5 sanity-saving secrets to balance school and fun this holiday season

5 sanity-saving secrets to balance school and fun this holiday season

(BPT) - Sure, you were on your game when school first started, getting everyone out the door on time and packing perfect lunches every day. But the kids have been...

(BPT) - Sure, you were on your game when school first started, getting everyone out the door on time and packing perfect lunches every day. But the kids have been back in school for a while now. The approaching holiday season can make it even more challenging to keep kids on track and school at the top of everyone's list of priorities.

Fortunately, some simple steps can help you restore order and make the rest of your school year run smoothly. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

* Take the hectic out of those hectic mornings. Let's be honest, the mornings are pure chaos. There's breakfast to prepare, school supplies to collect, outfits to pick out and holiday gift lists to plan. It's a whirlwind. However, you can return some sanity to your mornings by accomplishing some simple tasks the night before. Before they go to bed, have your children pick out their school outfit for the following day and pack their backpacks - this will reduce the risk of forgetting something.

* Make snacking simple. Snacking is a mainstay for families on the run. Whether it's an addition to a lunchbox, an option for an after school snack or something to eat at halftime, your kids' snacks need to be simple. Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps Minis are the perfect choice for kids on the move. Pair them with nuts, dried fruit and chocolate for a delicious snack mix, or serve them individually when you're on the go. Available in Original and Cheddar flavors, and at just 110 calories per serving, Pretzel Crisps Minis are a better option for your children than greasy potato chips.

* Create a homework station. As a parent, nothing is more frustrating than learning your children received a failing grade simply because they lost their assignment. Keep your home organized and your child's assignments accounted for by creating a designated homework area in your home. A space in your office, a desk in the kitchen or a spot at the dining room table works great. You can even add a calendar to help your students keep track of the due dates for larger projects - plus, they'll get an inspirational boost watching the days count down to winter break!

* Adjust the bathroom routine. Of all the routines that create morning chaos, the battle for the bathroom is king. Simply put, this space is a one-at-a-time area, and if you have more kids than bathrooms, tension will arise. You can circumvent this by putting some of your children - or even yourself - on the evening shift when it comes to showers. Small children or children who require less mirror time in the morning are the logical choice, but you may want to set up a rotating schedule to keep the peace.

* Have a plan. If you have multiple kids in multiple activities, it can be impossible to keep track of who needs to be where and when, so don't try. When your child joins a new activity, ask to see the schedule and instantly add the appropriate dates and times to your calendar. Don't rely on your kids to remember when they need to be somewhere; they won't remember until they are already 15 minutes late. You simply don't need the headache.

The holiday season is a far cry from those first organized days of the school year, but you don't have to let the crazy control your life. Institute these simple changes to maintain some order, and you'll come through the holidays with a smile on your face and your sanity intact.

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