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5 ways to save time in the morning during back-to-school season

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Posted at 2:43 PM, Aug 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 17:11:26-04

With the 2015-2016 school year inching closer, it’s a good time to start thinking about back to school routines. School-aged children are likely in disbelief that summer is almost over, but finding your family’s routine can eliminate that dreaded morning rush. Prepping in advance can make for a less harried morning and happier children ready to tackle the school day.

Back to School Bedtimes
A week or so before school commences might be a good time to ditch the extended summertime bedtime and initiate earlier bedtimes. A good night’s rest will help your child have a better day at school. A more restful child is likely to be more pleasant and ready to go in the morning, a most welcomed advantage!

Pack Backpacks the Night Before
Have your child pack all necessary school items in their pack for the next day. If you don’t already have one, consider purchasing a backpack hanging rack and install somewhere near the front door. A hanging rack will keep the packs off the floor and the kids can grab them right before heading out the door.

Lay Out Outfits the Night Before
Get together school uniforms or chosen clothing and accessories and have them ready to wear for the next day.

Make Ahead Breakfasts
Already prepped breakfasts can save the kitchen hustle and bustle of jostled cupboards, pantries and refrigerators. For a pancake morning, make a batch of pancakes one evening, place in freezer bag and keep stored in the freezer. Warm in the oven the next morning and serve with syrup. For cereal mornings, set the table the night before with cereal bowls facing down at each setting and cereal packages on the table.

More make ahead ideas:
Overnight Oatmeal: This recipe is a hit in our household. I found this recipe on pepperlynn.com, but since this website is no longer in service, here are the directions:

1/2 cup rolled outs (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, or vanilla for extra sweetness
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons strawberry jam or jelly
1 small banana, mashed
Combine oats, yogurt, milk and jam in a bowl or jar, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let the mixture come together overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, stir in the banana or desired mix-ins.

Recipe: DIY Oatmeal Packets
Recipe: Smoothie Packs

Pack Lunches the Night Before
Prepare sandwiches and other lunch items the night before. To eliminate an extra mess, create the lunches after dinner so that all your dishes are done in one sweep. Add a few squeezes of lemon to cut up fruit to keep fresh for the next day. Another idea is to stock up multiple bins with grab n’ go snacks so that your child feels like they have a say in what goes into their lunch.

More make ahead ideas:
Recipe: Banana Smoothie Muffins
These muffins have always been delicious. The only edits I made were to eliminate the canola oil. These muffins can be made one evening and thrown into a lunch box each day until they’re all eaten.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Smudgies
These snacks are a delicious option for children without peanut allergies. If your child’s lunch box has room for an ice pack, add in a Smudgie for a sweet, but healthy snack. For children with peanut allergies try a Greek Yogurt Smudgie. Instead of using the peanut butter and banana mixture, simply add a dollop of strawberry Greek yogurt between the graham crackers and let chill overnight.

Jeannette Swanson is a freelance writer who found her love for the media field in Chicago. She has been lucky to contribute to the Chicago Scene, Palm Springs Life Magazine, Denver Newscastic and now PositivelyLV. When she's not trailing behind her two-year-old you may find her with a crochet project in lap or at JoAnn Fabrics buying fabric and supplies she doesn't need.