Here we go again! Like last year it sounds like the only thing that will be consistent this second half of the semester will be the inconsistency. Some schools and school districts will be starting off the second half of the school year in-person, while others are going on a school-by-school Covid count basis (this whole thing is rather confusing still, are we to watch the news in the morning and see what schools are closed, kinda like we do for snow days?), etc. No matter where your kiddos fall, in-person, remote, etc. since the schools are having a difficult time trying to figure out structure and consistency us parents need to take charge!! We need to take the reins for the sake of the kids. We need to help our kiddos feel like they have a bit of control over their lives by providing them the consistency they need through daily routines and weekly schedules.
1- Outfit Planning-Dress for Success
Sunday evening have kiddos set out their outfits for the week. Including hair bows, socks, underwear, & jewelry. They need to dress for success even if they are in front of the screen, hence, especially if they are in front of the screen. No laying in bed in their PJs during “school”, that’s not okay.
2-Pack lunches the Day Before
Plan the lunch menu for the week either on Saturday or Sunday, and place the menu on a clipboard next to the lunch boxes/containers. And after dinner each night have the kids grab the menu and necessary items from the fridge to make their lunches. (tip- prep the veggies & fruit ahead of time so all they have to do is literally open the container & place food in their lunchbox). It’s important that virtual and remote learning still maintain that routine of lunch during their “lunch time”.
3-NO TV or Social media in the morning
The television/social media are productivity zappers. Cartoons, news, “teenage drama” snapchat, etc. are out of the question in the morning. Mom can check the weather on her phone, but beyond that mornings need to be phone/TV free for ultimate productivity!!
4-Morning Playlist-GET MOVING
Music is where it’s at!! It’s the perfect way to help kiddos wake & stay on task. Put together a morning playlist, start out with quiet mellow music & slowly increase the energy with each song, and let kids know when a certain song plays it means they have 10 minutes until you’re out the door or it’s time to log in to the classroom.
Don’t give kids too many options. Simply toss a couple choices on the breakfast table & let them pick and eat as they wake. It’s also a good idea to have some grab-n-go breakfast options…every kid is different. Some are up & at-’em early and linger over breakfast, while others literally grab their breakfast as they walk out the door. But do not allow kids to have breakfast during class…once they log in to the Google Classroom all in-person classroom rules should be applied and followed.
6-A place for Everything
No matter how children are learning they should have a place for their book bags, computer bags, lunchboxes, as well as at-home work and in-person work. Having hooks in the home where these items can hang is a good idea, that way they don’t take up valuable surface space (kitchen or dining room table) each evening have kiddos make certain their bags are packed and ready for tmrw, even if their commute is a short one to the kitchen table, and then make certain they pack up at the end of each day, remember, CONSISTENCY is the key!!!
7-Chores still need to be Maintained
There are complicated charts, graphs, stickers, carry the one & add a smiley face methods out there for chores. Keep it simple! Get inexpensive frames, place each child’s picture in said frame, then each week write chores on the glass portion of pic with dry erase marks. Include community chores, as well as, an “opportunity projects” to earn money.
8-Homework & Paper Clutter
Assigned each child a clipboard and/or folder for important info, letters home, ongoing projects, basically anything important that you need to hold onto.
9- Put it on the Mother Board
“It’s Complicated” has legit been the motto for the past two years of school thus, everything must get on the calendar!! When school is brick and mortar, when it’s virtual, when projects are due, music lessons, orthodontist appointments, etc. our mom/parent brains can only handle so much, EVERYTHING MUST GET WRITTEN DOWN ON THE CALENDAR!!
10- Make adjustments where Needed
Again, the only thing consistent about this second half of the school year are the inconsistencies. If something needs to be altered in your schedule or something about your routine isn’t working out give yourself grace, take a deep breath, and try it again.
Parents, we were made for tough things, we can do this…we just need to be as prepared as possible for the sake of the kiddos. Let’s try our best to make home-life the beacon of hope our kids so badly need by providing them with a controlled environment that includes structure, routines and consistent schedules.
In addition to the mentioned tips, you should work with a specific timeline and goals. This works well, especially if you want to free up some space in your home. Regardless of how much clutter you have to deal with, having specific goals can make decluttering your home much easier. It reduces frustrations and roadblocks.
To get started, you should have a map of all the spaces that you have to declutter. You can include “clutter hot spot” areas that you might want to work out first. Tackle one space at a time and remember to set a completion time for each area you work on. In the end, planning your work and setting goals can help you work efficiently without stress.