Time Saving Tips for a Busy Morning Routine

Time Saving Tips for a Busy Morning Routine

This is a sponsored post. As always all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

With a new school year in full swing, parents are scrambling to get organized with school clothes, supplies, and gear. Luckily I’m a bit of a planner and started collecting all summer long. It saves me the last-minute drama and some very long lines. I’m focusing my energy on preparing easy early morning routines that will help get everyone off to school both happy and healthy.

There is nothing worse than rushing, not eating well, or showing up to school tired each morning. Studies show this kind of morning ritual takes its toll on a developing brain and can set kids up for some pretty big disappointment grade-wise. I’m focusing my energy on creating “pockets of success” throughout our home that can shave on time, but not on quality of life.

Saving Time

The most sage advice I’ve ever been given as a parent is, “treat the need, not the behavior.” So I walked throughout my house looking for areas of concern that could potentially cause a hiccup in our morning routine. Backpacks thrown on the front bench, sneakers in the kids closet all the way upstairs, or hair brushes and toothbrushes in different locations.

Busy Morning Rituals

In order to create a flow for our morning ritual, I added extra hooks by the front door at a child’s height. They can grab this on the way out the front door with no time wasted, they can also drop it off first thing as soon as they come home from school, eliminating clutter.

I added baskets under the front entry bench area for only their shoes, and a basket on the stairs for their slippers. This way they can throw on shoes quickly just before leaving, and drop off their slippers in the basket and avoid a mess. Again, once they return home they can hand off and get ready to be in “house-mode” again.

I created space on the kitchen counter where they can pick up their lunch boxes and drop off once they get home. This all allows for a smooth transition both in and out of our home each day.

Busy Morning Routine

Bathroom Hygiene

Let’s face it, having two boys a year apart can lead to some pretty sticky situations at home. Their aim isn’t always at it’s best, and if the toothbrush isn’t readily available they may very well skip brushing altogether. My job in this arena was to make a no-fail system for bathroom success each morning.

I created a basket with all of their needs on top of the counter so it was easy accessible, and had everything they needed to leave to school fresh and clean. In the basket I include their toothbrushes and toothpaste (duh), but also, their hairbrush, wash cloths for their hands or face, floss, etc.. I’ve included sanitizing wipes by the toilet (for any mishaps), and my new-found savior the Fresh Wave Pods that keep the boys on time and fresh, but keep me sane. Things can get pretty stinky with two boys sharing one bathroom, Fresh Wave Scent Pods allow for easy refills, and it keeps the bathrooms smelling fresh all day long! There were days where I couldn’t walk by that bathroom without cringing, now we all have a solution we can easily manage.

Busy Morning Routine

Food Matters

The days of kids eating a donut or a toaster strudel on the way out the door are over. We know so much more as parents these days, it’s hard to ignore. Breakfast is indeed one of the most important meals of the day. Our bodies run on fuel, the type of fuel we give our kids each morning determines what kind of response their body will give them while in class. Healthy whole foods are key to keeping kids interested in learning, high-sugar cereals, donuts, or packaged muffins will set them up for a guaranteed crash.

The message we send to our children about how they should care for their bodies starts at home. I started collecting different cookbooks with quick and healthy breakfast options early on this summer to make sure I would have enough skills in my foodie toolbox to get both kids off to a healthy start this year.

Welcome back to another fun school year, I can’t wait to make it a great one!

Essentially yours,

Erika

Including Outdoor Play On Busy School Days

Including Outdoor Play On Busy School Days

Thank you CLIF Kid for sponsoring this post. Be sure to check out the new CLIF Kid Zbar Filled and encourage your kids to get outside and play!

School is officially back in session, and with it comes hectic schedules and long days. With both kids in school this year we are adamant on making sure they get enough unstructured outdoor play. We are advocates for free play and understand the importance of children getting ample time outdoors. There is plenty of research linking childhood obesity, depression, and lack of motor sensory skills, are attributed to the lack of unstructured outdoor play.

While an education includes the core subjects, there is much to be learned on the playground. Kids can take away conflict resolution skills, risk versus reward, and effective communication. These are all important skills that need to be included as part of a child’s development. Since the reduction of recess time in school’s across the nation, we have seen an increase in child social deficiencies and anxiety. Social skill will serve our children well into their future, and the future of our nation. It has been estimated that children need a good three hours of outdoor play per day. This can seem impossible for families to achieve this with such tight school and activity schedules. So here are a few tips..

