Truth time. You don’t have to be a Type-A parent to rule the school year. All you have to do – we promise – is figure out a way to help your kids take care of their needs by themselves.
Here are our 3 favorite, super-simple ideas that encourage children to take responsibility, teach them independence and self-reliance, and even give them a sense of control.
Let them pack their own lunchboxes
Tired of getting up early to put a lunchbox together that they never eat? Why not take Eazy Peazy Mealz’s advice and create a build-your-own-lunchbox station? Rachael, the mom who runs the phenomenal blog, sets up and fills 6 bins with healthy choices from the various food groups:
Bin 1: Dairy: Milk, cheese sticks, yogurt, a sour cream dip.
Bin 2: Protein: Organic deli meats, hard-boiled eggs
Bin 3: Fruit: Whatever is in season, washed and portioned (if possible)
Bin 4: Vegetables: Washed, chopped and portioned in-season veg like cucumber or carrot sticks
Bin 5: Grains: Crackers, muffins, bread
Bin 6: The optional treat bin!
Her kids are then responsible for packing their own lunchboxes, selecting one item from each bin. This way, says Rachael, she’s still able to provide them with healthy options. And, as kids are more inclined to eat what they themselves decide on, food wastage is minimized.
Teach them to manage their own after-school schedule
Dallas mom and blogger, Holly of Kids Activities, swears by this After School Routine Clock, a color-coded clock that helps children structure their time. Though it’s used for an after-school routine here, it can as easily be applied to a child’s morning or bedtime routine.
Simply find a wall clock that allows you to access its face, and use permanent markers in 5 different colors to mark out a schedule. For Holly’s family, 4-5pm is Homework Time, 5-6pm Play Time, 6-7pm Dinner Time, 7-7:30pm is Bath Time, and 7:30-8:30pm is Bed Time.
Write up the schedule with colors corresponding to what you’ve put on the clock face, and display it next to the clock once it’s mounted on the wall.
Set up a homework station
We love Haeley of Design Improvised’s rolling homework cart, which rounds up everything her daughter may need for her 1st Grade homework in one perfectly portable solution – an idea we’re totally stealing.
Haeley placed the trolley next to her daughter’s desk in the kitchen, and used plastic baskets to separate and store stationery supplies like:
- Pencil sharpener
- Glue, and
- Paper clips
A homework caddy or even a large plastic tub would work just as well as a trolley.
3 more quick Back to School tips
- Have a bedtime… Children thrive when they have enough sleep. If they don’t, you’ll have to deal with temper tantrums, weepiness, grogginess in the morning, and poor focus. Set a reasonable bedtime, and stick to it.
- And a bedtime routine. Set the stage for sleep by creating a bedtime schedule that is predictable and soothing. If you follow the same schedule every night, their bodies will understand that it’s time to slow down, quieten down, and get ready for sleep.
- Create a family calendar. Download and print out any of the beautifully designed, free calendars online and tape it up somewhere that’s easy to see. Use it to keep track of soccer matches, extra curricular activities, upcoming birthday parties, assignment deadlines, play dates, appointments, etc.
For more back to school ideas and tips on after-school routines, organizational hacks and packing healthy, delicious lunchboxes, hop on over to our Pinterest boards, Back to School and Kids’ Lunchboxes.