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Back-to-School Time-Saving Hacks for Parents

The start of a new school year means lots of excitement, anticipation and, of course, hustle and bustle. As you say goodbye to summer and step into the busy, more structured fall season, time – and headspace – is often at a premium.

The good news is whether you need to get out the door more quickly in the morning or find more time in the day after school and work, there are tried-and-true hacks to help you and your little ones. Check out some of our favorites below.

1. Step up your scheduling.
The best way to stay on schedule and minimize distractions that can derail you is to have a good plan. If you need to leave the house at 7:45 am, you can wake up an hour or two earlier, rush around and hope for the best – or you can ensure you and your kids are on track by breaking your schedule down into smaller milestones. For example, figure out what time everyone needs to be dressed by, finish breakfast by or head out to the car by (which parents of young children know can be very different than the time you actually leave the driveway or parking lot). The same goes for nighttime and bedtime.

2. Give your kiddo extra time to start their day.
Taking more time sounds counterintuitive for a time-saving tip, but when young children feel the stress of being rushed, whatever you’re trying to accomplish ends up being more difficult and taking longer. Make sure you give your little one enough time to ease into the day and add in some buffer time to your schedule to account for the reality that every morning won’t necessarily go as planned – especially if your child is in a stage where they are beginning to assert their independence.

3. Use an actual checklist before you get out the door.
No matter how many times you keep reminding yourself to grab the bottles of milk, extra diapers, water cup or lunch bag before you leave for drop off, there will inevitably be days you forget. As Murphy’s Law would have it, this usually happens when your schedule is packed and it’s difficult to make an extra trip back to school. Do yourself a favor – and also lighten your mental load – by making a checklist outlining what you need to pack, bring or do before you get out the door.

4. Don’t let labeling wait until the last minute.
Running around during the morning rush to label the food containers or clothing that’s going to school with your child is an extra to-do you could do without. Labeling is super important to avoid mixing up items with classmates, but word to the wise – sit down and take the time to label anything your child may bring to school all at once. You’ll thank yourself when it’s one less detail to deal with.

5. Prep lunches, dinners and clothing for the week.
Packing lunch at night for the next day is a smart move. Prepping lunches – and dinners – for the week ahead is even better. Having a planned menu and prepping as much as possible (e.g. slicing and dicing fresh fruit and veggies, portioning out individual servings or even batch cooking) for the entire week can be a huge time saver at both ends of the day.

The same approach applies to clothing. Instead of planning outfits the night before, lay out clothing for your child (and you!) for the week and you’ll find yourself with more time for other morning activities.

Believe us, the extra minutes add up. That means you have more time to spend with your family during the week and enjoy the fun and excitement of a new school year!

Do you have another time-saving hack to share? Head over to our Facebook page and join the discussion!

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