Episode 014: Back to School Tips - Part 3
This week is the final installment of our three-part series, all about back-to-school tips for busy moms. Diana provides some examples of the jobs her kids do that help with home management and the school week. There are also tips that are easy to complete weekly for yourself to make the week run smoother. And be sure to enter the giveaway that’s mentioned in the episode. Click here to enter!
In part three of our special three-part series, Diana shares her final tips that you can implement before school starts or anytime throughout the school year that will help your days feel less stressful.
We’ll also discuss:
- Examples of food you can batch cook to make the week easier
- How to manage the school week’s clothes to reduce decision fatigue in the mornings
- Ways that moms can prepare themselves for the week to make life feel less stressful
- A brief discussion on Brain Release, which you can find in detail in Episode 009: Power of a Brain Release
- How Diana uses three different checklists that are crucial to her home management. You can download free copies here!
What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?
- 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
- How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
- Guest interviews
- Deep dives on specific topics
Find Diana Rene on social media:
Episode 014: Back to School Tips - Part 3
[00:00:00] Diana Rene
Welcome to part three of the three-part series of all about back-to-school tips for busy moms, we have done weeks one and two, the last two episodes, and we are doing a giveaway for anyone who is listening to this episode. And the last two episodes, you can enter the giveaway. Up to three times, one for each episode, you can go to the link in the show notes, and if you follow me on Instagram, the link is also in my bio on there.
You're listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. A podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Renee, and in 2017, I had my second daughter, and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home. Okay, not literally. But I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next ten months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings, and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system, and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks, and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show.
Let's just jump right into this week's tip. So the first one we're gonna talk about is to batch cook as much as you can on the weekends or before school starts. And what I like to do is I like to batch cook mini muffins, I'll make like zucchini muffins and, um, like muffins that are, have healthier things in them for the kids, but that they still really like.
And honestly, you guys, all I do is I go on Google, and I type in mini, healthy muffins for kids. And there are like 10,000 different recipes, and I just pick one, and we make 'em. Especially if you can get your kids involved, I don't know about your kids, but with my kids, if I get them involved in the cooking or baking process, they're much more likely to be excited about eating the end result.
And so, especially if it's a muffin and I'm not too sure they're gonna actually like, or not, because it has a lot of healthy stuff in it, then I get them involved. I let them help. And then they are much more likely to want to eat them. Side note, just a baking tip that I have learned from moms, uh, uh, you know, who have older kids than me.
Um, something I started doing, I think, last year. I, okay. First of all, you guys, I don't like baking. I don't like baking. I don't like cooking. They are just not there. I just don't enjoy it. It is not something that I get excited about. I don't enjoy doing it. I get, I, I honestly like I loathe this I, I don't enjoy it.
Okay. So. When I already don't enjoy something. And then you're like, Hey, you should get your kids involved. I'm like, you've gotta be kidding me. So if you're in the same boat as me, when it comes to this, then something that I started doing last year, that some moms gave me this advice, was to pre-measure everything.
So if I know I need one cup of sugar, and I need four eggs, and I need, you know, see you guys. I don't like baking. This is obvious, right? I don't even know what, like what type of ratio we're working with here? Um, I will pre-measure it. And I'll put it in little bowls or cups or whatever. That way, they can feel like they're helping because they can like pour it into the dry mix bowl and poured into the wet mix bowl. They can help mix it all together, and they can do all of that, but we're not dealing with actual measuring, which tends to be like the messiest part. So that's my side, baking tip with kids if you want to get your kids involved.
So what I do is I batch these mini muffins. Um, I will often batch like pancakes, and I will batch waffles also. And then I'll just stick them in the freezer. That way, I always have some type of breakfast ready to go in the mornings. And also throw the muffins into their lunches, or I'll bring the muffins for their after-school snack. Like it just helps to have some of these options on hand that I have pre-made, and I don't have to think about it.
Okay, so this next one you've probably heard from me before because it's like one of my favorite tips of all time for making sure that mornings go smoothly. And that is to pick out the full week of clothes on Sundays. Like not just the night before, but on Sunday, have each kid pick out their in their Monday through Friday outfits. If they're too little, then you do it, but you can get them involved.
Or if they're old enough, they can do it. And this is something off of your plate, and it's something that they can take ownership of. They can figure this out, right? This is something that you can show them one or two or three times, and then they can figure this out. But a key to this is to have them pick everything.
