I don’t know about you, but here summer time means later bedtimes and less structure for all of the kids. It’s not just that all of them are here – though that certainly can throw off even the best-laid plans – but that I don’t want to have to schedule every single day of summer vacation. With back to school coming up, we need to get into a school night routine so that mama doesn’t lose her mind.
Here’s what has worked for me in the past:
- Lunches need to be made the night before. Sure it’s no fun learning you’re out of fresh veggies or granola bars at 8pm, but it’s a lot less fun to find out at 8am. Trust me. I may not enjoy late night grocery runs, but they’re a lot better than sending the kids with random back of the cupboard findings. At least for the first few months. The closer we get to the last day of school, the more creative I get with lunches. (And by creative I mean with ingredients, not the pinterest-worthy sandwiches cut into fun shapes with no hint of crust.) Also, I like my kids to help with lunch making but if they choose not to, they lose all rights to complain. Want more say in what you get in your lunch? Then help pack it (of course Mom gets to check it over – 3 packages of cookies and a fruit roll up is not a balanced lunch – they need to have at least 1 fruit or veg, 1 granola bar or yogurt, and a treat – and usually some protein too.
- Showers happen every other day without fail and extras are thrown in as required. As much as the kids may profess that they’re not dirty, they’re still going in. With 5 kids, there isn’t enough time for morning showers so showers before bed are the deal here.
- Bedtimes on school nights are non-negotiable. I have them staggered by age so that they can all shower and get their teeth brushed without a logjam. Requests to stay up late will be met with a laugh and “no”.
- Homework (for those that have homework – including home reading) is to be done after school. They can have a snack first but they aren’t going outside to play or doing something else. They can do that once the homework is done and if they whine and complain, then that just takes away from the time they could be doing something else because the homework comes first (within reason).
No electronic devices until AFTER dinner, and only 1 hour of electronics on school nights. Exceptions can be made for using a computer to do homework but not for games (or Netflix). By making this a consistent rule, the kids don’t even try to push the boundaries too often. They know that they will get 1 hour after dinner if their homework is done – and that they can whine all they want it’s not happening before dinner (and if they whine too much they may lose after dinner privileges too!)
What kind of routines do you have in your house for back to school? Let me know in the comments!