Yesterday was the first day of school around here. This was a big milestone for our family. My three big girls are all in elementary school. Ally and Shelly started 1st grade and my baby girl Izzy started kindergarten.
Last week the girls met their teacher’s and brought their school supplies to their classrooms. The girls had so much fun making cookies for their teachers and organizing their new school supplies!
We have some simple traditions we’ve started on the day before school resumes to prepare for the big day. Yesterday …
We measured everyone’s heights for our family records. I bought this measuring stick at a craft fair. It is not adhered to the wall, we just take it out to measure and then put it back in the coat closet. I use a permanent marker to mark the girls heights each year. Interesting enough, our identical twins have never been different heights – their notches are always in the same place.
Matt gave everyone a father’s blessing, which is a prayer over each child. I got this quick shot before he started.
And our favorite tradition: we played a board game together.
Yesterday morning, we started our routine 30 minutes early so the new kinks wouldn’t create chaos. My girls were radiant – they were so excited!
Drop-off went well, almost too well. When I asked Izzy if she was ready for Mommy and Daddy to leave, she said “yep!” and waved goodbye. I may or may not have cried through half of my grocery shopping trip. I’m a bit of a mess today.
I know lots of us are sending our kids off to school and I’ve prepared four tips to make the school year more successful for your family.
1) Let’s start with the beginning of the day. A good morning routine is key! Whatever morning routine works for your family, make it consistent. Our routine consists of me waking up the girls and guiding them to get ready, while Matt gets himself ready for work and then heads to the kitchen to start breakfast. During breakfast, we work together to finish the lunches. After breakfast, I fix the girl’s hair and then Matt takes them to school on his way to work. It is the same every day and the consistency of it takes the feel of craziness out. Of course, some of our other habits help make sure our morning routine success.
2) This may shock you, but I’ll say it anyways: a good after school routine is vital! After the girls come in the house, we wash hands first, and then eat a snack, and then I go through their backpacks immediately (sitting with them at the table while they eat their snack). The girls complete homework right away, and any papers for me to fill out get dealt with right away too. Any events get put in my calendar as I go through the papers, so important dates don’t get forgotten! After backpacks, we have time for music practice, reading, chore sticks, and then it is play time. Sometimes the girls watch a cartoon while I get dinner ready, but normally we hold off on too much tv during the week. Of course, there are those days occasionally, that the girls have a cartoon marathon after school until dinner time. Life happens!
3) We clean up the kitchen together after family dinner and then the girls help us start their lunches for the next day. My own picky-ness doesn’t want to make the sandwiches early (I hate soggy sandwiches, so I don’t make my girls endure them), but they fill their water bottles and put them in the fridge and fill their lunch boxes with any non-perishables, including napkins and spoons.
4) Set out clothes for the next day. I mention in my post Setting Limits & Creating Neat Drawers, how limiting children’s clothing options will make selections easier. So true! Make this simple preparation part of the bed time routine. Anytime you can make new habits part of existing, successful routines, the greater the chance the new habit will take!
I hope you will find these tips helpful. Good luck to all your little ones (and not so little ones) as they start a new year of school!