We know that kids thrive on routine, so what can we do to instill and maintain good habits to make back-to-school a cinch this fall? Begin by creating effortless routines to ensure more action, less questions and a smoother transition between each part of your child’s day. Routines clarify responsibilities for all family members and help to avoid upsets on school days.
To get things started, consider a checklist for hectic times of the day such as school nights, school mornings and after school time. The items listed below will get you going on the right path. Feel free to tweak as you see fit! After your kids get the hang of things, their routines will become second nature and you can ditch the checklists (or keep them somewhere safe in case they need a little refresher once in a while!) Chore charts with reward stickers work great for younger children who aim to please – harness this while you can because it won’t last!
Night Before School
- Help you pack their lunch or do it completely on their own if they are able (most kids can by age ten).
- Complete homework assigned for the evening or read with Mom and Dad.
- Know what night is bath/shower night so they’re not constantly battling with you about it.
- Lay clothing out for the next day.
- Have backpack packed and waiting by the front door. Be sure to include any items required for extracurricular activities.
Morning of School
- Get dressed and ready for breakfast promptly.
- Help with breakfast or prepare their own if old enough. Young ones can set breakfast table and help load dirty dishes into dishwasher when done eating.
- Help with lunches or pack their own if not done the evening before.
- Brush teeth, wash face, tidy hair, etc. to be fresh and clean for school. Young children should do as much as possible before getting help with the rest.
- Be ready at front door waiting for Mom or Dad with outerwear on and backpack packed.
- Unpack backpack and lunch kit right away. Put permission forms where parents can see, dirty lunch containers in dishwasher, and books and school things in bedroom or pre-appointed area. (Parents should consider creating a family communication station and homework station to streamline things.)
- Help themselves to a healthy, after-school snack. Mom and Dad can assist by providing a selection of foods that are easy for kids to grab.
- Start on or complete homework.
- Set the table for dinner. Older children can help with dinner prep if given instructions.
Read 10 Organization Tips for a Less Hectic School Year for more great information on routines.