Back to School Routines?

Updated on August 01, 2014
❤.M. asks from Santa Monica, CA
14 answers

How do you structure your morning?
What do you do first?
What do you prepare the night before (clothes? lunch)?
Are you rushing? Is it ever easy/seamless/go smoothly?

What can I do next?

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answers from Los Angeles on

Son gets clothes ready the night before.
Shower before bed.
Backpack is packed & ready to go right after homework from the previous evening.
Breakfast is pretty simple: cereal, pop tart, oatmeal breakfast bar, juice or milk, etc.
He buys lunch so I only pack for field trips.

As for easing into getting up earlier? I'm going with what's worked til now (gr 6). Suggest earlier bedtime, then he drags butt for a day or two & BAM! we're back on track for the school year.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on


Our school routine is using the KISS Method (Keep It Simple Silly)

Clothes are set out the night before. We call it a Bag Drag - our boys have to show us what they are wearing the next day - to include shoes, socks, underwear, shirt, pants/shorts.

We start waking up earlier two weeks before school starts and the time we need to get up the week before so there is no sluggishness.

Lunches are made the night before.

Backpacks with completed homework are put IN the backpack and zipped the night before school. For the first week? There usually isn't any homework, but backpacks are checked.

No. We don't rush. It doesn't make for a good school day.

Breakfast is simple as well. On days for tests? I get up early to make them something they like - pancakes, etc. so they have the energy to get through the test.

Hope that helps!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Wake at 0630. I drink coffee in bed with my husband, use the toilet, go for a run, do yoga, and then get cleaned up and get ready for work. The kids have their own alarm clocks and wake at 0630 on their own, get dressed, brush teeth and hair, let the dog out, feed and water her, get their stuff, and go out the door to the bus stop.

I wear a uniform to work, so I just ensure it's ready. My sweet husband makes my lunch, and the kids eat school lunches.

I don't rush, it is always easy, I have always, from the very start, made the kids as responsible for themselves as they are physically and developmentally able to be. Structure your routine in a way that keeps this in mind and it will get easier and easier.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We pack lunch and snacks the night before.
My kid dresses himself.
He gets up (usualy by himself after 7:30, but I will wake him if he isn't up by 8).
He gets dressed and can play or watch tv.
If he doesn't eat breakfast, he can have a snack on the ride to school.
He gets picked up for the school run at 8:30.

On the days I work from home, I do a 20 minute workout after he leaves, shower and then start my work day.
On the days I work from the office. I get up at 6:45, put the coffee on, have a cup of coffee, shower, dress, wake my husband at 7:15 and am out the door, leaving him to handle the morning routine.

No rush, no fuss.

F. B.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Cheryl- I love 'bag drag'!! Very clever!

Our mornings are so relaxed. EVERYTHING is prepped the night before, except for my daughter's lunch. She fixes it herself in the morning because she likes having it as part of her routine.

I am up at 6:00, shower, check on the kids (they are teenagers with their own alarm clocks), get dressed, load up the car and off we go.

Even when my kids were in elementary school, we never rushed. Baths, homework, clothes, everything was ready the night before. My kids woke up about 30 minutes before they had to leave, ate breakfast, got dressed, brushed teeth. Then we loaded up the car and left.

As a teacher, every day I see the kids who have had stressful mornings and have been rushed around. It makes me sad... a simple routine can get the entire family off to a good start for the day.

As a mom, you bet we have hiccups in our mornings sometimes- a forgotten permission slip, an 'oops, forgot to turn on my alarm so I overslept' morning, but generally speaking, it's pretty chill around here!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

I get up at 5:15/5:30, feed the dog and throw the ball for her for about 10 minutes then get ready. I get the boys up at 6:15/6:20 and they brush their teeth and get dressed and ready to go. While they are getting ready I make lunches. We leave the house by 6:45 to meet the bus at 6:50. They eat breakfast at school.

The night before they get their clothes picked out and showers taken. After homework is finished/papers signed everything goes back in the backpack and it goes back on the hook by the door so it's ready for the morning.

Most mornings are not rushed and not stressful b/c that puts me (and the kids) in a bad mood and starts the day out crappy. We try to minimize the stress by doing as much as we can the night before.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

School starts Sept. 2 here, so we have awhile. We've used the same established routine since the first started kindergarten. The only change is the time, because the older grades start earlier.

The night before:
* Showers are in the evening.
* Clothing is picked and laid out.
* Backpacks are packed and waiting at the door.
The morning:
* Wake at 6:15
* The kids eat breakfast while I pack lunches if needed.
* Wash face, brush teeth.
* Get dressed.
* Leave for school at 7:15
After school:
* The kids have a snack when they get home, if they want one.
* Next, homework is started immediately if they have any.
* I also deal with all notes, forms, this time. Items that are for future use get pinned on the basement door in the kitchen, along side the calendar, schedules, etc. Keeping things in view means you won't forget or misplace them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We homeschool these days, so our morning routine goes something like:
5:30: I get up and go to the gym, return home 7:30
Kids are rolling out of bed, wandering downstairs to eat breakfast
8-9: Kids do chores (feed cats and dog, water plants, fold laundry, whatever)
9: We start school. Anyone who isn't at their desk by 9 gets to do extra handwriting work later. (It goes without saying that my older daughter, who is NOT a morning person, now has excellent handwriting! ;)
12: lunch
1: finish any school work that isn't yet done, free time until ballet lessons. I finally get to do my work/paperwork. ;)

Some days we go do activities with other homeschoolers, but those usually don't start until 11ish. I really enjoy not having to rush around like a crazy person in the mornings like we used to.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Wake at 6:30. Brush teeth, shower, get dressed for work. Make DS's lunch and breakfast for all 3 of us. Wake up DS between 7:30 and 7:45. Eat breakfast. Help DS brush teeth and get dressed (at this point that is primarily reminding him to go do it). Help him pack his backpack. Out to bus stop at 8:30. DH and I alternate the morning routine. He who is not in charge of breakfast, wakes once the bathroom is free. It is a pretty smooth routine and I keep thinking I could probably let DS sleep a little longer. But I hate to rush in the morning so I haven't changed it yet.


