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Tips for Preparing for Back to School & Schedules – Plus a Twitter Chat (8/20 at 2:00 PM EST) AND Giveaway! (ends 8/31/13)

 

Little hands drawing between school supplies and apples

I can’t believe it’s mid-August already. Where has the summer gone? My kids are already stressing out over the start of school. My son is even counting down how many days of “freedom” (as he calls it) before it’s back to school and school routines. For example, when school starts my kids are not allowed to keep their cellphones in their rooms at bed time, otherwise they will be on their phones all night and not get a decent night sleep. We also have to make them go to bed or they will be up all night. Even though they are both in high school now they need to be forced to go to bed. The last thing I want to do every morning is have to drive them to school because they over slept and missed the bus.

During the summer months anything goes. My kids are old enough to make their own lunches and often make foods they might not otherwise take to school with them. I think they are tired of sandwiches all the time so during the summer months they look for other meal options other than sandwiches. I just hope they are eating a balance diet.

With parents and students trying to get back into the “Back to School” mode, it’s time to start thinking about hectic schedules, homework. packing lunches, sports, activities and so much more.

Balance Bar partnered with the Macaroni Kid parent network and surveyed more than 5,000 parents of school-aged children and found that 61% of parents thought that Fall (aka Back to School) is the busiest time of year for their families. I agree! I think this time of year is more hectic and busy compared to the holidays and summer vacation. Don’t you agree?

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The survey also found some other interesting facts.

    • 77% of parents said they have 3 or more activities/events per week on average once school starts.
    • 80% of respondents said once school starts, they will be planning more meals and attending more sporting events for their kids.
    • 57% of parents said they try to have one meal together each day as a family to help balance their schedules.
    • 79% of parents reported that they pack their kids’ school lunches.

I like that many parents pack a lunch for their kids. It’s sad to see some of the food options they serve kids in schools these days. While some schools do make an effort to serve more nutritionally sound meals to kids, there are still plenty of things being served at schools that are not good for kids. Our school for example serves mozerella sticks for lunch. Seriously? How is that lunch? Mozerealla sticks are an APPPETIZER, not a meal. That is why I make my kid’s lunches for encourage them to make their own with the health meal options available to them (fruits, veggies…).

If you find that your family’s schedule gets a bit crazy and chaotic at the start of the school year, here are some tips from Macaroni Kid to better prepare for a school day and balance everyone’s schedules:

Do a run through.  Are your kids starting a new school or a new routine? Do a run through. Wake up “school time,” brush teeth, get dressed, pack lunch, have a school-appropriate breakfast and maybe even drive or walk to school.  Then, take those packed lunches and head to the park for a final summer break picnic.

Plan the menus.  Give your kids several options in each category and let them weigh in on what they’d like to find in their lunchboxes… you won’t have to guess each morning and they are far more likely to eat it if they’ve had a hand in selecting it. We love Balance Bar® minis to pack along for snacks!

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Clean your closets! Nothing gets you and the kids ready for smooth mornings like purged, well-organized closets.

Start a good sleep routine early. Kids love to stay up late in the summer time (and who can blame them) but it makes for tougher mornings if kids are used to going to bed later and sleeping in past “school time” wake up.

Set goals with your children for the upcoming school year. Whether it’s academics, sports, or extracurricular activities it’s great to help kids get motivated for success in the new school year.

These are some great tips. I especially love the one about doing a run through. Both of my kids are in high school this year. That means three people trying to get ready in the morning with just one bathroom and one bedroom to change/get ready in (my kids share the bedroom). It’s going to be INSANE around here unless our daughter gets up earlier or spends less time in the bathroom. Why she has to change her outfit a gazillion times before she leaves for school I’ll never know. This is why I am looking forward to moving so our kids have their own rooms to get ready in.

We are also trying to get them to clean out their dresser drawers. My husband told them that they don’t get a stitch of new clothing for back to school until they take stock of what they have. That means cleaning out the drawers, tossing aside old/ripped/stained/outgrown things, making a pile of clothes to donate and then counting how many jeans, shorts, long sleeve and short sleeve shirts they have. Once we know what they have we can figure out what they need.

I agree with the tip on getting kids to go to bed earlier. My kids hate when we do that but about two weeks before school starts (which is soon!) we force them to disconnect from their phones and turn off the TV and get to bed. Currently they go to bed around 2 – 3 AM and then sleep until 10 or 11 AM. We need to get them to sleep (or at least in bed with no phones or TV) by 10 PM. Easier said than done I’m afraid.

