How I’m Simplifying Our Back To School Routine

This post is sponsored by Danimals but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I love the changing of seasons. I’ve shared this before, haven’t I?

Well, it’s true. I love when I turn the calendar and I know summer has arrived. All the adventures it will bring. Lazy days. Warm nights. Lots of s’mores :) Summer is grand.

But then, right when I’m feeling a little overheated, school supplies land in the stores and I get jazzed for the fall. All the fun of back to school – freshly sharpened pencils, new books, packing lunches. Not to mention my favorite coffee flavor of the year and my birthday! Fall is definitely my favorite. That is until I’m ready to trade crunchy leaves for a dusting of snow …

Truly, each season yields such amazing things and experiences.

At present though, it’s full steam ahead with back to school. And I’m here for it! Bring on the school year!

Now, I totally get why back to school can become overwhelming. Multiple supply lists, transitioning into a set bedtime routine once again, the extra expense of new clothes etc. etc. But, as I acquire more grays (wisdom?), I’m learning that with most things I get to choose what rocks my boat, and back to school tasks don’t need to be a source of stress. In fact, I can plan a more simplified version of this season. I can do less and my kids will totally survive … probably thrive!

Today I thought I’d share three specific things I’m doing to simplify our back to school routine. I’d love to hear your ideas too! Sometimes – often – less is more … don’t you agree?

Three Shoes and Done

Do your kids grow fast? Because mine sure do! I recently assessed their closets and found that I had way overbought, especially when it came to shoes. They had grown out of so many, some of which hardly got worn, leaving me back at square one for fall footwear.

So, my new rule is three shoes – tennies, rain boots (we’re PNW folk and these are a must!), and a pair of “style shoes”. For Max that’s another pair of tennis shoes, but a hip, high-top variety. For Jem, a pair of metallic ballet flats so they can match pretty much anything from jeans to dresses. Done and done.

Nutritious, Basic Lunches

I get it, I totally get swept up in all the pretty back to school lunch options too. But, realistically, my kids actually enjoy having many of the same things over and over for lunch. They don’t need a ton of variety, just filling, nutritious options. I can do this!

For their midday meal I focus on protein and fruit. I’d say veggies, but my kids aren’t fans so we practice those thank you bites at home. Danimals Smoothies and Squeezables have become one of our lunch time favorites since they are delicious, nutritious, and fun for on the go. Honestly, if I was a kid I couldn’t think of something I’d want more than a fruity Smoothie or Squeezable! All of my kids are big fans of the Strawberry Explosion and Swingin’ Strawberry Banana flavors from Danimals. Plus, if you freeze the Squeezable, it acts like an ice pack! Brilliance!

Supplement with cheese, crackers, nuts, fresh fruit, a protein-packed granola bar of some kind, and lunch meat like turkey roll ups or salami and ta da … lunch is served!

Be OK With Doing Less

Football and ballet, garden club and Spanish … alone these are all wonderful extracurriculars. But, are they necessary? Especially with younger kids who aren’t yet building their college resumes?

Kids need down time. Hours to just play and imagine and explore. If every evening is packed with structured learning, how will they get the opportunity for the learning that comes from just being?

It’s OK to say no. To not stretch your budget doing “all the things”. To, instead, have time for family walks and laundry folding parties, puzzles on the patio and evening read aloud before lights out. Tell yourself – AND BELIEVE IT – that doing less is OK.

Alrighty, that’s the start of my simplified school year. I’ve got some other ideas mulling around in my mind like some kind of bedtime checklist, but that idea is still ruminating. How are your simplifying your back to school routine?

P.S. If you think your kids would love Danimals in their lunches this year, you can find them at many Walmarts and other grocery stores. I recently saw some varieties at Grocery Outlet too!

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