The holidays are over and this is the perfect time to establish a back to school routine.
Back-to-school time provides a great opportunity for parents and children alike to build good habits, routines, and a checklist of tasks.
As much as I love the school holidays and getting to spend extra time with my kids, it can often feel like a slog getting back into the groove of things.
I am not one for a crazy morning rush, with a mad dash from morning wake-up to leaving for school.
This just doesn’t do it for me.
I like a streamlined schedule and routine as this makes life easier for the entire household.
This article will provide tips on how to get your child (and yourself) back in the swing of things so they can have a successful start this term and the ones to come.
Back-to-School Routine Tips
1. Start The Night Before
As the age-old Benjamin Franklin saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Get ahead of the morning routine by planning ahead (this is key!) This is the best approach to defusing morning mayhem.
Before bedtime, have your child take a bath or shower and ask them to pick out an outfit or layout their school uniform for the next day (this is a good way to give the younger ones some autonomy).
Take some time to go over the next day’s schedule together. Check that bags are packed with all the necessary items, such as books, homework, and changes of clothing. Have everything ready to go near the door.
It’s also important that kids get a good night’s rest so that they can be focused and productive the next day.
A nighttime routine is just as helpful. You could try engaging in a relaxing activity, such as listening to calming music before bed, which can help with winding the day down and eventual slumber.
The less your children have to battle with first thing in the morning, the smoother the transition will be.
A good time to make lunches and snacks is once the kids are in bed. Set the table for breakfast if you usually have breakfast as a family, otherwise have everything ready to go first thing.
I also like to decide on what my outfit will be the night before and if I’m heading out after I drop the kids at school I will pre-pack what I may need.
2. Take Some Time For Yourself
The best thing you can do to start your day is wake up before your kids do. Taking this “me time” is crucial and really sets the tone for the rest of my day.
It helps me show up fully for my family!
This time may look different for everyone. I personally like to create a bit of a morning routine for myself that helps me feel calmer and more motivated for the day ahead.
3. Make Wake-ups More Pleasant
Early mornings can often jolt you out of dreamland into a harsh beat of reality with an alarm.
To make this less of a rude awakening I suggest finding alternative ways you can get your kids up and going.
Maybe set their favourite song as their alarm tone (great for teens) or try waking them up with cuddles and kisses (great for the little ones).
A more enjoyable wake-up doesn’t mean it has to take longer—it just needs to be gentler.
4. Follow A Routine
Help your kids (as well as yourself) follow a daily routine. Posting a detailed routine for the morning can also keep the family on track.
Creating this predictability forms structure and stability for everyone.
Create a schedule that can be followed before and after school. It can look something like this: Wake up, wash face, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, look over the day’s schedule, pack lunch and leave for school.
Having a point-by-point task list should include all the things your kid needs to accomplish before heading out the door.
A back to school routine checklist is especially important for that first week back.
Picture schedules work wonders for the little ones or those that aren’t so good at reading yet.
Example routine for school mornings
Here’s an example of what a back to school routine might look like:
7.30 am: Kids get up and saying something they’re grateful for.
7.40 am: Kids wash their faces and get dressed.
7:50 am: Kids have breakfast.
8.15 am: Kids brush teeth
8.20 am: Kids pack their lunch in their bag and looks at books while you get ready to go.
8.25 am: Kids put on sunscreen.
8.30 am: Leave for school
Every family will have their own way of doing things. Find what works for you and your family.
5. Be Positive
Positivity is infectious and a good mood can have a ripple effect.
As a parent, you can set the tone of the day so do your best to tackle the mornings as positively as you can.
A great exercise to help foster this within the family is by sharing one thing that you’re each looking forward to during the day.
6. Clock It Up
Make the time as visible as possible by placing clocks all over the house. Place them in each kid’s room, the bathroom, the kitchen, the lounge and even the hallway — if they’re old enough they could even wear a watch.
By doing this and making the time more apparent you will help teach them how to manage time and show your kids the value of being on time.
A great way to help them learn is by providing them with manageable countdowns like: “At 7:50, I need you to be at the table eating breakfast.”
7. Do a “Captain’s-Check”
Get your kids to do a “Captain’s-Check” to make sure they’ve packed everything they need for school before leaving the house.
The last thing you want is having to run back to school again to drop off an assignment or lunch that’s been forgotten.
8. Reward Your Kids
There’s nothing like a good old rewards system to encourage some good behaviour.
When implementing this, first determine what the biggest negative contributing factors to the morning are. Then you can build a reward system around this.
If your kid has hit their goal consecutively by the end of the week, a small reward is encouraged such as a trip out for ice cream, a book, or a treat.
You can also make it fun – for example, try this ‘Beat the buzzer’ game to encourage your child to be ready on time.
9. Get Up Early
It’s about working smarter, not harder!
It’s normal for kids to sleep late over the school holidays. So when it comes to establishing a routine again, a back to school sleep schedule should be put into place towards the end of the holidays.
Start to wake them up a bit earlier each day in the period leading up to back-to-school.
10. Communicate With Teachers
It’s really important to discuss any needs your child may have with teachers, especially if they may be starting at a new school or getting a different teacher after a school break.
11. Ban The TV, Computer And Tablet
If you want to make the back to school routine easier on yourself as a parent, try banning any form of electronic entertainment including the TV, video games, computer or tablet during the morning rush.
It’s best to avoid letting your kids turn on any devices even if they’ve finished getting ready and have a bit of time to spare.
The problem is that once they get stuck in it may be prove difficult to get them to shut down when asked.
12. The Clothes Predicament & Preparation
Whilst most schools have uniforms, there are a few that don’t (my little one’s included) — this can easily turn a happy morning into a right nightmare.
Young kiddies and girls may find it especially difficult to decide what they should wear for the day.
This hassle can be avoided by having your kids select the clothes they want to wear the evening before (including underwear and socks!)
The same applies to those that have to wear uniforms. Preparation the night before is KEY to avoiding morning mishaps.
13. Keep Breakfast Simple And Healthy
Make sure your kids start the day the right way with a nourishing breakfast.
I also like to make sure they have their vitamins and we all have a glass of Forever’s magical Aloe Vera Gel.
This gives me peace of mind that they have had their daily boost in all of the nutritious goodness.
14. Label Their School Supplies And Clothes
After a school break, you can build excitement about going back to school by getting new school supplies and labeling them — this also helps items not to get lost!
Get the kids involved in doing this with you. This is a great way to bond and have a chat with them about what they’re looking forward to or concerned about.
15. Use A Back To School Checklist
Whether it’s the start of the school year, or the beginning of Term 3, having a back to school checklist will make your life and your kids’ so much easier.
Create two lists — one for you as the parent and one for each of the kids.
Identify all the tasks that need to be done — uniforms, books, haircuts, shoes, etc. — and write these down, along with a timeline of when you want it done.
16. Stay Organised With A Designated School Space
Having a designated school space at home can help you and your kids to be more organised and manage the school routine much better.
The school space or whatever other fun name your kids may want to call it, is the place where all school items are kept and/or returned to – school bags, lunch boxes, shoes, sporting goods, etc.
Using a space like this can also help your kid develop their own self-management skills and promotes their success in adhering to their “Chart Tasks” by limiting the number of places they need to look for something they need for school.
Let Going Back to School Be A Breeze
Establishing a back to school routine doesn’t have to be stressful. Preparation really is the key.
I also find it incredibly helpful being a mompreneur that gets to work from home as this gives me so much flexibility in supporting my kids during these periods.
If you’re at all curious about what I do contact me here and let’s chat!
I hope this article has provided you with some helpful insights into how you can establish a winning back to school routine.
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