Back to school: Plan, plan, plan!

by Brittany Gilbert

In April, my family had a “Back to School” experience when I returned to teaching after 16 weeks on maternity leave. We had to adjust to alarm clocks, getting ready, packing lunches, taking kids to separate daycares and all of the surprises that could happen every morning.

I like my sleep and knew that I couldn’t make myself wake up extra early to get everything done, so we had to come up with a plan.

With school starting, I would like to share some tips with you.

Be organized.

Your “must-do” list is different than everyone else’s, so it doesn’t make much sense to do exactly what someone else is doing. Consider everything that you need to accomplish to have a successful day.

Plan ahead.

Prepare whatever you can the night before. Pick outfits and set them out. This also helps with saving time deciding on what to wear and changing your mind a million times.

Pack backpacks, diaper bags and work bags in advance and set them near the door. As a (former) high school teacher, I would advise my students to do this to avoid being rushed and to make sure they didn’t forget their homework.

Prepare meals in advance.

Pack lunch the night before and plan a quick and easy breakfast.

Also, consider make-ahead meals. There are different ways to go about this, but one is to pick a day of the week when you can devote a few hours and cook meals to freeze for the week. Some will do one week at a time and some will cook and freeze for an entire month.

Another option is to get the ingredients together the night before for a crock-pot meal, and in the morning all you have to do is put the ingredients in the crock pot and voila.

Know your route.

It’s best to have multiple routes in mind for getting the kids to school/daycare (if you’re driving them) and then also getting yourself to work from there. I’ve lived in Conway and worked in Maumelle for eight years, and every morning I would check the traffic to know which route I should take and if I had any cushion to stop for a treat. My husband was taking the kids to their separate daycares before heading to work, so he came up with a route that would work most efficiently. Some mornings he would have to adjust and swap out the order in which he would drop off the kids based on how late, early or on-time he was that morning.


Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].