Let’s Face it, it creeps up on us every year, going back to School and the reboot of the dreaded School Routine that you need to have down pat so you do not lose your mind.
With these simple tips. And making several small but powerful changes to your family’s daily routine, it will make going back to school a much smoother transition. Not just for your kids, but for you too.
A school routine is more than just a plan for lunch, clothes, and school supplies. A good school routine encompasses your and your child’s entire day, from start to finish. Not only can it save you time and money, but it is pretty likely to save your sanity.
Bed Time Adjustment
Some links in this post are affiliate links. They are recommendations for products that I love and use. I may make a small commission on these items if you click the link and buy, but the price does not change for you.
The biggest tip for starting school the right way is getting back to an earlier bedtime. Sleep is key to getting off on the right foot. No matter the age of your child, they probably need more sleep than you think.
- School-age kids need between 9 – 11 hours
- teenagers need 8 to 10 hours
- preschool kids need even more than that, 10 – 13 hours, but they often get a nap in the daytime.
Why do they need so much sleep? Their brains and bodies are growing! Without proper sleep they have difficulty regulating their emotions, paying attention, and
So to make sure that your kiddos are in the school time routine do the following:
- Start at least 2 – 3 weeks before school
- Adjust their bedtime 10 – 15 minutes earlier every few days until they are back on schedule.
- Make sure that they are on the school sleep schedule for at least 4 or 5 days, that way it has time to sink in
Starting earlier has a few benefits, it gives you plenty of time to get back on schedule, makes it less noticeable to your child with small changes in bedtime, and they will be ready to go back to school then!
Healthy Meal Plans
At my house in the summer, it seems like Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are a lot less formal. They may not even happen in the traditional sense, because of all the snacking that seems to be happening! Can you relate? But when school is back in session it is a lot harder to snack all day long and skip meals.
So, to make the transition to school a bit easier for the kids (and you!) it makes sense to get a meal plan in place.
I use a meal calendar. It is super flexible in that you can put breakfast, lunch, and dinner on one calendar or use three calendars, one for each meal of the day.
If you are not sure what to do for dinner, check out these ideas, which can help you plan up to a month of dinners.
Why plan your meals?
There are a few great reasons why you should meal plan. It can save you money on your grocery bills. That is a great perk for sure, who doesn’t want extra money in their pockets? But, it really can save you a ton of time!
Spending all that time staring in the fridge or pantry to figure out what to make for breakfast, pack for lunch, or again for dinner when you come home after a long day. That to me is the biggest gift. Planning your meals save you time, and effort and streamline a big part of your day. Who could not use a little less stress in their lives?
I am a huge proponent of wearing the same or similar outfits myself each day. It takes a lot of mental wear and tears trying to figure out what I should wear for the day. If you just cannot live in similar clothes each day, not a problem, just pick your clothes out each evening.
For the kids, I highly recommend making clothes boxes for them each Sunday. This is a huge time saver. No need to find matching socks, shirts, and pants, because you already did it! I love, love, love this trick for both my kids. Not only because of the time-saving aspect but also because it is a great way to give them a choice in what they are going to wear. Being in charge of even something small like that makes a big difference in the way they feel about themselves.
I use a basket, color-coded and one for each child. Once my kids are a bit older I will give them each two baskets to hold the week’s clothes. This is such a simple way to streamline your morning and entire week.
This one is pretty simple, if you do not already have a desk or workspace for your kids to do their work, then something needs to be arranged. If you already have a spot for them to work from, make sure it is clean, and well stocked with school supplies.
If you are like me, I prefer to keep a caddy for art and school supplies near the kitchen table and have them complete their work while I prepare dinner. But to do this you have to make sure the table does not become a dumping ground and is clear so they can work and not get distracted!
Wherever you decide to make space for evening work, try to use it a few days before you go back. Having your area all set up just makes getting into the evening School Routine of homework much easier of a transition.
One of my year-round rules is to limit TV, phones, and IPad for my kids, especially during the week. But I will say that I am WAY laxer in enforcing that in the summertime, we are out and about, and not always in the comfort of our home, so I tend to let them watch and play games a bit more.
About 2 weeks or so before school starts, I reign it in again. I start slowly, but in the end, I have it back down to my original limits.
- During the week I limit the kids to no more than one 30-minute TV show (mom approved) or one game that has to be stopped after 30 minutes.
- On the weekend we allow a movie or three 30-minute TV shows per day.
- Phones go in the basket for work time and dinner time. Out after that, then back in the basket for bedtime.
The long and the short of it is, to adjust the routine for what works for your family. Your kids have a lot more time commitments during the school year and it makes sense that something needs to give. TV / IPad is just the easiest item to cut out of their schedule. Removing electronics from their School Routine is a no-brainer.
Evening School Routine
Having a plan for your evening is important. For one thing, it gives you and your family an understanding of what is expected and will happen each evening. Most kids benefit from a little structure, some need more than others. You know your kids best, so make your family’s routine as it will work best for your family. Some families do well with a flexible structure. My family needs a more firm structure to make sure all the To Do’s get done.
Here is an example of my family’s evening school routine:
- Shoes on Mat
- Unpack bag / lunch bag
- Make Lunch
- Homework / Work time
- Clean up
- Set Table for Breakfast
- Pack Bag
- Outside time
- Playtime / TV / IPAD
- Jammies On
- Brush Teeth
- Wash Face
- Reading Time
- Bed Time
The point of having a routine is that you and your kids know what comes next. It makes it easier to transition, especially to bedtime when they still fight you on that! If you work on getting a routine in place that works for your family a few weeks before your kids go back to school it will be a habit for them and make transitions that much easier.
Morning School Routine
Just like the evening routine, a good, solid morning routine helps everyone get off on the right foot. In the morning there is usually SO much to get done and sometimes it can feel a bit chaotic. So to give everyone a peaceful morning (and hopefully therefore a peaceful day) I instituted a morning routine similar to my evening routine. Both a solid morning and evening routine help to keep your school routine in line!
The biggest tip for your morning routine is to do as MUCH prep work as you can each evening. That saves you so much time in the morning and you will not feel so rushed.
Here is an example of my families morning school routine:
- Wake up
- Make Bed
- Get Dressed
- Eat Breakfast
- Dishes in Dishwasher
- Brush Teeth
- Wash Face
- Brush Hair
- Put Lunch in the bag
- Coat / Shoes on
- Time to go!
Use a School Routine Printable
Finally, my favorite way to keep my family on track with good school routines is with a few printables. I love using a Habit Tracker as well as a School Routine Morning Checklist and School Routine Evening Checklist printable. I print them out and put them in frames and hung them on my command center wall.
Then I use dry erase markers to mark down what is completed. At the end of the day, I erase for the next day. That way every member of the family can see our progress and what we need to get done each day.
Here is a sample of the morning school routine checklist, with space to add your checklist items as well.
Here is a sample of the evening school routine checklist, with space to add your checklist items as well.
LOOKING FOR THE FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLISTS FOR SCHOOL ROUTINES ——-> Get Your Back to School Routine Set- GIFMM Free Printable