So I'm talking like accessories and undergarments, and like anything that's going on, their body is being picked out on Sunday for each day. That way. When that day comes, there is one less decision to be made by everyone involved. There is less drama. There is less frustration over an item that needs to be worn.
That might be in the laundry basket still. Like it just takes out a lot of stress and overwhelm. And drama out of the mornings during the week when the mornings tend to be one of the most stressful times, right? The thing is, I want you to do this for yourself too because we often do everything for everybody else, and then we forget about ourselves. Moms, we have so many decisions that we have to make every single day. And if we can take this decision out of the equation in the morning, we are just going to be off to a better start in the morning. I have had people tell me before, like, oh, you know, I'm so glad my kids wear uniforms.
Even if they wear uniforms, still have them do this because it's still going to cut out just that extra step in the morning.
Okay, the next tip is to fill up your gas tank on Sunday if you can and clean out the car. Just take all the trash outta the car. While the gas is pumping into your car, grab all the trash outta your car and throw it away at the gas station.
That way, you can just clean the car, have a clean slate at the beginning of the week. Think about how you feel when you get into a car that is like overrun with like, extra Starbucks cups and old like goldfish wrappers. And like, it just feels, overwhelming, right. It just feels different than when you step into a car that doesn't have any of that in it. That just has that clean slate.
You feel different. And anytime that we can create a situation where we. Feel good just by having the environment around us different. We wanna take advantage of that. And this is a really simple thing you can do because if you do it every Sunday, it won't take you very long and it will be a really easy habit to get into.
So every Sunday, I go to the gas station, I fill up the tank, and while it's filling up, I just get rid of any trash that's in the that's in the car. I also have a trash can in the car that hooks onto the passenger seat. And so, um, even if we don't have like a ton of trash out and about in the car, I empty that out. And that just helps also.
Okay, the next tip is to do a brain release. I prefer to do it every week, but honestly, like that preschool starting brain release is going to be so helpful and beneficial for you because we have to think about so many more things that we have to get done than any other time of the year.
All of the forms that we have to fill out, all of the appointments that we have to schedule, all of the places you have to be in the events, and everything happening. Just get it out on paper, and I'm not gonna go into too much detail on a brain release because if you go back and listen to episode number nine, I go over into like full detail on how to do a brain release. But I, but I just recommend that you do like a pre-back to school, brain release and your mind will thank you.
Okay, the last tip we're gonna get into today is one of my most important out of all three episodes. And this is the power of checklists. I have three different checklists that have become a crucial part of my just overall routine and home management throughout the entire year, but especially during the school year.
So the first one that we're gonna talk about is our do not forget checklist. So this checklist is one that goes right next to our front door. It is not like super pretty, it's not very aesthetic, but it results in a lot less forgotten items and a lot less for mom to bring forgotten items to school.
So on this list, it is. It just says school day, do not forget. And it has a list of things that we have to remember that they have to walk out the door with to go to school. So for us, it's backpack, lunchbox, snack, water bottle, and homework. And what this does is it just prevents forgetting things. So what we do is we go through all of everything, getting ready in the morning, we're ready to go. As we're about to open the door, to walk out the door, to drive to school, I stop, and I say backpack, and they both have to say, check. I say lunchbox. They both have to say, check. I say snack. You get the idea. We go through it. Right. Almost always, even with everything we have set into place, one of them on at least one item will be like, oh, I gotta get that, and they'll grab it. You know? So it just is one of those things where we, we have to remember these things, and we can find these little ways to remind ourselves without it adding a lot of chaos into our lives. So this Do not forget checklist is something that I recommend to everyone. I don't care how many days your kids go to school. You it's still helpful. There's still, every morning is going to be different. And it's something that's just really helpful.
The next one is the after-school checklist. So this checklist, each girl has their own checklist. It's laminated and put on a clipboard that has a pen attached to it, not a pen, a, uh, dry erase marker. And when they get home from school, this is literally the first thing they do when they walk into our house after school. They grab their clipboard. We walk in, I say, okay, do your checklist, please. And they grab their clipboard, and they do their checklist. So on the checklist, um, for us is to put their clothes in the laundry, to put their backpack on the hook, to put their sunglasses on the hook, to put their lunchbox on the counter. To put their water bottle on the counter and to take a shower or a bath. We after I don't, when did that start? It was after COVID began. Our pediatrician told us, like, I highly recommend that you just have them take a shower or a bath right after school versus bedtime to just wash like all the germs off of their bodies.
