major surprises!
MC Tip: Plan out two outfits and have your child choose which outfit they want to wear to avoid conflict. You can also give them this task as part of their own evening routine.
Lunches: Pack a lunch the night before, or prepare as much as you can. There is nothing more frustrating than making a sandwich and having no lunchmeat! A helpful tip is to prepare a lunch menu (and breakfast and dinner) for the week before grocery shopping. You can stay on budget by preparing meal plans using the same food items. This does not mean eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner but rather being efficient with time, money and food. If you want to make chicken for dinner, consider buying enough to make chicken soup for a quick lunch later in the week. We like these tips from 100 Days of Real Food where this mom was able to prepare mix and match meals with minimal and similar food items, while on a budget! http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2014/07/09/9-organic-meals-costco-100/
MC Tip: You can prepare and store snacks ahead of time. Fruit salad works great, you can make a large fruit salad and store them in snack size containers as a snack for the rest of the week.
Backpacks: Make sure all homework, notes and forms are ready to be returned by packing backpacks the night before. Leave them by the door so they are all ready to go.
MC Tip: Try to leave backpacks and bags in the same spot every night so they do not get misplaced.
Create a homework station: Without a suitable place to do homework, children lack focus and motivation because of other distractions around the home. You can also stay organized this way by keeping all supplies available in one area.This website has great DIY homework stations that can help you stay organized: http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/2013/09/poyel-do-able-diy-homework-stations.html
Use a calendar: You might think we are going overboard with our organizing tips but if we could leave you with just one tip, it would be to use a calendar! Every event, deadline and important date will be set out on a calendar as a reminder. This will allow you to plan your day/week easier and without forgetting any important dates. Use a calendar that is big enough to write on and post it somewhere where it will be visible and accessible to everyone.
- Before you start shopping, check what supplies you have from last year that can be reused
- Create a checklist of school supplies to avoid duplication
- Create a budget and take advantage of back to school specials and stores that accept price matching
- If you have more than one child going to school, determine the savings on purchasing multi-pack items than individual items (this can work for items such as pencils, erasers, glue sticks, highlighters, white-out…but not always the case)
For younger grades, refer to the list of required supplies that is sent out by the teacher/school. We have also included a list of our own:
- Lunch box
- Pencil Box
- Glue Sticks
- Colored Pencils
- Pencil Sharpener
- Pocket Folders
- Loose-leaf paper (as low as 10¢; this is one of the only times in the year where paper goes on sale)
- Crayons (as low as 25¢)
- Drawing Paper
- Planner/Agenda – sometimes the school will provide an agenda
- Note cards
- Reams of Copy Paper
- Water bottle
- Lunch Containers
- Ice pack
- Wet Ones
- Name Tag labels – Here is a DIY via Ever Clever Mom http://everclevermom.com/2012/11/diy-homemade-tags-for-your-kids-clothing/
- Play Dough – mainly for younger grades
- Indoor and Outdoor Shoes
- Lock – if your child will be using a locker
Fun Lunch Ideas
- Waffles (made in advance) with fruit and other favourite toppings
- Homemade lunchable with crackers, cheese, salami and vegetables
- Make your own tacos
- Sushi sandwiches (sandwiches rolled up to look like sushi)
- Kabobs with meat, cheese and vegetables (also works great with leftovers)
- Mini burgers with dressings on the side
- Pizza Salad with cheese, pepperoni, olives, and other pizza toppings
- Pasta and cheese with peas and bacon
- Pasta salad with bowtie pasta, vegetables, olive oil and parmesan
- Chicken salad wrap
How to make lunch fun:
- Sandwich cutters
- Make your own lunches (i.e. homemade lunchable)
- Leave a special note
- Add more colour to your lunch presentation by using silicone cupcake liners to hold food inside the container
- Bite size food is always fun to eat
Tips and Tricks from the Miss’es Clean Team
- Start a bedtime routine a week before school starts
- Bring the essential school supplies on the first day and leave the others at home until it is needed, it is unlikely that your child will need all supplies on the first day
- Get your kids involved with setting up a schedule to encourage cooperation
- Figure out what they have outgrown and replace those items. This will help you purchase accordingly rather than having a painfully expensive bill
- Keep your receipts. There are stores that have a policy on replacing items that your child has outgrown (check store policy for further details)
- If you’re not sure they need a certain item but are afraid it might go out of stock, buy it anyway. You can always return it
- Take the day before school to relax and get organized. You will feel better the next morning
Other Helpful Sites: