Part 2 – Back to School, The Night Before

‘The Night’ has arrived. School starts tomorrow and there is excitement in the air. Despite all your glorious preparation, you are still worried something will be forgotten which causes enough stress to keep you from falling asleep when you finally do lay down. Before you even realize it, it’s ‘The Morning Of’ and you’ve hit the snooze button one too many times. You jolt out of bed in a complete panic and so begins the race to get everyone out the door on time.

Ok, this is an extreme example, but we have all been in this scenario to one degree or another and can remember exactly how it feels……unnecessarily stressful. When we are forced to rush, everything takes longer than normal because we are not thoughtful, careful or patient. All our planning is completely derailed when ‘the morning of’ becomes frenzied and frantic. To give yourself the best chance at a successful start to the first day of school, here are my tips for the night before;

  1. Review the calendar / app / agenda ~ visually remind yourself of tomorrow’s activities and look at the rest of the week while you are at it. Confirm to yourself that you have done everything necessary to prepare for this week’s events / to-do list. This one step will put your mind at ease and make the rest of the evening a lot more relaxing.
  2. Pack the Bags ~ if it needs to get out the door with you or your child in the morning, get it ready tonight. Double check you have everything on the school supply list (if you weren’t able to order them online), placing personal supplies in your child’s backpack and everything else (e.g. the 20 glue sticks) into a separate, easy to carry paper bag (more likely bags). Your laptop bag and/or purse; yep you need to make sure each is ready for a quick pick up by the door, no thinking, no worrying you forgot something important (or actually forgetting something important) and no scrambling to find keys or cell phones.
  3. Lunch Boxes ~ if you have to pack lunch for yourself / your spouse and / or your children, pull together as much as you can the night before. No I am not suggesting you make a sandwich that will end up soggy by lunchtime the next day, but you can put together individual bags of fruit, place leftovers for re-heating or pre-made salads in the containers you plan to take with you and go ahead and place anything you will pack from your pantry into the appropriate lunch box. Depending on how many you are packing for, this will eliminate at least 10 – 15 minutes of frantic lunch making the following morning and your food choices will be much better to boot.
  4. Outfit Ready ~ in terms of time saved (and overall morning of stress levels), this may be the most significant tip…..pick out what you and every child in your house (or if they are old enough have them pick it out before they go to bed and place it on their dresser) will wear the following day. I’ve had more arguments with my children – and they are boys – over what they will wear than I can count. When I am prepared enough to have them pick everything out (parent approved) the night before, WOW what a difference it makes; it saves time but most importantly the kids are much more cooperative. And happy, cooperative kids are what you want on the first day of school.

So if tonight is ‘The Night’, before you sit down to watch that DVR’d show you have been dying to see or check your email again, stop and give these tips a try. Twenty minutes tonight will buy you at least that much time tomorrow, a more restful sleep and a more peaceful morning. It’s the first day of school after all – you’ll need the extra time for taking pictures. Go ahead and pull out your camera and the “First Day of __ Grade” sign you will force them to hold in the morning. I certainly plan to.  And when you’re all done, pour yourself a glass of wine and put your feet up…’ve earned it.


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