And so we just started doing that, and it's just become a habit now. Um, and actually, I honestly prefer it, uh, because, at bedtime, I feel like it's always a battle. And after school, I think it allows them to kind of just like decompress by doing that and that it just kind of like resets them and then moves them into the evening into that part of their day.
So with this clipboard checklist, they have their dry erase marker. And as they're doing these things, they just carry the clipboard around with them, and they check it off with their dry erase. And then when they're all done, they'll come and show me the checklist and, um, with miss eight, I don't really have to do anything at that point, but with miss five, I'll sometimes have to go through it, and I'll have to say, okay, you put the lunchbox on the counter.
Right. Um, because sometimes she has, she just gets excited. And so she starts checking things, but, um, Once that's done, then they erase the marks, and they hang it back up. And so we have, um, two little hooks by their bedrooms. Um, and that is where the after-school checklists live. That's also where their PM checklist lives that I'll go over in a minute.
Because miss five cannot read yet, I have little icons also. So like for the clothes in the laundry, there's like a little t-shirt. For the backpack on the hook, there's a backpack. Um, so it just kind of tells her what to do. And she knows that like if she sees a backpack, that means the backpack goes on the hook.
Then the last checklist is the evening checklist. So this is not like this isn't a bedtime routine, but this is something that has to be done before they go to bed. Um, so we typically start the evening checklist right after PM pickup. So PM we have dinner, and then PM pickup, and anyone who is home does PM pickup.
And then, as soon as PM pickup is done, they go and grab their clipboards to do their evening checklist. So on the evening checklist on my list, I have shoes on mat, which I talked about. I think in episode one where shoes have to go on their placemat by the front door the night before, that way, we're not worrying about lost shoes in the morning, then water bottle, that means they need to fill up their water bottle and put it on the mat. Sunglasses on the hook, they wear sunglasses every day, that's why they're, that's on these lists. Um, backpack prepped and on the hook. That means that, um, when I say backpack prepped, that means they have gone through their backpack, and they've given mom anything that they need to give mom.
Um, they've taken out any paperwork, and they put it into their paperwork bins. Um, and it's just, it's emptied out and ready to go. Um, that also means that they have a snack in their backpack for the next day. Then it is brush teeth, go potties, stuffies on bed, and water on table. Um, so this just walks them through everything that they need to do in the evening to get them ready for the morning.
So anytime I've talked about the checklist before, I always get asked if I can, uh, like make these available to you guys. And so Michelle on my team is amazing and has created checklists available to you. So the link will be in the show notes. And again, if you follow me on Instagram, cuz I know some of you don't know where show notes are.
Um, So, if you follow me on Instagram, they're gonna be in the link in my bio there also. But you can get these totally free, and you can print them out. She added some spots at the bottom that are just empty. Check boxes so that you can customize it a little bit and add things that are gonna be needed for you because every home is gonna be different.
And that's why I've hesitated in the past to provide these checklists because not everybody's routines are going to be the same, but this will give you a starting point. But I will say, I'm gonna add this disclaimer, do not like laminate them and get them all like perfect until you've tried 'em. Like, just try them for a couple of weeks and see, because you're likely going to need to change things, maybe move the order around a little bit, maybe add some things that you didn't think you needed to add. And so before you like go through all of the effort of having them laminated or anything like that, try it out for a few weeks. Just write it in pencil and then go from there to create like your final checklist that you're going to actually start using.
I hope that this whole series has been really helpful for you. One last thing I wanted to mention is that if you're following me on Instagram, I have a couple of highlights in my bio that I believe are called like lunch, school lunch, or lunch? Uh, lunch one and school lunch two, um, that have so many photos of school lunches that I have, uh, made in the past and taken pictures of just for ideas. If you are just like, uh, I don't know. Uh, you know, normally at the beginning of the school year, we have like so many ideas with lunch, and then after a few weeks, we feel like we're totally running out of ideas of what to pack for them. So those highlights are there for you. Totally free to just check out, see if it can help spark some ideas for school lunches for your kids.
Uh, and hopefully, hopefully, it'll help you. As always, please say hi to me on Instagram. I would love it. If you shared in your stories where you're listening to this episode and tag me because it's so fun for me to see, and be sure to enter the giveaway. Thanks for hanging out for this three-part series of back-to-school tips for busy moms.
Thanks for hanging out and listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories, and if you're on Instagram, be sure to follow me at the dot decluttered dot mom and send me a DM to say hi.
I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.