All good things must come to an end. Some of you may even be counting down the days until kids go back to school, while others are pretending that it’s not happening.  It’s back to school time and that means getting kids up and out of the house without any meltdowns. Mornings can get a little crazy and a little organization can go a long way. Here are 5 Tips to Prepare for Back to School.

Yes, it’s possible! Create a routine, stick to a budget, meal plan, limit technology, and of course homework help.

 

Tip 1: Routines

Most kids need visuals and even if you aren’t a Pinterest Addict, having some sort of visual for kids to get back into the routine and out the door will help make mornings less hectic. Listing checklists will make kids more independent and will save your sanity.

 

Create a night-before checklist. Sure, every parent knows we’re supposed to get things ready the night before, but it doesn’t always happen. A checklist can make it a lot easier. Posting a questionnaire on your fridge with a simple “Homework done?  Get notes signed? Lunch packed? Clothes laid out?” can ensure kids actually have everything ready before they go to bed.

Create a morning checklist.

This isn’t something that needs to be checked off completely before heading out the door, but it’s more of a redirect for kids to visit if they are confused what needs to be done in the morning. It also helps that parents won’t have to nag “Did you brush your teeth?” Pack your lunch? Clean up breakfast?” This simple list can help get you out the door in time for the first bell.

 

Tip 2: Juggling the Schedule

Keeping up with your kids’ schedule is a huge challenge when heading back to school since they are all going in different directions. Once kids go back to school, it seems like most extra-curricular activities start. If you still like to use an old school printed calendar on your fridge, make sure to use different color ink for each child. If you prefer to be digitally organized, here are two apps that can help organize schedules and both are free.  

 

Google Calendar app

Gmail, maps, events, and on — you’ll want to find your way to this nifty, free,  calendar app. It syncs up to all your Google faves. There’s a new Schedule View that lets you quickly see your schedule using photos and maps of the places you’re scheduled to visit.

Cozi app

Manage family calendars, set reminders, color-code schedules, prep grocery shopping lists even when you’re offline. It really is one of the best organizational apps out there, with so many families singing its praises.

 

Tip 3: Back to school shopping

The most important part of back to school shopping is getting organized. It’s important to make a list of the supplies that each child is required to purchase. Most schools offer a list of necessary supplies needed for the first day, don’t go overboard and stick to the list. Even if you didn’t stockpile school supplies from last year, you probably still have a stash of pens, pencils, crayons and markers scattered throughout the house. Gather all of these supplies in one location. Purchase high quality book bags and avoid replacing them.   

What items can you still use from last year? This is such an important tip, just take a few minutes and look through which clothes still fit and what schools supplies can still be used. Search the Sunday circulars to find out which stores are offering sales for items on your list or use the money saving apps below. For clothes, why not check out the local consignment shops to see what type of barley used clothing they have in stock. This is a great way to save. Also, check out Thredup and narrow your search to find exactly what you need. 

 

Tip 4: Meal Planning

Meal planning and make/freeze- pantry plan and buy ahead.

It seems like the first couple of weeks back to school are exhausting, both physically and mentally, so the last thing that you want to worry about is making dinner. One idea is to make an extra meal serving and freeze it for back to school. This could be grilled chicken, potatoes, soups or pasta sauces. Buy pantry and snack items in bulk to save for school lunches. There are some apps to help you save on grocery items and to help with meal planning.

 

Favado app

Save time and money by discovering the very best deals and rock bottom prices for items in more than 65,000 grocery and drugstores nationwide. Favado tells you which store has the best deals to help you decide which stores to add to your errand list each week.

 

LaLa Lunchbox app

LaLa Lunchbox app makes meal-planning fun and gets your kids involved in the process, letting them select foods for their lunch using kooky monsters, colorful designs and sounds. Plus, it’s free.

 

Tip 5: Homework Help

Photomath

Confused with Common Core Math? PhotoMath lets you scan and instantly calculate complicated math problems using your phone’s camera. This is not just a cheat sheet, however. The app gives you step-by-step instruction on how to solve the problem in real time like a normal human being.

 

iTooch math worksheets/reading apps  

The iTooch series of apps is perfect for any kid who wants lots of extra practice without the hassle of printing out worksheets. There is a neat virtual blackboard in this app, which is a more eco-friendly way to work out problems than covering sheets of scratch paper. (Available on iTunes and Google Play for free, with $5.99-$6.99 in-app purchases for additional subjects)

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