Itzy Ritzy

Another great tip is to use a reusable sandwich/snack bag instead of plastic bags. It will not only save you money in the long run but it’s also better for our environment. One such bag is the Snack Happened™ Reusable Snack Bags by Itzy Ritzy. You can use to help keep sandwiches, crackers, fruit, candy and just about anything else contained in a stylish, colorful, zippered bag.

These fun and adorable ecofriendly bags are machine washable so you can use them over and over again.

Snack Happened™ Reusable Snack Bags by Itzy Ritzy features include:

    • 100% cotton exterior
    • Waterproof lining interior
    • FDA-approved, BPA-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free
    • Lead-free zipper top closure keeps crumbs, drips and contents securely inside –no Velcro for snag free and silent snacking
    • Machine washable
    • Award winning

You can also use them for non-food items like crayons, toys, pacifiers, toiletries, make up and even as a tote to keep your cell phone safe and dry.

For more information visit www.ItzyRitzy.com. They are available in regular and mini size.

Speaking of mini size, have you had a chance to try out the Balance Bar mini energy bars are mentioned in the tips? We actually had the opportunity to try them out. They are the same great flavored Balance Bars my family has come to know and love, but in a smaller size (about 1/2 the size of a regular Balance Bar).

My cousin’s daughter came to stay with one a couple of weeks ago for a visit. She has never seen or even heard of Balance Bars before. She asked if she could try one. Of course I told her “yes”. She couldn’t get enough of them! She would have eaten the whole box if I let her. Her favorite is the Cookie Dough flavor.

Balance Bar mini energy bars

Balance Bar mini energy bars come in a box of 10, 5 of each of two flavors (the one we have has Chocolate Brownie and Cookie Dough flavors). Each bar contains 23 vitamins and minerals and 7 grams of protein, plus they are only 100 calories each making them a better for you snack option. Not only that they taste great!

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The Balance Bar mini energy bars come individually packaged making them great for not only school (or work) snacks but also on the go snacks. If you find yourself always on the go-go-go with your kids busy schedules keeping a box of these delicious snacks on hand would be a great idea. Your kids get a healthier for you grab and go snack and you can feel better knowing that they are not filling up on chips and cookies.

Do you have any back to school tips you would like to share? If so, consider joining a special Back to School Twitter party/chat tomorrow (August 20, 2013) at 2:00 PM (EST) / 11:00 AM (PST). Not only can you share your tips but you can also get some great tips on how to balance your busy back to school schedules.

Be sure to follow Balance Bar on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/BalanceBar) so you can participate in the chat. The hashtag you need to use is #BacktoSchoolBalance.

You can also check out Balance Bar on their website and on Facebook.

I also have a box of Balance Bar mini energy bars and an Itzy Ritzy reusable bag to give to a lucky reader.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on August 31, 2013 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post with a back to school tip.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted. 

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly works with school aged children doing before/after school care. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.

Comments

  1. Shannon Baas says:

    Start putting things together the night before.

  2. Emily Morelli says:

    We have a “launch pad” in our house where we keep backpacks, shoes, coats…all the things you need for the school day. We check to make sure everything is ready the night before and there is no running around the house looking for things in the morning.

  3. I love idea to go thought old clothes before you go school shopping. Makes perfect sense that way you wont buy anything you don’t need. I like to give my son a bath at night that way that is one less thing that needs to be done before school starts in the morning.
    Tanya recently posted..Introducing My Grandma Part 2

  4. Starr Greenwell says:

    I also like the idea of going thru old clothes and shoes to make sure you have a clear picture of what you are going to need. Thanks for the great ideas.

  5. nicole brenay says:

    Kids need to be on a good schedule

  6. Hard to do when you’re excited for the next day at school, but getting a good night’s sleep is so important. Start winding down early the night before (good advice for everyone!)

  7. D SCHMIDT says:

    My best back to school tip is be prepared and plan everything as far in advance as you can.

  8. Tari Lawson says:

    Take your child to school a week or two before it starts and let them meet their new teacher and see their new classroom. This will help ease first day jitters.

  9. Network with other parents for clothing swap/exchange.

  10. I like to have the kids back on their school schedule ahead of time so it’s easier to adjust when school starts.
    Kristie recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Water Play in the COLD!

  11. Always put out what clothes and shoes you will be wearing that day out the night before, and put finished homework by the door.

  12. Take baths and pack lunches at night!!! Works like a charm and saves about 30 minutes in the minutes 😀

  13. Best tip I can think of is to make sure to prepare ahead of time, make sure you have everything you need in the backpack the night before and then the only thing left is what you will wear the next day.

  14. Daily Woman (Lacey) says:

    Prepare your kids ahead of time, start early.

  15. Sherrie C. says:

    Pack lunches and lay out clothing the night before school to save time.

