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If you’re trying to discover ways to be more productive before school starts, we have some hacks for you.

We talked to Jesse McCarthy, an expert in child development and parent guidance, and Barbara Harvey, executive director of Parents, Teachers and Advocates, Inc., to give you 10 hacks to stay more productive this year to have more time to kick back and relax.

Adopt a Regular Schedule

Having a regular schedule can make a whole world of difference.

McCarthy recommends setting a consistent schedule for your child. Get in the routine of having the same pick-up time from school, dinnertime, bedtime, etc.

“Good schedules are actually freeing, as they mean no energy has to be wasted wondering about uncertainties throughout the day,” says McCarthy.

Involve Your Child in Decision-Making

Having your child be involved in more family decision-making will close the door on fights between you and your child. McCarthy recommends this so your child is capable of contributing to family decisions.

“As the late psychologist Dr. Haim Ginott said, ‘Give children a choice and a voice in matters that affect their lives. Children are dependent on their parents, and dependency breeds hostility. To reduce enmity, a parent provides children with opportunities to experience independence. The more autonomy, the less enmity; the more self-dependence, the less resentment of the parent,’” says McCarthy.

Choose Outfits the Night Before

It’s useful to prepare your outfit the night before so you have one less thing to worry about in the morning. Choosing an outfit to wear can take up some precious morning time!

“Guard against the drama of hectic mornings by getting a part of your routine out of the way the night before,” says McCarthy. “Your child will most likely come to mirror your ways when he/she sees the positive results.”

Have a Consistent End of the School Day Schedule

By getting into a routine at the end of the day, you’ll have a definite and consistent work-school day.

“When your mind knows work is off the table, you’re free to think about – to fully experience and enjoy — all the nonwork-related aspects of life, like your child, your spouse, your dog … all that good stuff!” says McCarthy.

Create a Designated Homework Area

Creating a homework area can help your children get in a consistent routine.

Harvey recommends setting up a time for homework as well. But for the nights your children don’t have homework, you could still set up a rule for educational time to be done instead. That way, the time isn’t wasted.

Reach Out to Teachers

Discover the best contact information of your children’s teachers and get in touch with them before school starts. That way, you’ll avoid playing catch-up later on.

“Contact them monthly to stay on top of your children’s schooling,” says Harvey.

In addition to reaching out to your children’s mentors, you could also provide them with your contact information. That way, your children’s teacher, principal, counselor, nurse and others will know how to contact you.

Plan Lunches Ahead of Time

Instead of waiting until the last minute to make lunch, Harvey says it’s efficient to plan lunches with your kids ahead of time.

And as an extra meal prep tip – make lunches on the weekend to save time during your busy workweek.

Stay Organized with a Calendar

Look at the school calendar and put all-important dates on your own calendar so you know what’s happening ahead of time versus the week prior.

“This especially applies to parent-teacher conferences,” says Harvey. “Talk with your supervisor about taking time off for these dates.”

Research What Your Child will be Learning

“Take a look at your state’s educational website to see what your child should be learning this school year and check out books, DVDs, online videos, etc. to support learning,” says Harvey.

Researching what your child will be learning will put you more in the know of their education.

Limit Extracurricular Activities

To avoid overwhelming your children, Harvey claims that it’s key to limit the number of extracurricular activities to one per child.

“Children get stressed out with too much on their plate,” says Harvey.

“Productivity has a lot to do with environment and mindset, and there are a few ‘hacks’ parents can thoughtfully utilize to becoming more productive — for their child’s and their own sake,” says McCarthy.

Do you have any productivity or money-saving hacks? Share in the comments!

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