Wake at 6:30. Brush teeth, shower, get dressed for work. Make DS's lunch and breakfast for all 3 of us. Wake up DS between 7:30 and 7:45. Eat breakfast. Help DS brush teeth and get dressed (at this point that is primarily reminding him to go do it). Help him pack his backpack. Out to bus stop at 8:30. DH and I alternate the morning routine. He who is not in charge of breakfast, wakes once the bathroom is free.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My DD's school day starts at 9 and most days she is up by 7-7:30 with her dad. She has her bath the night before, and I might pack the non-perishables the night before and find her shoes. Usually I get her input to help ensure she eats lunch, so we discuss that over breakfast. Breakfast is something light and quick, like waffles or a banana and juice or water. She's like me in that she can't eat a lot first thing but I want something in her to start. Sometimes DH will have her eating before I get up.

I will check the weather and suggest her clothing options. She chooses what she wants to wear and tells me what she'd like done with her hair (or not - but it still needs to be brushed). If she gets ready on time, she can watch cartoons (Nick Jr or Disney Jr or PBS Kids) while I shower, but if she's not ready, no tv. I double check that she has her shoes, coat, lunch, anything signed that needs signing, then it's tooth brushing and potty time, get shoes on and drive to school. Somewhere in there I feed the cats. Homework should have been finished the night before and already be in her bag.

Sometimes I admit we rush and sometimes we don't and part of it is just me keeping an eye on the clock. If we're running late, I will take my shower after she goes to school or not at all, to help facilitate her exit without as much stress. But that only helps if she doesn't dawdle.

With the older kids, it started out much the same at the same age, but by HS it gradually worked that the only thing we (DH) did was make sure they were up on time and they managed all the rest. Usually SD would shower the night before to get a few more minutes sleep, but SS is like his dad and needs the shower to wake up. By middle school we stopped packing lunches for them and they could put the lunch in the fridge overnight if they thought ahead. We keep lunch items on a shelf in our kitchen, so it is *mostly* grab and go, except for berries, or a sandwich.

DH used to be a single dad so he would do all the packing and prep and make sure they had clean uniforms (at the time they were in a private school) and everyone was up by 6:30 and in the car for before-care by 7:30.

Whenever possible we started getting them to bed by their "bed time" a week prior to school starting, though DD has the same general bedtime all year round.



answers from Kansas City on

My husband makes our daughter's lunch up the night before and leaves it in the fridge, I just put it in her lunchbox in the morning and go.

I get my daughter up at 6:30 and we're out the door by 7-7:11 to go to daycare, where they give her breakfast and drive her to school. She has requested this week to start waking up at 6:15, which seems to be working ok.

I have her pick her clothes out the night before and make sure her bag is packed the night before, so we can get up and dressed, maybe watch Super Hero Squad or Scooby Doo, and be out the door.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Start now getting the kids calmed down and getting ready for bed for the school year. Some schools start Monday, seriously, MONDAY!

Others don't start until much later in the month. Kids bodies do adapt easier than ours but they still need time to adjust to getting down sooner.

My kids go to bed at 9 for school. They get up at 7 and that's plenty of time for them to be at school at 8.

That's about 10 hours of sleep for them and that's plenty. There is no need for me to put them down sooner.

The sun isn't down at 9pm though and it's hard to get them to want to come in from playing and bathe and lay down. The sun is shining and they want to be doing stuff.

So I start getting them up earlier so they'll be dog tired by bedtime.

BUT you can't just make them get up and do nothing. YOU have to be up and take them somewhere. Get their brains used to being active and moving and paying attention.

Get up at 7:30, get dressed, eat, then go to Walmart to buy a couple of groceries. Go to the library to check out some books, to a playground, something where their brains have to wake up too.

Otherwise they'll still be groggy and drop back to sleep.


answers from Grand Forks on

The kids get up at 8:00am, get themselves breakfast, get dressed, get there stuff together and leave the house by 8:45am to walk to school for 9:00am. They make lunches and shower the night before. I get up at 7:00am, read and drink coffee until 8:00am, shower, dress and leave for work by 8:45am to work at 9:00am. It all goes like clockwork, except in the winter when we have to deal with heavy snow. Then we need to start earlier.



answers from St. Louis on

My son goes to bed between 8-830 (K) and my daughter between 830-9 (2nd grade). I leave for work at 7am and hubby takes them to school. If they want my help getting dressed, doing hair or making breakfast, they have to get up at 640. If not, dad does it all. Clothes are picked out the night before including socks and hair bows. Shoes they can choose the day of. They like to get dressed downstairs so I put these on their chair so they can get dressed right away. Backpacks are ready to go, too, as well as any lunches that are being taken. Basically they have to get up, get dressed, eat and then leave for school. I don't know if they rush but I doubt it because they usually have 1-1.5 hours before they go to school each morning. Teeth are brushed after breakfast is over. Bowls/plates go in the sink (are rinsed if there is time).

For me, I get up before everyone else (so does my third child usually - 11 months). I usually get us dressed and we go downstairs and then I straighten up and try to feed him before I leave at 7am. That is how our summer routine has gone and it's been nice because there are times I get all the dishes unloaded/reloaded, tables cleared off, etc so that hubby can start his day with an organized house. Other times I don't have that extra time and he's left to do it four days a week (works weekends).

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