HOUSTON — Here at KHOU 11, we're getting ready to go back to school right along with you! We asked the contributors at Houston Moms to share their hacks to make the start of the school year a little easier.
Adjusting sleep schedules
Whitney says getting back into the swing of things is hard, which is why she pushes bedtime up 30 minutes five days before school starts.
Ugochi does the same thing -- what she describes as “inching back towards regular bedtime” -- a week before school starts.
Pediatricians and sleep experts back that up, saying it’s a good idea to start that process up to three weeks before the first day of school.
Meagan has a great one for new Kinders. Get a matching bracelet and give it to them to wear when they go to school. You’ll wear the other one and let them know any time they get nervous, anxious or miss you, they can look down at the bracelet and be reminded that you’re thinking of them too.
Ugochi puts together a first-day basket with school-related gifts or a special after-school snack to help her nervous kiddos start and end the day on a great note.
Practice makes perfect
If you already have the school schedule, take a page from Whitney’s book. She moves lunchtime at the house to the same time as lunch at school to help her son adjust.
Along those lines, Dani suggests having the kids practice eating lunch at home in the time they’d have at school, making sure they can open and close everything themselves. That way, they’re ready to roll come Day 1.
Something else to practice: the route to school if they’re riding their bike or walking. That tip comes from Ugochi.
If you’re using last year’s lunchbox, time to go find it! Give it a good scrub ahead of the first day. Meagan points out most insulated bags can go through the dishwasher!
She also offers up this advice if you don’t want to splurge on a pricey container with different compartments: use muffin or cupcake liners to separate the food!
If your kiddos need a separate snack, like Kirsten’s first grader did, make a snack box. Kirsten says her daughter just grabs something out of the box every morning to put in her backpack.
Lauren used an old cube shelving system to make cubbies for each kid, so they have a spot to put their backpack and lunch box. No more searching the whole house to track them down!
Ann is making and laminating a checklist for her son, posting one by his room and one by the garage door so he does everything and grabs everything he needs to before walking out the door. She jokes it’s some SOPs for her kid, but, hey, that’s something grownups can use too as we get back in the hang of things.
Getting out the door on time
So many moms offered this tip: pull out a week’s worth of outfits on Sunday!
Lauren says she does it so she doesn’t have to deal with it each morning.
You can even label hangers for each day, like Kirsten does, if that helps.
Vicky says after a few weeks, it organically just changes to picking out clothes the night before once everyone gets the hang of things.
Or if you’re still having issues getting ‘em up and dressed, Lindsay says to have them sleep in their clothes for the next day. That way, they can roll right out of bed.
Cooking workweek meals
Ann makes her own Uncrustables and freezes them. She says that way if she gets busy and needs something quick, it’s already made.
As for dinner, Vicky meal plans for the first several weeks. She says it lessens the back-to-school stress for her. That way she doesn’t have to think about what to make for dinner when three people are coming at you with papers, forms, questions, stories and complaints.