Are you ready for the back-to-school bell to ring? It may seem like summer just started, but busy school days are right around the corner, if not already here for some. Try these simple homework assignments that can put you and your family at the head of the class.
Assignment #1: Plan breakfast menus in advance.
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but preparing a healthy meal during the morning rush can be challenging. Instead of walking into your kitchen every morning and wondering what to fix, change your strategy and plan ahead. With family member preferences in mind, write out three to five protein-based, simple and fast breakfast menus that you can rotate.Shop ahead so you have the ingredients on hand, and do any advance prep work to make things easier (and faster) in the morning. For example, if hard boiled eggs are on your menu, boil a dozen at a time each weekend and refrigerate the eggs until you need them Looking for some healthy, quick breakfast that will provide fuel through the school mornings?
Back to School Breakfast Meal Planning Ideas:
- Make-ahead oatmeal sprinkled with nuts or chopped fruit
- Whole wheat toast or English muffins spread with natural peanut or almond butter
- Tortillas filled with scrambled eggs and shredded cheese
- Hardboiled eggs and a banana
- Greek yogurt mixed with berries and granola
- Smoothies made with almond milk, a banana, and frozen berries
Assignment #2: Pre-plan your school lunches
Now that you’ve got breakfast under control, make a plan for school lunches, too. When you go back to school, if you choose to buy lunches at the school cafeteria, go ahead and write on your calendar when the payment is due to make sure you don’t overlook a deadline. If payment is made weekly, write checks or portion out cash once a month for each week’s sum so that it’s ready to go on payment days and you don’t have to fumble for your checkbook or cash when you’re trying to get out the door. If you choose to make lunches, purchase supplies in advance and stockpile them. Like you did for breakfast ideas, write out some lunchbox menu ideas that you can rotate, and shop ahead to have ingredients on hand. Do as much planning prep on the weekends as you can, and try to pack lunchboxes the night before and store them in the refrigerator so that they are ready to grab and go in the mornings.
Assignment #3: Make a central school command post
Whether it’s by the back door, in the kitchen, or in a hallway, create a spot where you can assemble everything that’s needed for each school day, including backpacks, lunchboxes, coats, gym clothes, school papers, library books, and other needed supplies. Use hooks, shelves, a countertop, or cubbyholes for storing the items. Make it a habit to keep everything needed for the next school day in this spot every evening and every morning to reduce scrambling around each day trying to locate necessary things. If there’s room, a bulletin board or a chalk board where you can post or write reminders is a great addition to your central school command post.
Assignment #4: Create a back-to-school calendar.
Start making your back-to-school calendar, with your school’s annual calendar, and add events, holidays, exam schedules, and deadlines from there. Let kindergarten and lower school students decorate their calendars. Middle school and high school students will want to keep their own personal planners, too, for tracking school assignments and sports practices and games and chores. Transfer everything to a main family calendar that you update throughout the year to keep everyone informed and on track.
Assignment #5: Gather back-to-school supplies.
If you school provides a list, start shopping as soon as you receive it to find the best prices and to avoid long lines and depleted store shelves. Look for online shopping options where you can have your order shipped directly to your front door without even going inside a store. In addition to the supplies needed for the first day of school, think about what you’re likely to need throughout the year and buy as much in advance as you can. For instance, have extra supplies of notebook paper, pens, and pencils on hand, as well as poster board, glue, markers, and other supplies that may be needed for special projects. Think about technology needs, and be sure to have extra power cords, flash drives, printer ink, and printer paper to avoid late-night emergency trips to the office store.
Assignment #6: Plan for a case of the back-to-school, "unexpected."
The best organization strategies build in flexibility. While you can’t foresee every unusual situation, anticipate the most common scenarios that can throw a kink in your schedule. For example, what’s your plan when a child is sick and needs to miss school? If the bus doesn’t run one morning, how will you get to school and what time do you need to leave the house? If your child needs to stay after school for help with a subject or for an extra sports practice, how will he or she get home? If your fridge stops running, what's your backup? If your child forgets a lunchbox, what should he or she do? Brainstorm with your family to think of potential problems and solutions in advance so that everyone feels secure and knows what to do if something doesn’7t go as planned.
Assignment #7: Get closets organized to help streamline the morning routine.
Purge closets before school starts, donating clothes and shoes that no longer fit. You’ll save time and space by cleaning out, and you’ll get a better idea of what is actually needed for back-to-school shopping. Save valuable time in the mornings by choosing clothes, socks, and shoes the night before and setting them out together. If you really want to be well organized, choose the entire week's clothes in advance and have them ready to go. Use organizers to stack the clothes by day, or simply place each day’s selections on individual hangers in the closet.
Plan times for family meetings throughout the school year to talk about your organization strategy and to fine-tune your planning to accommodate changing needs. Family meetings give everyone a chance to talk about what they have coming up and to discuss what kind of support they need. Keeping communication lines open throughout the school year will help you stay organized and ready for whatever comes your way.