Not All Play is Planned

CLIF Bar

The opportunity to truly “play” may strike on a moments notice. You may run into a friend while grocery shopping and wind up on a full play date before you know what hit you. In order to discourage turning down these spontaneous (and usually memorable) opportunities, it’s important to set yourself up for success. One of the ways we ensure we embrace each moment is by carrying supplies in our trunk. There is always a change of play clothes, shoes, socks available in a container.  That way if we are out and about in school, church, or whatever fancy clothes you may own; we don’t have to turn down a good play sesh. I also keep fresh and fun snacks on hand all the time so I’m not worried about getting stranded with hungry kids. The CLIF Kid Zbar is a delicious soft baked snack bar my boys enjoy, and I’m on board with their organic creamy nut butter as a source of protein. My boys love the Zbar’s and often look forward to play dates so they can share their favorite flavors. They come in Double Peanut Butter, Apple Almond Butter, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. All flavors are full of nutritious ingredients like oats and nut butters, certified USDA organic and non-GMO, and free from ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. These are a snack kids are excited about and parents are happy about.

CLIF Bar

CLIF Bar

CLIF Kid

Recognize an Opportunity

Life is busy, and hectic. Schedules can be maddening, and often back us into rigid little corners with zero room for breathing or taking it easy. Not all play is obvious, sometimes it comes in a messy and inconvenient little package. The magic that unfolds once you can let go and understand what is truly happening beneath the surface (imagination, personal assertion, finding one’s own voice, problem solving), it’s hard to turn your back on this good stuff. It’s what life is made of. You only get one childhood. Think about the memories that stick out most to you. I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve a television or video game. It happened outside, on a playground, dancing in the rain, building mud pies.

CLIF Bar

 

Use What You’ve Got

We don’t all have a ton of time to search for the most insanely perfect excursions. Most folks are lucky to squeeze in a park play date after school and before dinner. Locating all of the best natural parks in your area and surrounding school, will help you fit in on your way home, near your church, or around your job. If the park isn’t an option you can scour local museums, gardens, or hiking trails. Hiking, biking, or taking a simple walk together are all great ways to get your fix of mother nature. Simple is best with kids, once we complicate matters it reduces the chances of it happening more frequently. Another option is to gather a group of moms as passionate about play as you are and take turns watching the kids at the park. This way everyone gets what they need. Creating a potluck group of friends to meet at the park  or beach for dinner is a wonderful way to encourage outdoor time.

CLIF Bar

CLIF Bar

Play is a child’s way of working out the stresses of every day life. If we rob our children of this inherent right, what sort of adults are we creating? If kids have no way to work out what they are experiencing what’s going on inside, what are we really showing them?

“It is easier to repair a child, than it is to repair an adult.”       – Frederick Douglass

CLIF Bar

Essentially yours,

Erika

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

2017 Back To School Top Picks

2017 Back To School Top Picks

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received compensation for providing my honest review of products. As always all opinions expressed here are 100% my own. There are affiliate links within this post that will support essentiallyerika.com.

The boys are growing by the day and the time has come when they are really expressing their own personal style. Shopping for Back To School this year has been a great preview of how their styles and preferences differ. One thing that has remained the same is our goal while shopping for Back To School and for anything really. It’s important to us to be conscious buyers, to give back when / where we can, and to always encourage the boys to express their individual sense of style.

Skechers

Skechers

So I’m sharing this year’s top picks for Back To School shopping!

Tried and True

We will officially have two kids in school this year. As a stay at home mom all these years, it’s quite literally the end of an era. We had such a great experience with my eldest sons PlanetBox lunchbox I knew just where to go when it was time for the little guy to step up his lunch game. Packing lunch for two with very separate palette’s can be a bit tricky. But with PlanetBox’s compartmentalized stainless steel Rover Box and it’s cold/hot accessory containers, creating a fun “invitation to eat” is a snap! I love what the company stands for and the quality stainless steel will last them until high school! Every lunch is fun in a PlanetBox lunchbox with its customizable magnets and carrying case. While E settled on rocket ships, my little guy is obsessed with robots.

Kids Lunch Box Ideas

Oh Em – Emoji’s

Skechers

With the release of the new Emoji Movie, it seems Emoji’s are all the rage. My boys don’t even have to have a cell phone to know that. Skechers has a new line of high-top Emoji sneakers that help each kid express their own personal style. My little guy is a pizza lover (he’d give those ninja turtles a run for their money), so it was a no-brainer that he would gravitate towards the fun high-tops in red with the food emoji’s everywhere. My oldest is currently in what I call the “poop stage.” He’s been toilet trained for quite some years, but in true male fashion he is obsessed with all things poop-related. I read somewhere that is some sort of milestone where boys are quite literally just understanding the body’s intended functions. Every conversation eventually winds up in the toilet (pun intended). So I knew he would just die for the poop emoji sneakers that only a true poop lover could appreciate (mom cringe). I’m certain it will be the topic of conversation, and at least we can lean on the fact that the sneakers brought it up, right???

Skechers

While some schools offer the option to donate towards class supplies instead of purchasing them, there are still quite a few items on the school list that needs to be provided when kids start school. Here is a list of a few items that were on our list, and where you can find them.

A/V headphones

Nap Mat

Backpack

Here’s to a great school year!

Essentially yours,

Erika

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