Thursday, September 4, 2014

Improving Our Back-to-School Routine

Back-to-school brings with it so many emotions, both for kids and for Mom and Dad. Nervousness, excitement, happiness - it's all there. This special time also calls for a significant change in routine. Gone are the more leisurely days of summer - the late mornings, the increased TV watching, the trips to the beach.

As I sent the kids off to school for their first day on Tuesday, I was hopeful that they would have good friends in their classes, be assigned to helpful and kind teachers and just generally enjoy their educational experiences. Of course, I was also hopeful they would get up and get ready in time! Here they are freshly scrubbed, with teeth brushed, ready for school on time. The little gal in her new dress and sneakers with her hair neatly in a bun. Morning of day one was a success. We shall see from now on...

Improving Our Daily Routine

Every fall I think about ways to fine-tune our daily after-school routine so that the kids not only have time to do homework, but also enjoy healthy meals and snacks and relax and unwind from a busy school day. For one thing, it always helps to have groceries, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, in the house. The kids usually arrive home starving, and if there are platters of fruits and veggies at the ready, they will grab them.

As they get older, I am conscious of giving them more say in their routines. I find allowing them choices makes for less rebellion. (Took me a while to figure this out!) My daughter, for example, has decided she wants to finish her homework right when she gets home from school to get it out of the way. My son, on the other hand, wants a bit of time to relax before he does schoolwork. While his iPad tends to be his go-to device for chill time, we encourage him to balance it out with other options too.

Learning While Chilaxing

One option that pleases both him and his parents is Sphero, a teachable robot/ball that is app-controlled. What's great from a parent's perspective is that Sphero is an educational tool - an introduction to coding. By fusing technology with robotics, Sphero toys hope to inspire tomorrow's inventors and innovators. From a kid's perspective, they're just really cool.

Sphero has created the SPRK program - lessons that teach kids the concepts of programming, robotics and math. Free, downloadable SPRK lessons give kids an entertaining crash course in programming while sharpening their skills in math and science. Watch videos of Sphero in action to see how much fun it is.

Organizing Our Photo Memories

Capturing those back-to-school memories "on film" is essential. The first-day-of-school photo is a tradition in our house. But, if you're like me, you already have hundreds of photos to organize and, ideally, share with family members. One of my goals for this fall is to organize some of our precious photo memories.

It's a job that can be helped along nicely by LyveHome. This innovative device collects all of the photos that live on your various devices and puts them all into one handy spot.  Photos are stored safely in the LyveHome in an organized fashion, making it simple to access photos from any device. Watch this video for a better understanding of this handy product that's sure to make life a little bit easier.

The PTPA Back-to-School Guide

There are lots of great tips about building better morning routines and ensuring your kids get good nutrition in PTPA's Back-to-School Guide. Follow the discussion at #PTPABTS.

Enter to Win Amazing Prizes!

PTPA is giving away a grand prize of a $300 Visa gift card, as well as amazing prizes from sponsor brands Lyve Minds, Sphero and Rich Products.

PTPA Back to School Contest!

Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Back to School Brand Ambassador Program with Sphero and Lyve. I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.


  1. They look so sweet and grown up, hope they're having a good start to the year!

    1. They seem to be doing okay so far. Let's hope their enthusiasm continues. :) Thanks!