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We always hear a lot of talk about getting kids back into a routine before school starts. Experts weigh in about the importance of scaling back to school year bed and wake up times and packing bags at night. What about back to school routines for parents?
Shouldn’t they also set up back to school routines?
I am a big believer in routines. Routines make the day flow so much easier because you can put things on auto-pilot. That means one less thing that requires you thinking about it. These back to school routines for parents will help you run on auto-pilot once the busy school season begins.
Routines are different than a schedule. Having a routine means that you generally do certain things in a particular order. Many times we create routines for ourselves without even noticing.
Schedules are stricter than routines and are not always necessary at home. A schedule means that at a specific time you are doing a particular activity. They are important in school environments because there are a lot of people to coordinate, but homeschools have a lot more freedom and flexibility.
Schedules at home can add pressure to get things done “on time” and guilt when you can’t stick to it. Avoid that by choosing a routine instead.
Routines give enough structure to be productive while also giving enough grace to take care of things that come up. Your day will have an order to it, but there is flexibility and grace.
Setting Up Back to School Routines for Parents
Back to School Routines for Parents: Self Care
Bedtime and wake up times
How much sleep do you realistically need? I don’t mean what is the minimum amount so that you can function.
I mean how much sleep do you really need to feel your best. Quality sleep is so important! I have more patience with my kids and plenty of energy to tackle my to-do list if I get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. For me, this means going to bed around 10:00 and waking up around 6:00.
When can you fit exercise into your day? Look at your daily routine and see when you can carve out enough time to work out. I personally do not like exercising first thing in the morning, but I do it because it is the only time I am guaranteed to fit it in. If I wait until the afternoon or evening, 9 times out of 10 something will come up and I will find an excuse not to exercise. I feel my best when I make time for kettle bells with a DVD or yoga so I knock it out as soon as I get out of bed.
Back to School Routines for Parents: Running a Household
How will you get healthy meals on the table when you are busy teaching all day? Meal planning, shopping in bulk, and freezer cooking are key to feeding my family nutritious food, even when I’m exhausted. Making a few freezer meals on a low-key Saturday afternoon saves a bunch of time later.
I prep things like almond flour pancakes, cashew waffles, meatballs, cooked ground beef, soup, and chicken nuggets. It is nice to know that there are healthy and fast home-cooked options in the freezer for busy days.
I also like to put breakfast on auto-pilot.
Paul and I almost always drink a green smoothie for breakfast so the ingredients are pre-portioned and ready to go. I make my smoothie as soon as I’m done working out and drink it while I’m getting dressed for the day. The kids know how to make their own breakfasts and can do that while I’m taking care of a few chores. As long as I have the ingredients on hand and food in the freezer, I don’t need to think about breakfast.
How will you maintain a clean home? I can’t think surrounded by clutter and I suspect my kids are the same way. Since we do our schoolwork at home that means the house needs to be generally neat and tidy.
Think through your day and figure out daily routines to help keep your house reasonably clean. It is often easier to find small chunks of time than one large block. Flylady is an excellent resource to get started.
Once you set up a routine, you won’t need to think about when to make your bed or unload the dishwasher. It will just be automatic to take care of these chores.
How will you ensure that everyone has clean clothes? Will you do one load a day or have a designated laundry day? Both strategies work, it just depends on your own lifestyle and preference.
Deciding on a laundry routine and putting it into practice over the summer will make your days go smoother once school starts. Put it on auto-pilot! You won’t have to hunt for clean clothes to get ready for a trip to the library. You could even take it one step further and make it part of your evening routine to lay out clothes for the next day.
Running a household and educating your children takes a lot of energy. Set yourself up for success with a back to school routine for parents.
If you do not already have a routine in place, choose one area at a time to get started. Try not to get overwhelmed. This is why we start our routines over the summer! After you feel good about your routine in one area, add in another.
Taking care of your home and yourself will become simple once you put things on auto-pilot. You will have the freedom to spend your time teaching your children without worrying that other areas of your home are being neglected.
Once you have your own routines down, then you can start gently nudging your children to set up their school year routines.
Share your back to school routines for parents in the comments section!
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