Back to School Routines to Help Kids Ease Back Into the School Year
Summer is over. It’s back to school for kids and also back to school for Moms (with all the changes a new school year brings to your daily routine). If you are asking yourself, how do you transition your kids back into the school year routine, you can find those answers here!
How to Get Back Into the School Routine for Kids and Moms
For starters, don’t forget that every year is different. While some things may stay the same, every new year brings another year of growth and the start of the school year is the perfect time to see what may have changed in terms of your kids ability to do things for themselves.
For example, in the morning, do your kids need you to help them get ready or are they at a mostly self-sufficient age? How much can you have ready the night before and are there things you can automate to save you time?
Also, please give all of you some grace as you get back to daily routine. It can be hard to return back to routine life after the fun we all had over the summer. And it is especially hard transitioning back to school after covid-19 and the impact it has had on our lives for the last several years.
Basic Back To School Routine Ideas to Make Life Easier for Your Kids (and You)
Getting Dressed for School
When your kids are first starting school, it makes sense to help them have their wardrobe laid out the night before. Having the clothes ready to go for the entire week is a really good idea too.
By doing this, you already know you have everything washed and ready to go. You can even use the organizers that let you put the clothes in the spot for each day or use hangers for each day – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Daily Activity Kids Closet Organizer –11” X 11” X 48”- Prepare and Organize a Week’s Worth of Your Children’s Clothing, Shoes and After School Activities. Hangs Directly on The Closet Rod.
It is very helpful to have everything up to and including underwear, socks, shoes, accessories, all laid out and ready to go. This way, your child can also dress themselves based on what is the outfit for that day. This can save so much time and many arguments too.
Getting Ready for School
Once your child is dressed, they still need to eat breakfast, comb or brush their hair, and brush their teeth before heading out the door for the day. They also need to make sure they have everything they will need for the day.
A Smart Morning Routine for Your House
School Routine Morning Schedule Idea
- Wake up at a set time
- Get dressed
- Get ready for the day
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Lunches packed (if they didn’t get done the night before and they aren’t eating the schools lunch)
- Make sure you have everything you need for school – backpack, laptop, water bottle, lunch box, after school activity stuff (if needed)
- Give yourself adequate time to get to the bus stop or drive to school so you don’t feel too rushed
Here are some good questions to ask your kids before they head out the door for school:
- Do they need money for anything?
- Do they have everything they need for during the day – any books, notebooks, notes, etc. that need to be in the backpack?
- What about a water bottle and is their lunch packed adequately if they don’t eat the school’s lunch. (And by adequate, did they pack it themselves and only pack candy? True story, I once worked at a school where a child brought in nothing but candy to eat one day.)
- Is their laptop charged for the day? Since so much of school is done on laptops, they can get in trouble if they are not charged and ready to go.
- Do they know where/when they are being picked up and by who (if they aren’t riding the bus)?
After School Time Routine Ideas
After school is over, it helps to give your kids some free time to do what they want. It is up to you and your child – if they would prefer to have that free time right after school and then tackle homework (or the other way around) and do their homework and then have free time.
Every child is different and every one has their own productive rhythym to the day. Some kids really need that mental health break of doing nothing for a bit – to decompress and relax. Others would rather get their homework over with and then know they have the rest of the time free.
If your child is in after school activities, they may not have this option. The after school activity – is in essence – their break from school. Hopefully, it includes some time with friends or exercising, or some other healthy way of decompressing from the school day.
After School Routine for Kids
- Free time
- Extra Curricular Activities – sports, dance, band, friends, etc.
*Here is a tip for Mom or Dad. Putting your dinner routine on auto pilot so you don’t to spend a lot of time wondering what to have for dinner or running out to get stuff for dinner is another way to find time at the end of the day. If you want to try meal planning, but have no idea where to begin, see the articles – “How Do I Meal Plan and Why Do I Do It” and “Easy Meals – Make Life Easier“.
If you pick your kids up after school and have to wait in the car line, can you find something to do with that pocket of time that fulfills you? Maybe you can pick up a book or a magazine you want to read or work on one of your hobbies. (Looking for a new hobby? Check out “Bored? How to Find Your Next Great Hobby“.
