Can you believe we have less than a month before the school starts? This is usually the time when “back to school” anxiety starts affecting both kids and parents: so much to do, so many questions (“Will I get a nice teacher or a mean teacher this year?”– we hear that a lot around here these days.)
Today’s Back to School Inspiration may be just the thing to help you tackle that anxiety and enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation, as well as have a smooth start to the new school year! I have teamed up with 11 other bloggers to give you a really fun…
Each of us are sharing a super fun “Back to School” themed idea today: I am sharing our school readiness routine.
We’ve been relying on our “school readiness” routine for a couple years now. It has proven to be very effective in keeping the stress level down, and making sure things run smoothly not only at the beginning of a school year but also throughout the rest of it. In addition to maintaining order and piece of mind, it helps the kids learn self-reliance and efficiency: I am a strong believer in teaching kids to be independent and self-sufficient from an early age.
Here is what goes into our “school readiness” routine:
** A list of things that needs to be completed every day/night before kids go to bed:
It took me some time to come up with a message board that would be a)easy to use, b) durable, and c) easy and inexpensive to make. As a result, I created the following set up:
We purchased a magnetic board from Ikea (not a dry-erase kind), and my husband hung it on the wall right next to the family calendar. I also bought two small dry-erase boards from Wal-mart and attached them to the magnetic board using a couple of peel-and-stick magnets. Then I used my label maker and printed “rows” and “columns” to mark a semi-permanent lay out — it can be easily switched if needed, but it stays put and doesn’t smudge from every day use.
The top board is a “To-Do” list for the kids. I divided it into three columns, one for each kid, marking the columns with strips of the label maker tape. This board is where I write chores (or “to-do”s) for the kids to do daily, so I won’t spend too much time talking about it in this post.
The second board is titled “School Readiness”. It was created in a similar way–using my label maker, I printed the board title, kids’ names, column dividers, as well as items for the kids to check off as they go through their routine to get ready for school. The items include:
- homework: this one is self-explanatory
- backpack: it is the kids’ job to make sure their backpacks are packed, and it gets done the night before.
- lunch: the kids make their own lunch the night before (more on this later)
- snack: snack goes in the backpack the night before
- room and bathroom: general pick-up, making sure nothing is on the floor, etc.
- clothes: the kids set out an outfit that they plan on wearing next day.
An hour or so before dinner, I remind the kids to start on their “school readiness” routine. Right before bedtime I see if they have checked off every item on the list– there is a dry-erase marker and an eraser in a magnetic cup attached to the bottom of the board.
The memo board and the calendar are located in our office/mudroom. I am SO happy with this set up: it helps streamline the whole process of dealing with school stuff. The backpacks hang right under the magnetic board which makes it easy for the kids to pack and unpack. There is a desk to the right of the magnetic board. Basically, all their school related things are located in one area. All they have to do in the morning is grab their backpacks, step to the mudroom area to put their shoes on, and head out the door.
**Lunch and snack prep:
- Lunch: to keep it within the spirit of learning self-sufficiency, the kids are responsible to pack their lunch the night before. To streamline this process, I put a small magnetic board (a locker dry-erase board actually) on the side of the fridge. It is used for writing what they have prepared and put in the fridge in order to put in their lunchboxes in the morning. This way I know what each of them is taking to school, plus it is a good visual for the kids and a reminder to actually prepare lunch! I plan to write a separate post on food choices for kids lunches and snacks.
-Snack: we keep a basket labeled “school snacks” in the pantry, which makes it very easy for the kids to grab a snack, put it in the backpack and check off this item of the list on the magnetic board.
I love the fact that the kids are learning to stay organized, keep track of their “to-do”s without me asking them fifty times if they have done this or that. Who has time for that?
And here are the rest of the projects, that I am sure you will find super useful! They range from teacher gifts to advice for the anxious child heading to school. So be sure to check them out!
Start of the Year Basket by Garay Treasures’s ~~ 1st Day of School Traditions by Mrs. Coach Sims ~~ 10 of the Best Back to School Teacher Gifts by Tales of Beauty for Ashes ~~ Back to School Fashion by Words About Waverly ~~ Creating a Portable Homework Station by Living In This Season ~~ Take Care of the Teacher by bybmg ~~ 5 Easy Fine Motor Skills Activities by Our Life on a Budget
School Room by Abiding in Grace ~~ Back to School Party by All Kinds of Things ~~ Back to School Organization by Morganize With Me ~~ Preparing an Anxious Child by Almond Place
Of course, we didn’t want the fun to stop with the inspiring ideas… so here is a fun giveaway for a $60 Target Gift Card! Click on the a Rafflecopter giveaway link to enter. The winner will be announced on August 12th!
What tricks do you use to have kids get ready for school? Please share!