This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterBreakfast #CollectiveBias
Ready or not Back-To-School is now here in full force. With Labor Day over the weeks of school stretch as far as the eye can see. Each of these days brings along with them the hurry, scurry, and stress that getting ready and out the door on time causes. The more kids you have to send off to school each day, the more this hurry and stress grows. As a fellow mom, I completely understand.
This school year is an important one for us. One big change is that we moved to a new town just in time to get the kids registered for their schools. An even bigger change this year for us, however, is that Tyler is in Kindergarten which means that both of the kids are in school all day, all week for the very first time.
Our new school district divides its campuses up according to grades, rather than location. This means that the kids are both in different schools across town, and not overly close to one another. I drive them each day, which means we have to be up and out the door in plenty of time for both stops and to accommodate for the morning traffic and the drop off lines. With the kids gone all day I want our time together in the morning to run smoothly and be stress-free. Making sure they are able to get the nourishment they need and leave for the day with a full belly and on a positive note is so important. I know I’m not alone in wanting this for my family, so I thought I’d share my top tips with you today to help make it a reality for your family as well. Be sure to scroll aaaaalllll the way to the bottom of the post, too, a sweepstakes will be your reward!
It’s all wonderful to wish for a smooth morning, but the reality is that it won’t happen without preparation and planning. Once you establish good routines with a handy reminder, however, you’ll be amazed at just how easy it really is!
How To Make School Mornings Run Smoothly
The very first step in creating a smooth school morning is making sure you have everything in stock ahead of time. I used my first solo shopping trip to Walmart to stock up on everything my family needs to build a better breakfast and create our new back-to-school routine. Here’s what you’ll need on your shopping list so you’re prepared as well:
- Great Value 2% Milk
- Lenders Bagels
- Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions
- Magnetic Dry Erase Board (be sure to purchase mounting tape if it does not come with some)
- Dry Erase Markers w/ attached eraser
While I was shopping I noticed these signs that told about an amazing charitable promotion going on right now. I absolutely love giving back and paying it forward, and when I can do it simply by purchasing items that my family loves, with *no* extra steps??? Amazing! I was so happy about it I wanted to share the information with you, too!
Childhood should be filled with playing, learning and growing. But for many children who face hunger, even basic staples like milk – and the nutrients that help power childhood activities – are missing. Milk is naturally nutrient rich and powers potential – if you have access to it. Milk’s 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8 ounce serving, can help to ensure that kids have the potential to play, learn and grow. Join Feeding America in The Great American Milk Drive to help deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry children and families who need it most. More than 14 million servings of milk have been delivered to food banks through this first-of-its-kind initiative. Now, you can help feed a childhood – by purchasing 1 or more of these products, you are helping Feeding America provide nutrient- rich milk to kids and families in need. Visit milklife.com/give to learn more.
Now that you’ve got all the items you need, you’re ready to set up your “Command Center” that will help guide your kids (and you!) through everything you need to tackle.
Set Up Routine Check Lists
Get out your new Magnetic Dry Erase Board & Markers. I decided to go with 3 colors for mine, one for the routine steps, and 2 others so the kids would each have their own color. On a piece of scratch paper list out every item that needs to be done before school each day. Next take that list and divide it into steps that can be done in advance the night before, and steps that must be done in the morning. By prepping for the day as much as you can the evening before you’ll be adding valuable time to your mornings. This allows you to make sure the most important things like sitting down to a nutritious and filling breakfast actually happen. Here’s my list and a little about each item on it, to help get you started on your own!
Lay Out Clothes for The Next Day — You’ll be amazed at how much time and stress this saves you each morning. Instead of fumbling through their closet, coming out in mismatched clothes, or wearing dress clothes on P.E. day you and your kids will be able to simply get dressed as soon as you’re up. You can create a special hook or place to put clothes, or you can simply hang them up on their closet or bedroom door.
Make Lunches & Snacks — Make and pack all lunch & snack items the evening before, any food will keep well when placed in the fridge overnight.
Pack Backpacks — As soon as homework is done have the kids re-pack their backpacks with any items that will be needed for the next day (notes, lunch money, etc)
Prep Breakfast Items — This is another biggy! A well balanced breakfast is much more likely to happen if you plan on it in advance. Now that you have your items, it’s just a matter of setting them together.
There are several reasons you should choose these three items to start your day. The combination of milk, a bagel, and a fruit cup gives kids protein, carbohydrates, vitamin C and other things that they won’t get with other choices. Eating them all together make this a better breakfast choice.
Lender’s bagels are filling – sustaining kids all morning — and they come in Plain, Blueberry, and Cinnamon-Raisin flavors which are completely kid-friendly & great for the whole family. Lender’s has a bagel for Everyone! They’re available in the refrigerated dairy section, which is perfect as it means you can keep all 3 items together in the fridge where they’re easy to find. Bagels for breakfast are timesaving, easy, tasty and nutritious–all things that are musts in order to keep the morning running smoothly.
To complete your balanced breakfast you’ll need Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions. It’s the only fruit cup product that provides 1 serving of fruits and veggies in a single cup. The veg is in the juice but you’d never know it, and neither will your kids! Be sure to look for specially marked Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions packages on shelf at Walmart for valuable coupons for Del Monte and Lenders products!
Now that you have all your food items ready it’s time to prep the serving dishes as well. Just like with the clothes, if you have places set the night before all that’s left to do in the morning is to pour a glass of milk, get out a bagel, and open a fruit cup. Couldn’t be easier!
Set Alarm — Don’t miss this last step! We each have our own alarm clocks, yes, even my Kindergartner! Setting multiple alarm clocks helps the possibility of sleeping in due to a missed alarm drop down drastically, plus it allows everyone to be up in the time frame they need to according to their personal routines and how quickly they can get things done.
As promised, since you’ve done so much prep work the night before your morning routine should be a breeze and completely self-explanatory. Being well organized means plenty of time to sit, wake up, and enjoy each other and a better breakfast!
Get Dressed (including shoes)
Brush Hair & Teeth
Now that you have all your routine items planned out, you just need to write them down onto your dry erase board and add checklists for each child (you can do it for yourself as well if you’d like!) Another option would be to use your vinyl machine to create the checklist, but I love the flexibility that dry erase gives.
Now mount your Command Center any place handy in your kitchen. I chose the side of our fridge, but the front of your fridge, on a wall, or on the pantry door are all great options. Use the magnets to hold anything you need that goes along with your routines like information from school or paper items to be packed in the backpacks.
As the kids complete each item have them put a dot in the box (you can do checkmarks as well, but then you’ll need to re-draw the boxes each day). In the middle of the next day use the edge of the attached marker to clear out the boxes and start over again!
After a week or so of following your new checklists and routine steps, you’ll wonder why mornings ever felt so frantic and stressful in the first place! In the meantime here’s an amazing sweepstakes for you to enter!