kids

5 Tips for the Back to School Routine

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One thing I love about a new school year is, it’s new. We begin the year with all As, we get fresh notebooks, new teachers, and get to start again. It’s also a great time to adopt a few new habits surrounding the school routine to help stay on top of the schedule, the clutter, the schoolwork, and to encourage your kids to have their best year yet. We’ve compiled a few tips to get your year off on the right foot!


5 Tips to Streamline the Back to School Routine!


Image:  Magnolia

Image: Magnolia

1 . An Established Landing Space

This will look different in every home, entirely dependent on your home’s layout. This is an area that should be relatively close to the entry and exit point used each morning. Landing spaces can be useful to collect bookbags and store to-do baskets. Think of this as the command center of the morning on the way out the door. Check out this blog by Joanna Gaines for tips on how locker baskets can be used in your landing space!

 

2 . Routine Checklists for the Littles

Printable checklists ( laminated or put behind a glass for use with a dry erase ) can be so helpful to guide littles along their new morning routines, this gives them a sense of ownership of their morning and you can still be directly involved to keep them on track.


*We’ve created these two printable options as a framework to your morning routine!

 

3. Streamlined Schedules for the Big Kids

For kiddos that aren’t exactly kiddos anymore, a virtual approach could keep the entire family on board the same ship! Google calendar app can be a great option for synchronizing sports schedules, events, and the heavier after school schedule that the teen sports/club years can come with.

Another option is a centralized large chalkboard or dry erase calendar in the home. This is a great addition to the landing space or command center and can be a great reminder when headed in or out the door each day. There are definitely pros and cons to each calendaring options, find what works best for your people.

 

4 . Art & Schoolwork Management

A great habit to adopt for school work brought home is “touch it once!” If the assignment is a worksheet or test from class that has no emotional connection to your child, and your child is ready to let go, after acknowledgment of their efforts and skill they now have by doing the practice, it goes to the recycle bin immediately.
As for artwork, a great rule of thumb for what to keep is to see if you can see the unique work of your own child in each piece. Once that decision is made, a clear Rubbermaid tote with your child’s name and school year(s) can be used if originals want to be kept.
Another option we love is ARTKIVE. ARTKIVE lets you send in all the originals to be professionally photographed and bound into a hardback book or a framed piece!

 

5 . Designated Homework Areas

This can be such a stress reliever in many ways encouraging productivity, organization, and quality of work. Establishing a homework zone can communicate the same thing to a child as “going to the office” can for an adult. You set the tone for their work flow and focus by designating study areas. This can be as simple as a lazy susan with cups of supplies easily moved to the middle of a table, or as established as a study nook in the home. Wherever the investment, the reward will be worth it!  

Start 'em young

Taryn with Kate, Will, and Eli Ruth // 2008

Taryn with Kate, Will, and Eli Ruth // 2008

I became a mom with very few plans in place for how I’d spend time with my child or children, how I envisioned my home being set up for little ones, or how many kids I wanted to have. I’d always hoped to be a mom. I just didn’t really have specific ideas of exactly how that might go down. Almost 17 years into motherhood, and 3 amazing kids later, I am both thankful for that somewhat clueless beginning and at the same time, a bit regretful that I wasn’t more intentional.

Image:  Texture Photo  // 2018

Image: Texture Photo // 2018

I’ve found that not having concrete expectations of how motherhood would go was a gift in that it allowed for a whole lotta grace. Not so much pressure on them or on me to be someone I had dreamed up in my head. I think I have been able to pay closer attention to each one of my kids and their unique personalities, ways of relating, and specific needs better since I didn’t have rigid expectations of what I wanted parenting and my kids to look like.

Being somewhat clueless also paved the way for new relationships and a sweet reliance on family. I am fortunate to have started motherhood off with some incredible new mamas who I’ve shared this crazy adventure with and who are still some of my dearest friends. We learned so much from one another. I am also a very blessed gal to have a mom and mother-in-law who have shown me what great love and sacrifice for your kids looks like. All good gifts in the midst of my cluelessness.

However, there is one area that I do wish I had been more thoughtful about at an earlier stage — how to create spaces in my home, and spaces in our days, for my kids. I had to make a lot of mistakes in this area before realizing there’s a better way. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but if I had taken a bit more time to think through what items &/or areas in my home that would encourage my kids to learn, explore, and love well, I would’ve saved myself lots of hours of singing (and doing) the “clean-up, clean-up, everybody everywhere” song and dance, procrastination, guilt, and frustration.

On May 2 at The Back Porch Mercantile, this is the exact topic we will be teaching on.

  • How do we get a baby’s room ready with all the needs but not the excess?

  • What’s the best way to create a play area for toddler’s that allows them to explore but doesn’t turn my house into a plastic toy jungle?

  • Do I keep all my preschooler’s handprint art and the other 724 pieces of art they’ve created?

  • Toys through the years and how to store them in a way that your kids can actually clean them up.

  • How do we do birthdays and holidays well without filling up on too many gifts?

  • What to do with all my elementary-age child’s school work?

  • How do teach my kids to organize?

I have learned lots raising this boy and my two girls. I’m still learning. And whether you’re a new mom or a few years in, my hope for you is that through some intentional, thoughtful planning, you can create the best space for your kids and for you to be the best mom you can be.

Image: Paige Severance (and her cutie twins!)

Image: Paige Severance (and her cutie twins!)

summer survival tips

School's out for summer...The kids across Knox County are cheering for full days of play and fun, while parents have a new duty of planning summer activities and being prepared for whatever the fun days might hold! Here are a few ideas to help you be extra prepared: 


Image via Yummy Mummy Club blog.

Image via Yummy Mummy Club blog.

  • In the car...

You never know what you (or your various passengers) might need. This pop up organizer has a place for everything. Consider keeping the following items on hand: paper towels, bandaids, umbrella, trash bag, activity books, bungee cords, sunscreen, nonperishable snack, and a beach towel. 


  • In the garage...

Coming home from trips, pool days or picnics - the garage sometimes becomes the landing place for these items. Having a trash can and recycle bin will help with efficiently clearing out the trash before taking bags into the house. Keeping Clorox wipes near by to wipe out coolers after being used, will keep them from getting nasty over time. Make it a priority to always wash the wet bathing suits & towels from a trip immediately. Rinsing off any items with sand or dirt on them will save you from future mess! 


Image via Market Square Farmer's Market instagram.

Image via Market Square Farmer's Market instagram.

  • In the kitchen...

It seems like everyone is snacking more than ever in the summer. After a successful trip to the Farmer's Market, fill up a bowl with your fruit for anyone to grab on the go. Granola bars, PB&J, hummus, nuts are great snacks to grab on the run. If you have kids, designate areas for their snacks and drinks, separate from what you are using to cook meals to avoid confusion or clutter. Having paper products for an impromptu picnic will allow you to spontaneously decide to take your meal outdoors, and provides a quick and easy clean up.