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You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Kids > Routines Ensure Back to School Success
Back-to-school success is based on routines. When you have a plan and a regular schedule, everyone knows what to expect and understands their responsibilities. Having a predictable plan will help calm chaotic mornings and eliminate disagreements when it's time to do homework or tuck the kids into bed. Here are a few general ideas that might try:

  • Create specific places for things, such as a small tool box for a kid’s portable office, or desk organizers for a more permanent homework spot.

  • Designate a "To Read" file for mom & dad and fill it with school and classroom newsletters, articles for parents, and a schedule of upcoming events. This helps parents stay on top of things while their waiting during car pool, at appointments, during music lessons or sports practices, etc.

  • Set a timer to keep kids on task for before school rituals, such as getting dressed, grooming, and eating breakfast. Often 10 or 15 minutes is all they need, and it helps to keep on schedule every morning.

  • With input from your kids, establish after school guidelines, such as rules for homework, screen time, chores, approved snacks, etc.

  • Create a "before bed" routine that includes having kids choose an entire outfit for the next day (including shoes and hair accessories.) This leads to fewer decisions in the morning when there's pressure to get out the door on time.

  • Plan a Sunday night family ritual that previews everything for the week. Pull out the calendar, discuss the week's events, and determine if and when you'll need any special clothing (uniforms), equipment (band instruments), or travel arrangements (mom picks up Sally from volleyball practice while dad takes Jimmy to his dentist appointment.)


Below is a sample checklist showing how your family's school year routine might look. The activities listed are universal, but you can slide them around to suit your style. For example, it may suit your family better to make lunches before going to bed.

Before School Checklist

  • Get dressed

  • Make bed

  • Eat breakfast

  • Make lunch

  • Brush teeth and hair

  • Remember back pack on the way out


After School Checklist

  • Snack

  • Talk about the day at school

  • Change clothes

  • Play outside

  • Do homework

  • Sign any forms

  • Practice (sport, instrument, etc)

    • Chores

    • Set table for dinner

    • Help with making dinner

    • Feed pet

    • Fold laundry

    • Take out trash




Before Bed Checklist

  • Plan breakfast and set the table for it

  • Tidy room

  • Pack backpack – what ‘day’ is tomorrow for special requirements such as gym…

    • Binders

    • Notebooks

    • Schoolbooks

    • Library books to return

    • Finished homework

    • Signed permission slips

    • Notes to teachers

    • Money

    • Pens

    • Pencils

    • Highlighters

    • Calculator

    • Gym clothes

    • Sneakers

    • Musical instrument/music

    • Sports equipment

    • MP3 Player

    • Cell Phone



  • Shower

  • Brush teeth

  • Pick out clothes for tomorrow

  • Set alarm

  • Read


It's a great idea to start your typical school routine about a week before the first day of school. Practice waking up and getting everyone ready to leave the house at the designated time to arrive at the bus stop, the car pool meeting place, or school on time. Bedtimes should also be adjusted early on so kids get accustomed to going to bed earlier and getting the sleep they need to be productive, A+ students all year long!