photo by D Sharon Pruitt

With a new school year right around the corner, we’re working on the UrbanSitter Back-to-School Handbook. Our guide will help you ease into fall, step by step, without the stress and with plenty of confidence and style.

This week, we show you how to tame morning chaos before it starts. We’ve identified three challenges that have a way of sabotaging even the most prepared mom’s morning routine, and have provided simple strategies to stop them in their tracks.

3 Simple Strategies to Put an End to Morning Chaos

If your house is like ours, you know the drill. There are far too few minutes between the early wake-up alarm and carpool takeoff. It’s no fun to start your day screaming at your children while you crawl around the floor trying to find a missing shoe, scratch out a permission slip, or pack a lunch.

Follow these 3 strategies to put an end to the chaos and send your kids off happy and well-prepared:

1. Avoid the wardrobe battle once and for all. Determine where you stand in letting your kids choose their clothes, communicate the rules and stick to them.  Experts say it’s important to set parameters for what kids can wear to school, but to also give them options to give them a sense of control and help them learn to make decisions. Letting them have a say also builds confidence and a sense of personal responsibility.

  • Make peace with whether simply clean and comfortable is good enough for you or if you demand a bit more of your prodigy’s    appearance.  We guarantee you haven’t heard the last plea for wearing snow boots in the summer, a size-too-small Christmas dress in September, or a pair of Cars pajamas for a play date. Let them show their personality and style as long as if feels appropriate to you.
  • Take the time to choose an outfit you both agree on before bedtime, rather than five minutes before morning carpool.

2. Corral everyday necessities and find them a home. Command stations keep handy everything your family needs to get out the door each day. There’s no more last-minute searching if you designate a permanent spot for backpacks, lunch boxes, permission slips, homework, carpool notes, and clothes for after-school activities.  Don’t forget to include a spot for a packed and ready-to-go diaper bag. Pick a system that works for you:

  • Hooks and a shelf with bins for each child.
  • Cubbies or lockers.
  • A basket near the door, or if you’re lucky enough to have one, a coat closet with plenty of space for everyone.
  • And for all, a designated drawer for paperwork the teacher sends home, and email folders for digital communication for each child.

3. No more last-minute lunch making. It’s a daily challenge – packing a simple (fast and easy-to-make), healthy lunch that your kids will eat. Make it easy on yourself.  Get your kids to help pack their own lunch after dinner the night before, or better yet, have your sitter tackle the task with them. Stick with one of three formulas, along with a reusable drink bottle:

  • The Classic: Sandwich, fruit/vegetable, something savory (crackers) and a taste of something sweet. Packs nicely in a traditional lunch along with reusable sandwich and snack bags. These by Lunchskins are now available at Target.
  • Leftovers: Basically a bit of last night’s dinner balanced with whatever it takes to make it just as appealing as last night. A small thermos jar is handy for warm or cold meals. Check out these customizable picks.
  • The Bento: A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.  Makes it easy to please picky eaters, feed them healthy food, and provide some variety. Love these eco-friendly, very cool bento boxes.

In the next weeks before the first school bell rings, we’ll also show you how to send your crew back in style, choose after school activities that stimulate rather than stress your kids, offer lunch ideas that will make your kids the envy of the lunch room, and prepare for the endless barrage of birthday parties that is about to come your way!

Back to school means back to routine! Make date nights a part of your weekly routine by scheduling a regular babysitter online with UrbanSitter.

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