Just last week we caught up with one of our September issue's organizing experts, Target Partner Camila Alves, who's in the process of getting Levi, 7, Vida, 5, and Livingston, 2, ready for their school-year routines. For smooth sailing in the morning, follow Camila's lead with these tips.
1. Pack tomorrow's lunch while cooking tonight's supper. "To make the process as easy as possible, I've started getting my kids' lunch boxes ready while I'm making dinner," says Camila. "It's easy to cut up some vegetables and fruit if I'm already prepping things in the kitchen, and I get the kids to help me. We leave the bags unzipped in the fridge overnight, so all we have to do is pull them out and add a few extras from the pantry in the morning."
2. For tween girls, outfit planning before bedtime is a must. "The key here is getting girls to lay out their picks on the opposite side of the room from the closet so they don't see all the other cute options in the morning," says Camila. "Explain the rules. I tell my daughter, 'Once you've selected something, you're not changing your mind tomorrow.' "
3. Keep breakfast simple. Eggs are king in the Alves-McConaughey household and for good reason: They pack lots of satiating protein, are quick and easy to make, and can be served up a bunch of ways so no one gets bored. The kids like egg-in-the-hole style toast, but Camila also makes scrambled eggs with avocado, bacon and other sides.
4. Shop with your kids and set a budget. "It's important that my kids understand they can't have everything they want for back to school, so I give them budgets," says Camila. "That way they can think strategically. If my daughter, who loves sparkly and shiny things, wants some fun hair acessories, then I tell her she's going to have to cut back elsewhere for those extras."
Here's what's on Camila and her kids' shopping list:
"I love that these cool backpacks light up on the straps, but you can control it with a button," says Camila. "That way the lights aren't a constant distraction at school for kids and the teacher." Circo Youth Better Light Up Backpacks, $25 each
"My daughter's going to go crazy for this locker disco ball," says Camila. Locker Disco Ball, $15