The holidays are over, and it’s time to get back to reality. I’m sure for some of you, that’s probably a relief. Holidays are great fun, but it can be a bit of a juggle. And the kids going to bed a bit earlier would be nice!
Do you have kids starting (or returning) to kinder or daycare this year? These milestones are big and exciting for all involved, but when your kids absolutely have to be somewhere at a particular time according to a schedule, it can take a little practice to get the routine running like a well-oiled machine! I’ve been where you are, so I thought I’d share some great tips that will make your life a lot easier.
Dinner preparation is key
If you’ve experienced getting home with your bub right on their dinner time, you’ll know it’s not too pleasant! Overtiredness and ‘hanger’ is a lethal combination. Trying to rustle something up after a long day with a small person wailing at your feet isn’t an ideal start to mealtime.
If you can, get your groceries for the week on the weekend (I suggest getting them delivered; why drag the kids around the supermarket?!). Then, spend some of Sunday cooking and preparing meals for the week. Write the meal plan down and stick it on the fridge to remind you. It might feel like extra work, but once the weekday evenings roll around, you’ll be giving yourself a high five.
If you’re looking for some simple toddler-approved dinner ideas, check out my cookbook (order it here) for recipes like Fish Pie, Baby Stroganoff, Lasagne, Mac ‘n’ Cheese (loaded with hidden veg), and Chicken Fricassee.
The freezer is your friend
Whether you do big cook-ups on the weekend, or you make your meals separately once the kids are in bed during the week … make extra of EVERYTHING, and then pop the leftovers in the freezer. All you need to do is put it in the fridge before work to let it thaw. Microwave or heat it in a saucepan as soon as you get home, and dinner’s ready in a couple of minutes. Small portions in a food thermos are also a great sandwich alternative for lunch (and often more nutritious).
Here are some fabulous meals that freeze really well. Just portion them into toddler-sized containers (like these) and you have yummy ready-meals.
Don’t forget, you can freeze my Fresh Pots. Pop some into the freezer for those days when it doesn’t all go to plan.
Reinstate the Bedtime Routine
I often find that one of the first things to go out the window during holidays is the bedtime routine. At first, it’s just skipping the bath once in a while, and letting bedtime slip back 10 or 15 mins, but before you know it, your evenings resemble some of the more chaotic scenes from Lord of the Flies and you’re ok with not bathing the kids because they’ve been in the wading pool all day (hey, they got wet, right?).
Obviously the best way get back into the bedtime routine is to not get out of it in the first place, but there you go. Sometimes even I needed a break from the monotony of dinner-bath-book-bottle-bed! However, it does serve a purpose. So get back into the bedtime routine asap!!!
Get ready the night before
I get it, you just want to collapse into bed at night, but taking a few minutes to prepare will make a massive difference to how smoothly your morning goes. I promise you!
Get yours and your child’s clothes ready, including putting shoes by the door. Pack their bags if they go elsewhere for childcare, and prepare your own bag. Fill their water bottle, make any snacks they need (or just pack some Food Babies Love Real Snacks), and restock the nappy bag.
Then, and only then, can you sit down and spend a couple of blissful hours trawling Instagram and Facebook when you really know you should be getting some sleep. Just be sure to visit our pages.