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  16. janna johnson says:

    don’t take the kids shopping

  17. Katie Roch says:

    My tip is to begin developing a routine a week or two before school starts so that when school starts the routine is habit.

  18. Make sure the outfits are laid out the night before, and the alarm is set!

  19. Don’t wait until the week before school starts to buy school supplies.

  20. Pick out clothes the night before.
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  21. Mary Calabrese says:

    Always drive with your headlights on so you can see and kids can see you.

  22. Encourage them to have a positive attitude about going back to school. focus on what they’ll enjoy and what they’ll do that year. Summer ending can be sad, but there’s other fun things in the future.

  23. Stephanie Larison says:

    Make sure everything is ready to go the night before, so you’re not all stressed out and in a hurry in the morning.

  24. Jennifer T. says:

    I stack up a pile of my daughter’s clothes for the next week on Sunday afternoon. That way I know if I need to do laundry or not. I also make lunch the night before ro prevent scrambling in the morning.
    jtmagmom73(at)gmail(dot)com

  25. Jennifer T. says:

    I follow on Bloglovin’ with MagMom73.
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  26. Start your back to school bedtime routine a week before school starts.

  27. Jean Eckert says:

    Get everything packed in backpacks and clothes ready the night before!

  28. Make sure everything’s set out the night before

  29. kyl neusch says:

    get enough sleep

  30. Make sure everything is done the night before. Saves time the next day to get everyone out the door and on the bus. Plan a head.

  31. Get them back in school mode one week prior to school.

  32. Buy school supplies and clothes early and get on a sleep schedule the week before and plan a grat breakfast.

  33. My best back to school tip is be prepared and plan everything as far in advance as you can.

  34. My tip is to prepare early. Get everything you need, the recheck several times prior to the first day.

  35. kathy pease says:

    we get everything ready the night before so we dont have to rush in the morning

  36. Whitney Lindeman says:

    Use a planner – a PAPER planner! Writing things down really does help!

  37. Jennifer Reed says:

    One back to school tip I have is get the backpacks loaded and ready the night before so mornings go smoother.

  38. Paula Tavernie says:

    Get the kids back on a bedtime routine!

  39. Desiree Dunbar says:

    I keep snacks bins for each kid and fill them with healthy choices that they can choose for their lunch.

  40. Holly Kennedy says:

    Get enough sleep!

  41. Linda Lansford says:

    I use thes bars before I work out. School tip is to have an organizer

  42. To get back into the routine we lay our clothes out the night before to save time.

  43. Christian Alejandro says:

    We shop together for a backpack. It becomes an adventure.

  44. Angela Ash says:

    Start the sleep schedule at least a week before school starts.

  45. I actually like to wait until school starts to buy new school clothes. That way things go on sale.
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  46. I do my school shopping every week in order to get the weekly deals. If you go all at once you have to pay full price for almost everything.
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  47. Brenda Elsner says:

    I pack lunches the night before and lay out clothes for the next day to help save time in the morning.

  48. Brittney House says:

    Always get homework out of the way when you get home so you don’t get home and get comfortable and put it off until last minute.

  49. Prepare the week before school getting up early and being dressed at the normal leave time.

  50. may avalon says:

    My best back to school tip is be prepared and plan everything as far in advance as you can.
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  51. Ed Nemmers says:

    The next day’s clothes are selected he evening before!

  52. Brad Merrell says:

    Coupons and sales

  53. Back to school tip is take advantage of back to school sales and using coupons or code discounts to lower your out of pocket.

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  55. Nicole Millheim says:

    Start getting the kids up earlier a couple weeks before kids go back to school so they are prepared for the early rise

  56. melikegarfield says:

    Get the kids up EARLY the first week. They are SLOW!

  57. Buy all the school supplies at one place instead of driving around trying to scoop the best deals!

  58. Double check the backpacks before you go to bed and get as much ready for lunch the night before too 🙂 Mornings are hectic enough as it is
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  59. Mallory Bailey says:

    Make sure you have everything ready the night before so you are not rushing around in the morning.

  60. Heather S says:

    do everything the night before, pack lunch get clothes ready etc

  61. Mya Murphy says:

    Get er done the nite before 🙂

  62. Melanie Montgomery says:

    Start getting the kids up early the week before

  63. Ttrockwood says:

    My tip is to have your kid help pack lunches- they often will eat and like more of it even if its exactly what the parents pack since they feel like they got to choose!
    I help my nephew and his mom was floored when she found out he chose to eat hummus and snap peas as his snack instead of the cheese crackers she had been sending!

  64. Laurie Emerson says:

    My best tip is to have a dry run a few days before school begins. This way on the first day things will go so much smoother.

  65. Laurie Emerson says:

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