Last week my two boys started school. Transitional Kindergarten and First grade. Summer was lots of fun but we had lots of late nights and the kids were definitely not used to going to bed by 8:30pm. And in addition to that, a bunch of doctor appointments and dentist appointments before and when school started, you can say it required some getting used to and LOTS of coffee to get through the week.
Getting plenty of rest and developing a good evening and sleep routine is important. We don’t realize just how important it is until we try to function on very little sleep for a few days. Then it becomes so obvious. Without enough sleep, getting things done on the daily to-do list and chores is a huge struggle. We lose our temper over the smallest things and our patience wear a thinner and thinner. And these are just the immediate consequences of not getting enough sleep. Imagine the damage it can do to your body and your mind in the long run.
This school year I wanted to make a change. I wanted to avoid burnout and overwhelm and I wanted to make the most use of all my free time instead of sleeping in late and wasting my days. With only my daughter, who is 19 months old, at home with me, it has been pure bliss! She sleeps most of the morning! I also wanted to help my husband out so he can get to work early and get off earlier, so I decided I will take the boys to school. (Also because whenever my husband takes them they are always late! I didn’t want them starting school off with a bad habit of being tardy.) & when I take the kids to school we walk, they get walking points for walking to school so we go extra early and walk from the end of the park, it’s a great way for me to start my mornings (also, I hate traffic!).
This little change has done wonders for my mornings. I’m no longer lazy all day since I get ready and dressed by 7:00am, whereas before I’d be in my PJ’s until it was time to pick them up. Getting dressed in the mornings makes me feel so much more productive and I feel so much better about myself. I have so much time to myself I didn’t know what to do with it all! I managed to declutter the toys, redo the master closet (with the help of my husband), declutter my office and rearrange it, work on new designs and finish my orders quickly! I knew I had to take advantage of my mornings by doing my biggest tasks during that time.
My schedule for the new school year has definitely changed. I stopped cleaning in the mornings because I can do that when they get home with their help. I am much more productive with my days, the kids are rested and ready to learn, we’re no longer screaming and rushing around every morning, and this school year is starting off wonderfully!
So if you’re trying to get back into a healthy back to school routine I hope these tips will help you.
Back to School Routine Success Tips
1. Start a Week Early
- Pretend school is already starting and start getting up early
- If you can’t pretend, try to schedule some early doctor appointments or dentist appointments the week before so you are forced to get into a routine!
- Practice it and do everything to get used to it
- If you don’t want to go cold turkey try waking up a half hour earlier every day a week before until you are up at a time you’d like to be up when school starts
2. Prepare Everything the Night Before
- Having an evening routine to prepare for the next day has really helped me get my life together. Without our evening routine, our mornings would be so chaotic!
- Prepare your coffee the night before
- Prepare the kids outfits, set out socks and shoes
- Pack lunches and water bottles
- Set everything out by the front door
- Plan for the next day
3. Start Your Bedtime Routine Early
- The kids and my husband thinks I am crazy for starting our bedtime routine so early but if I didn’t the kids wouldn’t be in bed until 11!
- We start around 6:30-7
- It takes the kids so much longer than you think to get ready for bed
Kids’ Bedtime Routine:
- Give the kids a nice warm bath to relax them
- Get them in comfy pajamas
- Read a story they will look forward to
- We are currently reading an Avengers storybook collection. I love it, we read one story a night and the kids can’t wait for the next one so I always tell them “Let’s get ready for bed fast so we can read the next Avengers story!” and that motivates them every night!
- Kiss them goodnight, turn off the lights and get yourself ready for bed too!
- You need to sleep early too so you aren’t exhausted for the long day!
My Bedtime Routine looks like this:
- take a bath or shower
- brush and floss
- cuddle with my husband and watch a tv show/movie
- read for about 20 minutes
- and then set my alarms and go to bed (usually around 10:30)
4. Get Up and Get Moving
If waking up early is hard for you I highly suggest using this app: SleepCycle
- It’s free to use for just the alarm, unless you want to listen to yourself snoring and other features!
- You set it by your bed and the Sleep Cycle alarm clock tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up during light sleep.
- So if you set an alarm for 6:00 it will try to wake you up between 5:30-6:00 am.
- Waking up during light sleep feels like waking up naturally rested without an alarm clock.
- It’s also cool to track how much sleep you’re getting every day.
- & once you’re up DO NOT go back to sleep! That’s the worst thing you can, once you go back to sleep you wake up again feeling even worse (at least I always do)
Get excited or Act like it!
- School is starting and it’s a fresh start! Think positively and get excited. Just act like it! Think it and fake it till you actually feel it!
- I always wake the kids up by acting excited or telling them they can eat cereal as soon as they’re ready
Get some Exercise
- The best way to start your day is by moving your body
- Take a quick walk, run in place or do a quick 7-minute workout!
5. Drink Water & Eat Breakfast
- Once you’ve gotten out of bed, reward yourself! I always look forward to an ice cold cup of water followed by a creamy hot cup of coffee!
- & eat a nice healthy breakfast so you can start the day energized and focused
- I love eating eggs, cheese, and avocado on toast
- The kids usually make themselves a bowl of cereal or oatmeal
- Some mornings I will make scrambled eggs and fruit for them too
- Or go to school early and have breakfast there at our school it only costs $1.50 per child!
6. Leave EARLY
- School traffic is a nightmare! The first day I left 25 minutes early and we barely made it on time. (We do live a little further than most though because we did an intradistrict transfer)
- So now we leave the house at 7:10am (class starts at 7:45am).
- We park far to avoid traffic and we walk the rest of the way. I have time to get the kids walking scan cards scanned, take my first grader to line up and take my little boy to his class and make sure he’s settled before leaving.
- Afterwards, my daughter and I sometimes run errands or just go home, then she’ll usually nurse and go down for a nap.
7. Use Your Time Wisely
- Don’t waste your precious time!
- Use it productively!
- Eat your frog – do your most important task
- Run errands so you don’t have to do it with all the kids
8. Do Homework Right Away
- As soon as the kids get home we go through their backpacks and folders
- I check to see if anything needs to be signed and put everything back into their backpacks
- They do their homework right away while they’re still in “school mode”
I hope these tips will help you get back into a healthy back to school routine. It sure has helped me. I feel like this school year has started off well and hopefully will stay that way. Tomorrow will be the end of our second week and our new habits and routines are starting to stick. The kids know what to expect and when and I am getting used to getting ready and walking early in the mornings.