Back to School Hacks for Busy Parents

No matter what grade your child is entering this year, back to school is a busy time for any parents. Most families have a more laid back and carefree schedule in the summer. Getting your child (and yourself) back into a routine can be tough. There’s so much to do!
Don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of back to school hacks for busy parents! Check out this article and learn how to make the transition easier for everyone.

Get Into A Routine

Getting the kids into a routine is important but they won’t thrive unless we are, so getting parents into a routine for back to school is just as important.
Give yourself time in the morning. You don’t want to save too much work for the morning when things get real crazy, real quick. Instead, fight the tiredness and stay up an extra half hour and get the house ready for morning. Set the table with necessities for breakfast. Plates, bowls, pancake syrup, etc.
Make sure the kids have packed their backpacks with what they need for the next day and leave them by the door. This will help the scramble of “where’s your back pack, let’s go!” fiasco.
Another helpful tip is getting clothes picked out the night before. It’ll make it fun for the kids to pick out their own clothes and get excited for the next day. Lay them out so there’s no searching through drawers and laundry baskets in the morning delaying the “getting ready” process.
Summers can sometimes mean lazy mornings and long evenings. Once school starts, it’s best to get back into the mindset of waking up early. A few days before school starts, start setting the alarm clocks and getting the kids up early. This can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you have a stubborn child and long sleeper. No one wants to start their day yelling to get out of bed and rushing out the door. Everyone will follow the lead and get the hand of the new schedule.

Back To School Food Hacks

Food. Food. Food. Does anyone else feel like their life revolves around the grocery store and making sure there’s something to eat in the house!
Back to school can sometimes bring stress to dinner time. There’s always something stopping you from getting dinner started. Especially if you have older kids, it seems they schedule all sporting events and practices right around dinner time, making it extra convenient ;)
Meal prepping isn’t always as easy as they make it seem. It does take time, a lot of time! However, getting a head and making as many dinners ahead of time could really free up your weeknights.
We’ve found some really awesome make ahead dinner recipes for families of all kinds.

Meal Prep

To start, dinner isn’t the only meal of the day you can prep for!
Check out Jazmin Rode and her recipes for breakfast sandwiches and burritos!
Not only is this less expensive then stopping at Dunkin Donuts or your local bagel shop, but it’s healthier and they are SO easy to make you can prep them for weeks to come!
Another way to plan ahead for dinner time is making freeze ahead slow cooker meals.
You might think that meal prep can take more time then you’re willing to spend, but the relief of just pulling out a back of an already prepped dinner and putting it in the slow cooker is SO worth it.
Carrie from Eating On A Dime put together 10 CROCK POT FREEZER MEALS IN UNDER AN HOUR!
WHAT! That’s amazing and definitely worth trying.
If you’re on a budget then you’ll want to check out Missy from Grateful Little Honeybee.
She put together 12 freeze ahead meals for the whole family in just 2 hours for $50.00.
If you don’t often use the crockpot, or if you’re in the pinch and run out of freeze ahead meals, don’t worry sheet pan recipes are JUST as easy!
Very simple recipes that just require some chopping and seasoning and putting on a sheet pan.
Check out Meal Prep On Fleek. Yes, we admit the name is a little funny, but these are 35 sheet pan recipes that will change your life. They’re healthy, affordable, and most importantly a time saver!

Lunch Box Tips And Tricks

It’s a good idea to have lunches packed the night before. Less scrambling in the morning and you won’t come home to a dirty kitchen. But don’t stress yourself out either. If you’re kids are old enough to help choose their own meals, then get them involved.
This is a great idea on many levels. First, it teaches them a little responsibility. It also teaches them the proper way to pack a healthy meal but it’s a fun activity at the same time giving them a little control (but not all). Bonus – it makes your life a little easier too. 
Create a specific area in your fridge and pantry of cut up fruits, veggies, yogurts and other snacks you know your child likes. Put them in Ziploc bags so all they need to do is choose a few to add to their lunch boxes. You could even make a few sandwiches ahead of time and do the same. It’s a fun way for them to pack their lunch.
Check out a few of these blogs who offer some tasty snack ideas and fun ways to keep things organized.
Real Simple - A cute way to store healthy but easy snacks in your fridge or pantry. Check out this list of healthy foods to keep on hand.
Happy Money Saver - Karrie from Happy Money Saver has some GREAT ideas on how you can prep your kids lunches for the whole week. We’re talking main dishes, snacks, even juice boxes lines up for Monday through Friday. A great time saver for mom and a great way for the little ones to quickly choose their lunch.
Eazy Peazy Mealz - Rachel from Eazy Peazy Mealz offers some really great tips and tricks with the SAME concept but for after school snacking. The kids come home, they’re hungry and tearing through the cabinets. You don’t want them to eat too much and then not east dinner. Check out Rachel’s designated spot for after school snacks and what she puts in there.
All said and done, food is something we all need to survive and why not make it as simple and easy as possible so you can worry about one less thing during busy times of the year.

Keeping Organized

Keeping track of everyone’s schedule can sometimes feel like a full time job in itself.  Not to put the most helpful of dads to shame but let’s face it, it’s mom who keep track of everyone’s appointments, activities, and schedules. Start off this school year by making it simple stay organized.

Create A Homework Space

Creating a homework space might sound like it’s for the kids (and it is) but it’s also a great way to keep you on schedule too. Choose a quiet spot in the house where the kids can put their backpacks, do their homework, and show you any “must see” papers. Schools are always sending kids home with notices, permission slips, etc. Make sure there’s a spot (other than at the bottom of your child’s backpack) for you to see what’s going on in your kids school day.
Help your kids be more inclined to want to do homework by making it a priority. Create a space for homework will help a ton with getting your kids into a routine. This also gives mom and dad a place to keep extra supplies.
School supply lists are daunting, don’t stress, go to the dollar store and pick up some extra supplies to keep in your homework station. Pencils, erasers, pens, crayons, notepads, and folders are all things you can keep on hand so the excuse “I left it in my desk” isn’t a repeated phrase in your home.
Melanie from Simply Made Pretty has a great post on making dollar store homework caddy’s to help start off the school year right!
If your child likes to do homework at the family table, or outside on a nice day check out this DIY tutorial on creating a mobile homework station

Family Calendar

Somewhere in the house where everyone can see it, create a family calendar. It doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact you can get some free printable from The Creative Girl, but it’s a good way to have the upcoming events for the week visible so nothing slips by.

Let Kids Be Kids

Back to school is a busy time of year and it can feel a little overwhelming. Don’t forget that the little ones feel the same way. Although getting everyone on a more regular routine is a great way to kick off the school year on a positive note, don’t forget to let kids be kids.
After a long day of school, adjusting to the changes, etc. having a first day of school gift for them might be a fun way to let them unwind. We’re not talking Birthday gift level, but maybe a box of sidewalk chalk, coloring books, or an activity book. Something to let them have some fun before the rest of their day continues!
Best of luck to all of the parents and kiddos going back to school! We’re sending positive mom vibes to you all.
♥ ~ The Nature’s Baby Organics Family

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