This may be an unpopular opinion but I love back to school!
I am very Type A and thrive on routine. Truthfully it has been a long summer trying to keep my two-and-a-half and four-year-olds busy. I am thrilled for them to be back in preschool for a few hours. Like me, they love structure and routine. My goal for this year is to encourage more independence. Sometimes getting them ready for school in the morning is a struggle. There are a lot of meltdowns, and they easily get off task, and by the time I drop them off, I need a nap!
I am trying to be more organized and implement some strategies that will keep the morning running efficiently. Here are some of my tips for preschool moms:
- Pack lunches the night before, keep it simple and get the kids involved: Packing lunches should be a quick task. After cleaning up the kitchen from dinner it is usually the last thing I want to do. However, it is one less task to do in the morning. I either set aside five minutes after dinner to pack them or let the kids help me around 4:00 p.m. the day before. They love to help and while it takes a little bit longer if they’re involved and they usually snack on whatever we are packing it is something they enjoy doing. Also, remember the simpler the better. We love Bentgo boxes and we use the teen/adult size instead of the kid’s size because my boys eat a lot! We always do some type of sandwich, fruit, snack, and cheese stick.
- Lay out outfits for the entire week: I have seen this hack many times and finally went to target and bought a closet organizer to lay out their outfits for the week. This has been a game changer. Luckily my boys are not picky about what they wear so I just pick them all out myself. However, if you have little ones who are particular about their outfits, do laundry on Sundays and then have your toddler help lay out their outfits for the week. Then you can have them choose which one they want to wear that day from the organizer or just grab it from top to bottom.
- Use an age-appropriate timer: Toddlers have no sense of time so when you say 5 more minutes until play time is over and time to get dressed for school they don’t quite understand. I use a visual timer that has a green light, yellow light, and red light so they have a better understanding of how long they have to play and when it is time to get ready. When you set the timer for five minutes for example it is green. Then when the 5 minutes is close to being up at around two minutes then the timer will turn yellow to warn them that it’s getting close. Once the timer goes off it turns red, blinks and beeps. This is a great timer for the toddler age range.
- Checklists: I love a checklist. I started using a toddler-friendly checklist with my kids in the morning and one for the evening. I laminated it and use a dry-erase marker so we can reuse it each day. I was pleasantly surprised about how much of a difference it has made. There are fewer meltdowns and my 4-year-old now makes his bed in the morning and they both help clean up the toys at the end of the day. They get really excited to check off their tasks.
- Empty bags as soon as they arrive home: Emptying their folders and putting their lunch containers are done before they sit down and have a snack. They empty the extra food into the trash and the container goes right into the sink. Now I just have to teach them to place them in the sink and not throw them! Then I wash them right away so they are ready to be packed later on for the next morning.
Although the school year has started for most already it is never too late to use some of these ideas! What are some other ideas you have for other preschool moms? Please share. In addition, check out these other posts below for more helpful back-to-school tips!