This summer, maybe you were so busy being busy that you let life ride for a while, gave the kids free reign to play and fight and splash, and you definitely loosened your grip on meal times, bedtimes, and chores. But that’s all over now. Back-to-School season is around the corner – as if you didn’t know!
Now is the perfect time to get your kids ready to face Real Life again, which means brainstorming healthy school lunch options, teaching best backpack practices, and going all Coach Taylor until they know their morning routine cold. To paraphrase the ancient Chinese saying: “Give a child a packed lunch and you feed them for a day. Teach a child to grab their own lunch from clearly labeled fridge containers and you’ll feed them for the year.” Or something.
Control back-to-school chaos by creating special zones at home; it’ll stop each activity from spilling over into the rest of the house, and keeps kids focused on the task in front of them. Today’s lesson? Unpacking three Back-to-School zones you can create at home in minutes.
The Backpack Zone
Location: Any common area
Turn a high-traffic area into Back-to-School Central! Typically located near the entryway or mudroom, we suggest storing (and returning) everything required for that day right here so you can just grab and go out the door without a second thought. Things like pre-packed backpacks, shoes and socks, plus a tray to hold Mom’s essentials for the day. Switch or add items for field trips, school sports days, after-school activities – whatever works for your crew.
The Lunch Zone
Add storage bins to the fridge labeled with lunch items and a number from 1-3 indicating how many items kids need to add to their lunch box. Instruct them to grab one lunch item (sliced sandwich meat, cheese sticks, mini wrap), two fruit & veggie options (whole fruits, Ziploc bags of grapes, watermelon or veggie sticks), and one or two snacks (pretzels, granola bars or yogurt tub). Make sure you vet each box to check they’re not trying to get away with 100% Pirate’s Booty.
The Groom Zone
Location: Bathroom or bedroom
Fill a plastic caddy with all their getting-ready essentials – toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brush, lip balm – so they never skip a vital step. Music makes it way more fun: Create a playlist of your child’s favorite songs as a guide for their morning routine: make bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth… By the time one song ends, your kiddo will know they should be done with that task and moving on to another one.