5 Tips for an Easy Back-to-School Morning Routine

back to school tipsNow that school has begun, your fall schedule is going smoothly without any hitches, bumps, or obstacles, right? :) If only life were that simple! For most families, September is a crazy month of transition. But it doesn’t have to be so stressful. Consider your morning routine. It sets the tone for your entire day. Take time to organize. Make your days easier by implementing my five tips for an easy morning routine. Not only will your blood pressure go down, but your kids will be less rushed and harried. They are watching and learning from you. The more they see you relax, the more they will relax!

alphabet on blackboard1) Set out clothes outfits the night before. How many times has your teenage daughter stood in front of her closet half-asleep saying, “I don’t know what to wear!?” Adults are no different. I do the same thing!  My morning is much easier if I lay out my clothes for the next day, on the night before. When their clothes are chosen beforehand, children can get dressed without fuss. For little children, you can pick their outfit for them.

2) Make lunches the night before. Place each child’s lunch in a labeled plastic container in the fridge (with their name on it). In the morning, have them pack their lunch into their own lunch bag. Teach them how to fill their own water bottle and grab their own after-school snacks. Better yet, prepare groups of snacks on Sunday afternoon for the entire week. Bag up raw veggies, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for each day of the week. The idea here is to plan ahead. The more you do, the less stressful making lunches will be and the more likely your children will choose healthy snack options.

3) Sign permission slips, check homework, and load up sports bags the night before. Do you see a pattern here? :)

4) Maintain checklists for each child’s activities. One child is in gymnastics, the other in swimming, your oldest in football, and the youngest in art class. Oh yeah, your middle child has piano lessons on Wednesdays! The best way to maintain order is to keep current checklists and calendars for each child. Place a calendar in each of their rooms, so they can be prepared for the next day’s activities. Teach them how to pack supplies for their own activities using checklists.

5) Make simple but healthy breakfasts. Boxed cereal may be fast, but it’s not healthy or sustaining. Your children will be dying for brain food an hour into their school day. Give them healthy but easy-to-prepare breakfast food that can get them through math, reading, and social studies before the lunch break. Here are some ideas. Click on the links to read the recipes. I’ve tried several. They are delicious!

What is your favorite tip for an easier morning routine? There are many great ideas. Share yours and I’ll post the best comments in my next newsletter. In the mean time, enjoy a more relaxed morning routine, even if you are not a morning person. 😉

Help, My Clothes Don’t Fit My Closet!

Does this sound like you? Is your clothes closet overflowing? The average American wears 20% of their clothes about 80% of the time. So what about the rest? It’s packed into your closet and collecting dust, right?

Are you ready to make changes to your clothes closet? Use these tips to get you motivated!

  • Let go of clothes you dislike or which are clearly outdated. No, you don’t need to save those M.C. Hammer pants from the 80’s for posterity. Hmm…on second thought.
  • Next, take out items that don’t fit you, even if you like them. Put them in an under-the-bed box or sealed container in the garage, marked with a label. You can always pull them out at a later date, if you lose weight, for example.
  • Ask yourself if you have worn it in the last year, for clothes you are not sure about. If you haven’t worn it recently, you probably won’t again soon!
  • Turn all your hangers around, so they face backwards. When you wear an item and hang it back up, place the hanger the usual way. You’ll begin to see visually what clothes you don’t wear.
  • If your closet is still too stuffed, then decide how many clothes you really NEED, not just want. Do you really need 10 pairs of jeans? Or 8 white tank-tops? Imagine the truly needy who could benefit from wearing your clothes.
  • If you’d like your closet to look more uniform, then purchase hangers made of the same color and material. I chose white plastic, because they are less expensive and fairly durable.
  • Donate your give-away clothes to a worthy charity, like Dress for Success, Portland Rescue Mission or Salvation Army.

When you simplify your closet, dressing will be easier! You won’t have to sift through your over-stuffed closet to find clothes to wear. Piles and broken hangers will be a thing of the past.

Organize your closet now and enjoy the results!