The time has come.
As of yesterday, both of my kids are in school full time. While many different emotions are running through me as my youngest starts kindergarten, one of them is definitely excitement. I’m looking forward to one drop-off and more time to get the important stuff done.
Although work will take up a good portion of my time, I plan to incorporate these 5 routines to help things run as smoothly as possible.
1. Strategic Meal Planning
I already map 5 weeks’ worth of dinner rotations for my family but each week I need to double-check those meals. Whether it’s planned activities or things that come up, the meals I make need to match the amount of time I have to cook. I plan to jot down my grocery list on Sunday, post the dinner meals on the fridge, and shop on Monday.
Bottom line: With two kids doing homework in the afternoon, stress-free dinners are important.
2. Food Prep Day
I plan to add a food prep day on Tuesday. This will be the day I will make items like salsa, waffles, soups, salad dressings, and muffins. I will also make some sides, and if possible, future meals along with hot lunches for me and my husband.
I’m not sure how this food prep day will go but the goal is to minimize cooking the rest of the week.
3. Kid Lunch Check-in
The kids will get four packed lunches every week and one hot lunch at school. Because things change quickly throughout the year, I plan to check in with my kids on a regular basis. I’ll also have this talk with my husband.
How do you like what I’m packing?
What would you like to see more of?
Is your snack too big or too small? Are you hungry by the time lunch rolls around?
4. Making Lunches
Big A is ready to start dabbling in the lunch-making routine so I’ll be having her make one lunch every week. In Fearless Feeding, we have lunch-making templates to help school-age kids learn how to put a meal together (think food groups). And I just ran across this PDF from Real Mom Nutrition aimed to help kids make their own lunches. Big A will also look through some cookbooks to get ideas including my favorite: Best Lunch Box Ever.
5. Clean Out One Area
Each week I plan to pick an area of our place to sort through (AKA throw stuff out!). Whether it’s toys, part of the kitchen, bookcase, or files, the idea is to slowly get rid of what we don’t use. Doing a little at a time should add up through the school year.
This all sounds great, doesn’t it? Let’s see what really happens when I start to implement these every week. I’ll be sure to provide honest updates in my rotation meal plans.
Any new back-to-school routines you’ll be implementing?
Today I cleaned out the craft cabinet. I made sure to wait until school started. I’m also putting dinner on the table by 5. That gives us plenty of time to select outfits and get ready for bed by 7.
Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD says
Dinner by 5 is impressive. I shoot for 6!