Establishing simple back to school routines can greatly reduce the stress in your home and your daily life. I want to share four easy routines that we use in our home every school year. With a little preparation, you can set your kids and your home up for daily success!
Why routines are important
For me, I have always hated the “hurry up” and “go go go” rush of school mornings. When you add in the chaos of sleepy kiddos, hungry babies, and missing homework, the mornings just get stressful. I despise sending my kids off every day from a place of chaos and anxiety. I want to set them up for daily success with a peaceful and meaningful morning.
One of the best ways to bring joy, peace, and ease into your home is to focus on rhythms and routines. Routines and rhythms are just a pattern of actions that you repeat over and over again. They do not have to be elaborate or complex, they just need to be effective. I have found that our children and our home thrive when we have clear expectations and simple routines established.
Here are the four simple back to school routines that have made the biggest difference in our home:
1. Packing Lunches, Snacks & Waterbottles Ahead
The night before school, we pack all lunches, snacks, and water bottles. After supper, we pull out lunchboxes and start putting together lunches for the next day. We have a few basic lunches that my kids love to take to school. Someone makes lunches, another person packs the snacks and places juice boxes and napkins in the lunch bags. After lunches are made, we store them in the refrigerator for the next day. In the morning, the kids will take their lunches out, grab a cool pack, and voila! Lunch is made!
After school, as soon as the kids walk into the house, they know to unpack their lunchboxes in preparation for the next school day. Having this established routine has significantly reduced the rush of mornings, haphazardly throwing together lunches and forgetting to put snacks and water bottles into backpacks.
2. Backpacks & School Papers
Before this school year started, we created a small spot in our entryway for backpacks to live. It’s nothing elaborate, just a few hooks that are sturdy enough to hold the backpacks. Right beside the backpacks, we have file folders that everyone can dump their “papers” into for the week. The folders sit in a basket and the goal is to clean them out weekly. Most of the papers go into the trash, but a few precious treasures are saved for memory boxes.
Having a spot for backpacks, lunch boxes and papers helps TREMENDOUSLY with getting rid of clutter but also keeping up with the important things. Everyone knows where to find their backpacks and homework every single morning as we are walking out the door. It’s a win for all of us!
3. Clothes for the Week
Somewhere, a long time ago, I found this hack for organizing our clothes for the week. And ya’ll – it has CHANGED MY LIFE! Decision fatigue is a real thing. I can stand in front of my closet for hours and not find “anything to wear” because decisions are hard. Then you add on having to pick out clothes for 3 other little humans….my mind gets overwhelmed fast. Deciding ahead of time what everyone is wearing for the week is a huge time saver for me and it preserves my mental energy.
On the weekend, I will make sure everyone’s clothes for the upcoming week are washed and dried. Then I will take a look at the weather for the week and pick out outfits for the kids. I grab everything they need for that outfit and day. Underwear, pants, shirt, jacket, belt, socks, shoes, etc. I iron school uniforms, fold everything up nicely, and put everything in a ‘cubby’ for the week.
These cubbies are simple to implement! It’s just hanging shelves that fit on a clothing rod. You can find one here. Monday’s clothes are on the top shelf, Tuesdays are under that, etc. This helps eliminate the frantic rush to find missing socks, the arguments about what they want to wear for the day, and preserves mental energy by deciding ahead of time. If you’ve never tried doing this for your kids (or yourself), I would definitely say try it for a few weeks and see how it goes for you.
4. Prepare Vitamins and Oils for the Week
In our home, we take vitamins and use essential oils every day. It’s an important part of keeping our immunity boosted, energy up, and staying healthy. You can read more about what vitamins and oils we use here.
To keep our vitamins organized and accessible, I have a small basket that we keep in the kitchen. It holds our supplements and our pill organizer. I bought a simple pill organizer that we can put everyone’s vitamins in for the week. I like being able to see who’s taken their vitamins for the day. It helps keep my brain on track because I don’t always remember!
My kids love to help me fill up the vitamins for the week. This is a good time to work on some math with them – like “How many of this vitamin do we need for the whole week?” or having them count out vitamins by 2’s or 3’s or whatever skip counting method they are currently working on. We’ve also done questions like “I need 20 vitamins to fill up this week. We’ve got 16 right here. How many more do we need to get out of the bottle?” I love practicing skills like this because it shows them real-life applications of what they are learning in school.
Overwhelmed With Where To Start?
If you are feeling overwhelmed about starting all of the back-to-school routines, don’t be! Some of the best advice when you are starting a new habit or routine is to pick your pain points. What issue is causing you the most stress? Which routine would make the biggest impact in your home right now? Start there. Implement one routine over several days. After that one is established, then add another one in. Start slow and steady!
Tools You May Need To Implement These Simple Routines
Shop your home first! Look around to see what you have available and use that. Then shop for what you need! Here are some of the items that we use and love for our simple back to school routines:
- Favorite Backpacks
- Lunch Boxes
- Ice Mats for Lunches
- Rail & Hook System For Backpacks
- Cute File Box For Papers
- File Folders For Papers
- Hanging Shelf for Closet
- Container for Weekly Vitamins
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