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back-to-school routine

The Back-to-School Routine Simplified

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Does it feel like you get off track during the summer? Don’t worry; you are not alone! It’s the last day of school, right before summer break, and it is bittersweet. Humans need seasons of change, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to keep up with a daily routine.

Let’s get back to that last day of school, though. Yay! The weather is getting warmer, the kids will be home to help out around the house with chores more, and you are looking forward to the much-needed family vacation. 


Bam! Then reality hits, and the kids come home jumping and running around crazy because school is out! They throw their backpacks on the floor, run upstairs to change, and race to the pool. As a mom, you are excited for them but also trying not to dread the non-routine status of the house that will take over for the next two months.


Be Flexible while Keeping it Simple

So, how can we keep a routine going year-round? Or better yet, how can we not slack off during the summer so we don’t get behind on our daily chores? If you went through my simplifying life series, we discussed a daily plan and time management (read more on time management).  As you continue managing your time and figuring out what works best, you can tweak things as you go. There is no rule book on life. If you get anything out of this article, I hope it is; remember that being flexible is key. I know you have heard me say, keep it simple, a billion times, but now we will add to it. Be flexible while keeping it simple!

Is it the end of Summer already?

Now, let’s fast-forward to the end of summer. School starts in a few days, and you are busy trying to get last-minute school supplies and buying those much-needed jeans and shoes for your kids since they outgrew everything over the summer! I honestly think the sun makes kids grow like weeds during those warm summer days. 


If you are like me, you will get off track sometimes, especially during the summer, but the goal is not to get so far behind that it overwhelms us, and we lose our focus and joy. Stay with me here. Don’t ever throw in the towel; if you get off track, pick up where you left off and keep on going. 


So, let’s say we got way off track this summer and need to get back into that back-to-school routine. As parents, we love the school season; it brings us back into the habit of getting up at a specific time in the morning. The kids go off to school—well, most of them—and you can take a deep, cleansing breath in the quietness for a few moments.


How do we get back into that routine and stay on it year-round?

You don’t have to be super organized to have an excellent daily routine or the ability to keep on track ALL the time. Everyone can do this!

  • Give YOURSELF a morning routine before your kids get up.

Get up before you get your kids are up, don’t start your morning in a rush, with the kids running in a hurry. It is stressful for everyone. I remember some days I would get up right when I needed to get my kids up; we ran around crazy and yelled at each other; it also seemed like we couldn’t find anything, and lunches didn’t get made. We hurried out the door in a huff, upset and crying. I hated dropping my kids off on those days because I sat there thinking they felt like I did right now and that they would go and conquer the day stressed out. NEVER do I want to do that to them again. I’m not a morning person, but I became one after getting up an hour before my kids and giving myself a morning routine. 


  • Create a productive daily routine for everyone, and stick with it.

Block out ALL hours and minutes of your day, from when you wake up to when you go to bed—even writing down a simple thing like turning the coffee pot on. The nice thing about writing everything down is that you don’t have to focus on remembering what you need to do. You can focus on other things and not waste hours and days trying to remember your tasks (sign up for the free daily planner printable below). Have a family calendar where everyone can see it. My husband and I share events on our phone calendars, so we are both on the same page. Now that the kids are older, they must know where everyone is. My son constantly asks me where Dad is or why I’m not home when he gets home. Now he can see on the calendar that I am taking his sister to dance or that dad is working. 


  • Get some things done during the evening before bed.

During school, plan to have lunches made, clothes set out, and backpacks ready to go before bed. I can’t tell you how often we have had meltdowns at my house 15 minutes before leaving for school because someone doesn’t know what they want to wear! Or the item they want to wear is dirty. 


  • Give your kids daily chores and help them get into time management.

Let’s raise strong, independent kiddos! We are not their minions; kids are more than capable of helping with the daily housework. I won’t go into great detail here, but kids thrive on having a routine and helping out. They grow to be happier, respectful of others and themselves, and more successful. Having them take responsibility and grow is part of our journey. 


  • Give YOURSELF an evening routine after the kids go to bed. 

As the day winds down, and you start to get the kids ready for bed, make sure they have planned their next day out, picked out their clothes, and helped with lunches. Once they are off to bed, plan for the next day, create some self-care time, even if it is just for a few minutes, and stick with getting into bed around the same time every night.


Back-to-School Routines for kids

Our kiddos need structure. To avoid morning chaos, let’s also make a plan for them! Keep a morning checklist for them to follow. First, it saves you by asking a million times, did you brush your teeth? Did you make your bed? Now you can ask, did you do everything on your checklist? I know mornings are less fun. If my kids don’t have a routine down in our house, then meltdowns happen.

So, what can be on the checklist? Sign up below for your free morning routine checklist! 

Here is an example of the morning routine checklist we use at our house to avoid those unwanted meltdowns! 

Pro tip: laminate the checklist and reuse it weekly!

The Morning Routine

Morning Routine Checklist for Kids

The After School Routine

After School Routine Checklist for kids

Once you get back into your daily routine, keep it up all year! It will save time and stress and reduce the number of meltdowns from everyone!

My favorite back-to-school routine products

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I am Leah. Welcome to The Loving Cedar LLC. Here is where you will find parenting tips and tricks to help you simplify life.


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