While it is easy to sit and veg out with social media, it doesn’t necessarily make you feel any better about yourself or your fellow man at the end of it. Whereas reading a self-help book or listening to an educational podcast might. Just as you have a bag of things for your kids to do, create a “to-go bag” filled with things you love as well.
Evening Routine for a School Night
- Clothes picked out and laid out ready to go
- Backpack packed, laptop charged
- Lunches packed – if you do this the night before (makes life easier)
- Teeth Brushed
- Reading/Bed time
- No electronics after a certain time
The hardest part of the adjustment for back to school is getting the kids (and you) used to a regular bedtime again. If you were lax over the summer (and who isn’t?), bedtimes of a set time sort of go out the window. The older your kids are, the more this is true.
Now with school back in session, you have to get back into a nightly routine for school, which can be difficult. Start by aiming for a certain bedtime each night, say 9 p.m.
Back into that time with what needs to happen prior to that (all of the above basically). You can help them by giving them reminders to get certain tasks done by a set time to ensure they are getting to bed earlier.
Beyond that, it may take a few nights before they are (a) so tired from school and getting up earlier, they naturally fall back into going to sleep earlier or (b) you just have to put your foot down and say you are going to bed now. Or both – may happen. Eventually though, you all will get back into a set schedule again. You jut might need a little extra coffee for a while.
Back to School Routine Tips for Parents
Back to school for Moms means it is time to create your own to-go bag for carpool lines, after school activities, doctor visits, etc. Fill your to-go bag with whatever you enjoy doing, some healthy snacks, and have a list of podcasts for your phone. (If you need a list of good parenting podcasts, here is one “10 of Our Favorite Parenting Podcasts” by Sheknows.com.)
You can have your kids work on homework while you work on your other jobs, or engage in some time for a walk, etc. And if you have carpool again for extracurricular activities the kids have, you can bring your “to-go” bag here too.
Back to school is the perfect time to reevaluate not just your kids school schedule, but your family’s schedule and yours as well. Every year your child (or children) are in school, there is a different rhythm to your days.
Preschool, elementary, middle and high school routines all have different demands on your time (and theirs). So before returning to business as usual, be proactive and look for new pockets of “found” time for you as you evaluate the following parts of your schedules.
Are there any pockets of time in the morning before the kids wake up? What habits do you have that are counter productive? (Any one else check Facebook first thing in the morning, get sucked in, and regret the time lost after?) Keep an idea on your schedules over the first few weeks after a transition like summer break or Christmas break and see what has changed.
How to Manage All the Activities and Make Sure Everyone is Where They Need to Be
Having some systems in place to keep track of all the different activities between your family members will be invaluable as you go about your year. When your kids are smaller, having a visual calendar is a great idea and to have it somewhere central as well. When your kids get older, you can all share a Google calendar or something similar to keep on the same page with all of the meets, homework assignments, doctor appointments, football games, etc.
Household management systems will also help you to stay on top of everything else that is going on or needs done around your house as well. For more information on how to have a great home management system, see “Easy Ways of Household Management for Moms”.
With the changes a new school year inevitably brings to your family, ask yourself if anything needs to change for you this year. In particular, is there a way for you to add in some ‘me time” as you get the kids off to school for another year?
Tips for Handling the Longer School Breaks of Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break and Summer Break
The time flies when your kids are in school, so planning ahead with fun things you can do with them to make the most of the longer breaks is time well spent. While you are planning your time, go ahead and schedule some time for you as well.
The idea is to weave pockets of time wherever you can until it becomes second nature to you. One resource for you when planning the longer breaks, “Summer Activities for Kids that Keep Mom Sane” helps you create a plan you can all live with.
Last Thoughts on Back to School Routines
Whatever you do, give yourself some grace as you start the new year. Parenting can be hard work and planning some breaks for you “Back to School Moms” can be the ticket to giving you the patience you need in the days ahead. Hopefully, these back to school routines and procedures gave you some ideas to include in your back to school plan.
Back to School Routine Checklist
Grab your back to school routine checklist here and use it to help get your kids back into the routine for school.
What are your best tips for back to school routines for parents? Please leave a comment below.
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