Back to school makes everyone feel a lot of emotions. Kids are anxious, excited, nervous and sometimes bummed summer is over. Mom’s are anxious, stressed, excited, worried, overwhelmed and sometimes bummed summer is over too. However, your family is feeling, having a back to school routine can really ease the transition and keep the peace in your home.
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As a nanny for so many years, I have a ton of experience of getting kids out the door in the morning. I prefer happy, smiling children to crying, whining or grumpy ones in the morning. So having a routine is a must!
Where to start…
A back to school routine has to start the night before. This is essential to a stress-free morning. Think to the next day. What is happening? What do you and the kids need for the day? Before, during and after school too.
Mornings should be used for getting dressed, eating( here are some healthy to-go options if you eat on the road), brushing hair and teeth, and heading out the door. Kids need sleep so the more they can get the better. Even if you have a morning riser they tend to like to use their mornings to relax not rush around getting ready.
What to get ready at night…
- Clothes – Have the kids pick out their outfit the night before. Not finding something that matches or needing a specific item that is dirty or lost can be avoided by planning ahead. It takes me forever to pick out an outfit in the morning as I search around but, at night I would rather be doing what I want so I choose quickly. Lay it out on a desk or chair nearby.
- Lunch – Pack lunch the night before as well. This is a battle sometimes. If you pack the lunch then do it when the kids go to bed, that way you can pack healthy items without an argument. If the kids pack it, have them get in the habit of doing it right after they eat dinner. They are already in the kitchen anyways. (Not sure what to pack for lunch here’s a great list of healthy ideas.)
- Homework – Have the kids double check they have finished their homework and get it in their backpack. This gives you a good opportunity to review together what is due, is it correct, have they done their best work and completed it all. Then be sure it physically makes it into the backpack. This eliminates the excuse for lost, forgotten and late homework. It also makes your student accountable to you every night which can really help keep them stay on track. While you guys are doing this double check for other items the kids may need. Library books, school books, a special item needed for class the next day?
- Extracurricular Activities – Is soccer, football, basketball, baseball practice after school? How about a club or event? Get out the clothes, shin guards, cleats, helmet, socks, bat, cup, mouth guard, costume or whatever your kids need for after school and pack them in a separate bag. Don’t use the backpack. Homework and lunch will get squished or things will get lost in the shuffle of going in and out of it. Missing cleats? Dirty uniform? Good thing it’s the night before and you can find or wash it!
- Cell Phone – Have kids charge it at night. That way if they need to get ahold of you for a rained out practice or a last minute play date, they can. ( Don’t worry, of course, they always remember to bring their phone so you don’t need to pack it the night before.)
- Pack it all up – Get the kids to pack their backpacks at night. Homework, books, whatever they need for school in the backpack. Anything they need for after school in their extra bag.
- ***MOMS*** check your email and school calendar to see if any special clothing or items are needed for the day ( pajama day, spirit shirt, gym class, class event, sack lunch, snack, after school activity)?
How to keep the habit
I know this may seem a bit overwhelming at first. It is honestly what you have to do anyways, so it’s better to do it in a way that helps keep your family organized. A checklist by the door or your child’s bed can be a great way to keep track of everything( click here for my free printable checklist). Laminate the checklist and attach a dry erase marker to it to make it super easy to use.
Kids thrive when they are on a routine and know what to expect. Mornings run smoother when you all know what you need and what you need to do to get out the door on time(mom’s, try this mommy nighttime routine for a stress-free morning for you too!). The kids will want to have play time at night so, if you have them do this right after dinner then, you can give the incentive of finish your routine and you can go play.
I promise if you can stick to this routine it will become a habit and your family will have much happier mornings. You will be prepared and excited for the next day! The kids will feel calm and know what is expected of them each night and morning. Homework will be accounted for and special days won’t be forgotten. Mom’s, you won’t be yelling and rushing around to get everything ready for everyone and you will even get out the door on-time( yes you can stand up to accept your got it together, mother of the year award now : ) )!
Please tell me how this routine is working in your family’s life? Have any extra tips and tricks that make your day run more smoothly? It takes a village to raise a child and I love to hear from the villagers about what works for them!