We are in the midst of week #3 of 1st grade and preschool starts next week. Needless to say, the school dictates some of daily schedule....from when we wake up to when everyone heads to bed. To make the most of my day, and in an attempt not to loose my marbles, here are some of the ways I keep things together during the school year:
1. Starting a load of laundry before bed. (I promise my laundry never smells sour when I go to switch it in the morning.) I can have a load of laundry folded and put away by 8 AM if I start the dryer shortly after I get up at 6 AM.
2. Writing it down. I finally broke down last year and bought an official "planner." ("Mom's Plan-it Calendar" to be specific!) I have the grade school and pre-school calendars copied into it and every time I open the weekly school newsletter from my email, I have it next to me to jot down anything I need to add in about the upcoming week. We didn't miss any dress-down days or all parents-invited school events last year!
3. During the day, I keep a tote bag out on my kitchen table and fill it with anything that can be done in the car while we wait for the kids to be dismissed from school. When I'm heading out the door, I grab the bag and can usually accomplish something off my "to-do list" during pick-up.
4. A place for everything and everything in it's place. School demands a lot of "stuff"...backpacks, lunch boxes, specific shoes that need to be worn, etc. And this year we added soccer gear into the mix! I change out what we keep in our laundry room bench depending on the season...beach towels in the summer, hats and mittens in the winter, etc. Right now Jude's soccer shoes and shin-guards are stored in one of the baskets in that bench.
Clare's school shoes all stay in the shoe basket in the laundry room. She takes them off when she comes in the door and they stay there until she's heading out the door in the morning. Not having to look for lost items saves me time (and sanity) when we are heading out the door.
5. Staying on some kind of a schedule/routine. Jude is doing afternoon preschool this year, so we have 5 "free" mornings a week. To make the most of his last full year home with me (sniff, sniff), I've been trying to follow some kind of daily/weekly schedule for us. For example, he is really enjoying story hour this year, so I make sure we head to the library on the days it is offered. I also always go grocery shopping on Thursdays, and Fridays we have reserved for playdates.
6. Easy dinners. Especially those that can be made ahead of time (not during the homework hour) or use the beloved crockpot - bonus!
7. This might seem odd, but I make sure to keep a pen in the car. While we are waiting to be dismissed from the grade school pick-up line, I can sign anything in Clare's backpack (her assignment book needs initialed every night) and fill out and sign any forms that come home. Then everything can go right back into her folder and I have a few less papers to go through at home.
So there's my list for keeping things somewhat under control from August to May!
Do you have any tips to add?
PS - Go see Jen for more Quick Takes.