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Back to school routines – easing in

As much as we love the lazy days of summer and the lack of routine (or a different routine), we know it must come to an end.

Setting goals in August will help parents and kids ease into back to school routines and minimize stress for all.

back to school routines

Back to school routines – easing in

Establish a back to school routine gradually by…counting down to class time.

Three weeks before

Preparing in advance makes easing into the first day of school much easier. To beat the crowds – this is a good time to make your shopping list and check it twice.

Set a budget as a family and make it a game to come in under budget and on time. First shop your own house. Send the kids on a scavenger hunt to find as many items from the list as they can.

Get the kids involved in many of the decisions so they have more ownership of the process. Use your parental discretion as to when to shop on your own, to avoid unnecessary purchases, but do the research with the kids in advance.

Do a quick inventory of:

    1. School supplies
    1. Backpacks
  1. Lunch Boxes
  2. Water Bottles (with matching lids – how do those vanish?)
  3. Indoor / Outdoor shoes that still fit (don’t take their word for it!)
  4. Few outfits

Two weeks before

Making lunches is one of the most dreaded parts of the back to school routines. Start training kids to help out as much as possible in preparing their own lunches. Research lunch ideas together and customize a list. Train them in age-appropriate tasks such as peeling fruit, chopping veggies, choosing snacks, or building sandwiches. This will serve them well for the school year.

Coming soon…..a post on organizing lunch stations to make this whole process easier.

One week before

I manage a swimming business and our last week in August has become a favorite with parents. Why? Because we pitch it as a back-to-school training program. Teens across the city get enlisted (ahem-signed up) in the morning slots so they have a reason to get out of bed and ease into a back-to-school schedule.

Consider something to do with your kids that requires everyone to be up and at ‘em the week before school. You might start with an 11:00 Monday trip, 10:30 Tuesday outing, etc. until you have reached a normal, back-to-school departure time.

The weekend before

Many families have annual Labour Day traditions. I try to balance my kids’ desire for last-minute fun, with their need to be well-rested. We stay local for the weekend before school begins, but try to fill it with outdoor activities to help them sleep well.

The day before

For little ones, have a full dress rehearsal with some friends. Meet at the bus stop on time with lunches and backpacks packed. Instead of getting on the bus, head to a park together and enjoy your picnic.

Dress rehearsals highlight last-minute adjustments required. This also helps minimize back-to-school jitters. And the early start to the day and fresh air helps settle kids at bedtime.

What tips do you have for easing into the back to school routines?


  1. Olivia

    Excellent ideas! I wish I had used these when my kids were in school. We had a version of these but yours are much more fun, especially the “one week” before and the “day before”.

  2. Karen G

    Thanks for the encouraging words Olivia. It does help to make dull stages a bit more interesting (when there is time to get creative!).
    Trying to savour this stage before my kids are all out of school…it’s going fast….

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