Prepping For the Back-to-School Blitz

Still haven’t found a Scooby-Doo backpack

C’mon people; help me out here.

Time is not on my side.

Where did the summer go?

Year-round students in the Chicago Public School system return to class tomorrow. Meanwhile, kids in Hawaii, Seattle, Atlanta and parts of North Carolina already started the new school year.

Thankfully, my daughter has two more weeks of summer vacation before reality crashes in on our blissful routine-less mornings.

Oh, how I dread school day mornings.

Getting back into the groove of laying out uniforms, packing lunches, filling backpacks, making breakfast (then forcing half-asleep kids to eat the breakfast), searching for missing shoes and socks, and dealing with hair issues, all before 7:45 a.m. makes me long for another month of summer vacation.

So much for summer schlepping, the countdown to back-to-school routines is on.

Every year I vow to incorporate solid recommendations from “experts” to simplify school mornings, though I find that no matter how hard I try my efforts start to unravel right around the two-week mark.

Still, the advice is sound enough to share, just in case you are looking to make a new school year resolution to revamp your morning routine:

Prepare the night before: In order to make your mornings run smoothly, have your kids pick out their clothes before bed. This eliminates the need to find the perfect shirt to match your child’s favorite pants, as the school bus is pulling up in front of your house. While you are at it, place necessary items into backpacks and prep lunches the night before too. Finally, check the weather ahead of time so you have umbrellas, coats or boots ready if needed.

Plan breakfast: Getting my daughter to eat a decent breakfast before school is worse than pulling teeth. She enjoys a four-course meal, which is impossible to pull off on school mornings. To alleviate the pain that comes with breakfast time I tell her what her breakfast options are the night before, so there are no surprises in the morning.

Eliminate distractions: Once your child plants himself in front of the TV in the morning, you can kiss your routine good-bye. Limit distractions of any kind, including video games, computers, or toys, especially if you are racing against the clock.

Stragglers: Every family has at least one. Don’t waste precious time cajoling young stragglers. Rather, focus your attention on getting your other kids ready. Yelling, screaming, threats and tears won’t motivate a straggler. Instead, let him suffer the consequences of his petulance.

What strategies do you employ to ease into back-to-school season?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.