While the word “unprecedented” has pretty much lost all meaning for us, it’s true: We’ve never experienced a fall like this. But that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the new season, especially when what we need now more than ever is a sense of comfort and tradition. Doesn’t donning a cozy flannel and taking a car ride to see colorful leaves sound like a (socially distanced) dream come true right about now? Here, six moms reveal how they’re helping their families safely adapt to a new season, while keeping things lighthearted, festive and fun.
6 Moms on How They Plan to Ease Their Families Into a New Fall Routine
1. Let Go...but Embrace Organizational Tools
“Patience, understanding and deep breaths!” That’s mother of four April Wagner’s advice for the new season during a year unlike any other. “Hiding in my closet to eat chocolate also seems to help!” (TBH, that’s the advice we really needed today.) Wagner said she’s learned to stay hyper-organized during the chaos of homeschooling. “Since the kids are in distance learning and there are a total of 22 Zoom meetings a day between all four kids, I bought a magnetic white board for the fridge to help me remember. I also use sticky notes with all the logins required to do their online schoolwork. Once schoolwork is done, we do ‘Mama PE’ in the backyard with music.”
To keep motivated, Wagner looks forward to getting out of the house and cozying up in Old Navy kids' jackets and sweatshirts, since their selection is unparalleled. “We are excited to go camping in the RV as well as celebrating the Holidays (even if that may look a little different from years past). I plan to go over-the-top decorating this year.”
2. Maintain A Morning Routine
Fashion mom Tammy Leopaldi says her number one piece of advice for fall is simple (but something we all need to hear): “Wake up and get ready every single day.” While it can be tempting to let the kiddos (and yourself) stay in pajamas during remote learning, she said it’s important to wear something that makes you feel good. “Whether it's a cozy sweatshirt, a new flannel top or a cool pair of mom jeans.” She opts for Old Navy denim, since there are “so many styles to choose from and so appreciate that they come in lengths. Every denim trend is available and their fit is always spot on!”
3. Stay Mindful
According to Aly Gandarilla, mom of two, the best way to navigate this new and unexpected fall season is to get back to basics and savor time spent together. “Focus on family time and making memories. It can be as simple as camping out in your backyard or baking a new recipe together. It doesn't have to be complicated and kids love little moments like this.”
To encourage her family to wear masks, Enwright’s tip is to make mask-wearing fun, but also educational. “The girls know that wearing a mask keeps us safe and we hang them up by the door as a reminder to grab a mask on our way out. She says buying fun colors and prints, like Old Navy’s animal masks, is also a fun way for her kids to accessorize and match their outfits.
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4. Let Flexibility Reign
For preschooler mom and author Katie Willcox, the best advice she can give is to “just roll with it,” especially when it’s her daughter’s favorite time of year. “She loves pumpkins, Halloween and all things fall. It might not be business as usual, but that doesn't mean it still can't be fun!” Case in point: A Halloween-themed birthday party...in September. “She told my husband and I we are going as PJ Masks [a preschool show’s animated character] together... so that should be interesting.”
Willcox admits, though, that her daughter, who is going to in-person classes at school, has a difficult time with masks. That is, until they discovered the critter masks for kids at Old Navy. “One day she is a bunny, the next a dinosaur, and then a pig! She loves the animals and we heard back from her teacher that she has been keeping her mask on all day at school. The more fun we can make it seem the longer they will wear them,” Willcox says.
5. Creating Healthy Habits
Shiela Roldan, mama of three, knows it’s important to teach her kids about health and safety, especially this year. “We have always been pretty careful about the germs we bring into our house. We keep all laundry from outside from touching anything in our home. We also do not wear any shoes inside. We wash our hands upon entering… Overall, we are trying to be very cautious and more mindful about our actions.” To encourage mask-wearing, the mom of three lets her kids pick out their own masks.
That being said, Roldan and her crew are most excited for the fall holidays. “Carving pumpkins, Thanksgiving with family and celebrating birthdays! All three kids and myself have fall birthdays, so it’s an exciting season for us every year.” Her go-to autumn items? Jeans from Old Navy that they can wear for every occasion, since they have a wide enough selection for the whole family.
6. Keeping Outdoor Traditions Intact
For Houston Blogger Erika Ortega, the new season is all about tradition. “We are big on fall. Pumpkin patches have been a tradition for us since we had our firstborn ten years ago, and it hasn’t changed since then. My kids can’t stop talking about Halloween, and I have finally convinced everyone to do a family theme costume this year,” Ortega says, who reveals that they'll be dressing up in Marvel's Avengers costumes. "We are all so excited about that!"
She’s also looking forward to wearing fall clothing and dressing up as a family. “We gravitate toward soft neutrals. I can’t wait to shop for fall boots for my daughter and myself. I shop every year at Old Navy for our boots—we pretty much have a collection of every color already! I wish it acceptable to wear boots all year long.”