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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, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.

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.

  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.

  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 :D

  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.

    callawishes(at)hotmail(dot)com

  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.