With the start of a new school year just around the corner (or maybe it’s already started for you!) I’m sure ya’ll are ready for a back to school tip or two.
It’s 7:55 a.m. and school starts at 8. You’ve skipped breakfast, one child can’t find their backpack while the other didn’t even think about brushing their teeth. And you only learned yesterday that school would be virtual this year! Sound familiar?
Maybe this story is describing “just one of those mornings”. Or maybe you’re in a boat where that story has become your routine. I’m here to tell you there is hope! It’s the perfect time to start a back to school routine – even if school has already started.
If there’s anything certain about this upcoming school year, it’s that nothing is certain – am I right? I know it’s been up in the air for my family and it feels like at any moment the learning situation will change and flip our whole operation on its head!
If you know me, you know I like a good plan (even in times like this when it’s a little tough to plan! ?) I’ve collected all my back to school tips in one place so we all can have a little stability to hold onto. Whether your kids are going back to school, learning virtually from home, or if you’re diving into homeschooling, these tips will help get your family organized across the board.
If you’d rather hear me chat about my school routine with my kiddos (and see a sneak peek of our school year planner) check out the video below.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #1: SET UP A SOLID MORNING ROUTINE
Honestly, this back to school tip is the most important (that’s why I listed it first ?). Set up a morning routine for your kids AND yourself. When you have a routine, it creates stability and having some stability as soon as you wake up is a great way to start your day.
Here’s a little tip within a tip: do what you can the night before to set your mornings up for success. Mornings can be a little hectic, so anything you can do to get a jump start the next day will be a game changer. Try things like setting out clothes for the next day or packing up your child’s backpack so they’re ready to walk out the door in the morning..
Even if you’re virtually learning or homeschooling and there isn’t a definite start to school every morning, try to establish a start time or an approximate start time. It’s far better to be on a routine and used to things. Once again, build up that stability in your kids’ lives (and in your own) so you can combat the chaos of these crazy times.
The last tip within a tip I have for creating a routine is this: start early. If you try and implement a new routine the day school starts, there’s still going to be a learning curve there. For my daughter, we started practicing her morning routine about three weeks before school started so that it wasn’t completely foreign to her on top of all the newness that accompanies a new school year.
I have younger kids so I try to hype up their morning routine a couple days before I start it. A little bit of excitement can go a long way with younger kids and get them more open to creating this positive change. (aaand an occasional Hershey Kiss as a reward doesn’t hurt ?) Obviously if you have older kids, you may need to modify, but even our oldest kids could still use some encouragement.
If your school is already in full swing, don’t panic. It’s totally fine to start now! Implement a new routine in phases if you can, but if you have to rip off the band-aid have no fear – it will still work out.
(As an added bonus, if you’re looking for a new project for your Cricut Maker, I made a little tutorial for a morning routine chart for my youngest son!)
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #2: DON'T OVER-COMPLICATE YOUR ROUTINES
The best kind of routine isn’t too complicated. What I mean by this is that your routines need to represent your core values or the things you want to prioritize. For your kids, that may mean you’re working on hygiene and caring for their body so the most important parts of the routine are brushing their teeth and getting to bed by a certain time.
That doesn’t mean that they never clean their rooms, it just means that cleaning their room isn’t part of the routine. Do I want a tidy house? Of course! Do we tidy up the toys most evenings? We sure do! But if we don’t get to it, it’s not the end of the world and it’s not going to throw off our rhythm. Your routine isn’t a complete list of everything that needs to be done, but instead the non-negotiable things you do every day.
This is also the tip where we turn the lights back on ourselves, parents! The school year brings new challenges and busier schedules and longer to-do lists. Give yourself some room in your routines. Check your own schedule and make sure you’re taking care of your priorities.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIP #3: PLAN
Plan, plan, plan! This is my favorite tip on the list! I know planning may be a little hard at the moment with so many changes and we need to keep some flexibility in the forefront of our minds. But with so much uncertainty, we need to care for the things that are on our plate.
To help with this step, we have created a new printable homeschool planner, which will help no matter what the school year looks like for you! My favorite part is the FILLABLE column headings so you can customize it to what you need. And you type once, and it fills all 52 weeks! It will automatically fill in each week with those same headings.
It's available in the black and white vanilla edition or the pretty floral edition:
Those are my top tips for building a routine and getting back into the swing of the school year. My family is a couple weeks into this process and I can tell you the work of building a routine is worth it! It’s so encouraging to know that even though this year is uncertain, we’re all in this together. Let me know in comments how your family is tackling this school year and what back to school looks like for you.