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A mother helping her daughter with homework

More Purposeful Plans and Family Routines for the School Year

By Rachel Meeks

Now that school has started, we don’t get as much time to spend together to spend as a family. Even though I’m glad that school is here, it’s been a big adjustment to our new schedule.

We get just a sliver of afternoon between the time that school lets out and when it’s time to start getting ready to go to bed.

“How was your day?” I ask as we walk across the school yard.

“It was great!” but I don’t get much else for an answer.

“What did you learn?” Stuff.

“What did you do?” Art.

Too many things happened during the day for her to retell them to me, but she does tell me about the boy who runs out of the classroom.

We walk slowly and tell people goodbye. I’m trying to make friends with the other mothers since we just moved to our street. I chit chat and ask about their weekend plans. Lane waves to her classmates.

I’m trying not to rush so we can make the most of the time we spend together. I’m trying to be more purposeful about how we use our limited time on this new stringent schedule.

We’re practicing to set up new habits.

These new routines are not just for her, but for the whole family. This time of year there are no more carefree mornings or evenings on weekdays. Bedtimes are more important to ward off sleepy heads, mama included.

We go home and transition into our new afternoon routine. Right after school it’s time for folder and homework, after a snack. We start homework early. It only takes fifteen minutes at her age. (Fifteen minutes after school is a short amount of time, but fifteen minutes at bedtime is miserable.)

On Sunday nights I have a reminder on my calendar to help her pick out her clothes for the week. We do it together although she’s picked out her own clothes since she was three, creating outfits that mix and match hearts and stripes, not caring if the striped tights are too long or if the hat is seasonally appropriate. She definitely has her own sense of style now. She loves to focus on clothes, so I can engage in that with her, and it makes the mornings so much easier when the clothes decision has already been made.

Bath time at night is quick; there are no bubbles so she can go to bed earlier. I don’t want her to feel rushed in the morning.

Her backpack is ready to grab and carry. It’s so important to me to get her to school with plenty of time to put her things in her locker, go to the restroom, greet her friends, and sit down. I want her to feel prepared for the day. We can stroll to school instead of rushing in a panic. Every morning that I take her to school with extra time is a win.

I’m also making more purposeful plans for fun activities on the weekends. We’re still spending most of our time at home, but I’m more actively playing board games and reading books. Last weekend we had a mother-daughter camping trip in our living room. We slept all night on the floor in our sleeping bags, and I didn’t climb back into my comfy bed after she fell asleep though it was tempting.

How do you make plans for better use of your family time when it is limited during the school year? How do you make sure the mood in your family is light instead of hurried?

Back-to-School Ideas From Alpha Mom:

  1. Make Back-to-School Week the Easiest Ever 
  2. DIY Chore Chart, Family Calendar and Magnetic Pen
  3. Back-to-School Labels and Stickers for Organization
About the Author

Rachel Meeks

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to be a parent when you’re not surrou...

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to be a parent when you’re not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)

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