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Back to School Routines – Tips from A-Z

“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.” – Edgar W. Howe… I love the summer months. I love family and friends gathering at my home for pool parties and BBQ’s. I love sunshine, and flip flops, and drinking frozen cocktails in my hammock. But, all of that fun comes at a price – my usual routines get totally knocked off schedule! In addition to my 3 year old, I have my nephews {7 & 9} each day in the summer too. When you throw in a few of their friends that come to visit – it makes running a full-time business from home pretty darn challenging. So, while I love summer days – I am getting excited to once again get back into the routine that back to school season brings.

Healthy back to school routines from A-Z

Back to School Routines – Tips from A-Z

Even though my nephews don’t live with me anymore, they get dropped off here each morning to wait for the bus, and come to my house each afternoon after school. Last year was the first year they had done this, and I definitely learned that we needed some practical routines to make mornings less stressful for all of us! So, here I’ll share my A-Z list of tips to help build better back to school routines in your home too.

A: Art Work Organization. In almost no time, the kids will start bringing home those adorable drawings, paintings, and projects they’re so proud of from school. And while they’re precious, they can pile up quickly! Get some great ideas on how to organize and display kid’s art projects in this post.

B: Binders rock. I could not live without all of my binders. I have one for household basics – bills, receipts, maintenance information. Another for my blog and online business, with printable calendars, check-lists, and charts. And we have one during the school year for the kids – sports schedules, lunch menus, school days-off schedule, and all special events like holiday programs and birthday parties. Life saving, I tell ya! {Find free printables to help you get organized.}

C: Carpool. Do you have friends that you could set up a carpool with? Switching off days or weeks can really free up some time in your schedule. Or, if your kids ride the bus to and from school, how about partnering up with another mom or two from their sports teams?

D: DIY it. From letting the kids decorate last years binders and folders with new stickers, to some fun DIY tricks to update their fashions, a little bit of do-it-yourself creativity can go a long way toward helping you start the school year on a budget.

E: Easy Daysies. These are cute little magnetic schedules that are a serious help for little kids! They can see exactly what they need to do in the morning, step by step, and you can personalize to your families routines.

F: Frugal shopping. Take a minute to go through your kid’s closets before heading out for back to school shopping. They probably have lots of pieces that will still work in the new year – most areas are still warm enough for shorts for another month or so. T-shirts work as layering pieces later in the year. Doing a quick inventory now can save you a lot of money at the stores.

G: Get active. During the summer, the kids are always running around our property, swimming in the pool, or climbing and sliding at the park. But once at school, there’s a lot more sitting time – they have shorter recesses then in years past, and less PE courses. So make sure to schedule in time in your weekly routines for some fun activity to keep them healthy!

H: Homework schedule. Try to make a specific time every day for homework – whether it’s right after school, or before bed. When they know that there is a set time to get things done, they’ll have an easier time sitting down and accomplishing it.

I: Immunity protectors. Going back to school means being surrounded by lots of kids every day – which brings more germs and colds. Make sure to take steps to protect your kiddo’s immunity by taking daily vitamins. A gummy vitamin like L’il Critters™ is a great choice to make it more fun.

J: Just let kids help. It can be tough to hand off responsibility, when it seems like it takes them twice as long to do it as just doing it yourself – and half of the time you have to redo things again anyway. But giving kids responsibility helps them build character – and you’ll appreciate it when they grow into teens that can do their own laundry and dishes!

K: Keep hands clean. Remind kids to wash hands all day – at school and at home – to keep germs away.

L: Lay out clothes for each day at the beginning of the week. Give your kids a few options – not too many, but enough that they feel they have some control. Then fold each full outfit together – including undies and socks! – to minimize morning meltdowns.

M: Menu planning. Meal planning saves my life year ’round – but it also works great when prepping lunches. Decide a week in advance on a lunch menu, shop once for healthy foods like string cheese and grapes, and prep perfect portions on Sunday evening – in plastic baggies or containers. Keep them all together in a bin in the fridge or pantry, and lunches can be made easy peasy.

N: Never skip breakfast. This one can be tough, I know. But – it’s super easy to put together a week’s worth of morning breakfast burritos on the weekend, grab a cereal bar and juice on the go – or even make mornings fun with a cute waffle owl.

O: Online shopping. I do the majority of our shopping online. And it can be an amazing way to save money! Not only can you easily search around for the best deals, but if you use some of my favorite sites, you can even shop for free

P: PC update. If you’re looking for one computer that the whole family can use, all through the house, and even on the go, check out one of the new All-In-One computers. We have so many learning apps on here – the kids love it.

Q: Quit throwing away packages. Well, not all of them – but the ones that have Box Tops on them! They are the easiest way ever to help support your favorite school.

R: Regular meals together. Try to find at least a few times a week that your family can regularly have meals together. I know that a nightly dinner doesn’t work for everyone – with crazy work schedules and sports. But whether you designate a quick morning breakfast with everyone each day, or at least one or two weeknights where you don’t schedule activities, eating healthy family meals all together is a great time to bond.

S: School supply stock-up. Make sure to buy extra school supplies right now – they won’t be this cheap again until next year. Keep them together in a bin in a closet, so you have replacements as the kids run low on things during the year. Or, if you have a toddler who’s not going to school yet, it’s still a great way to get sweet deals on things like crayons, glue, and paper for craft projects.

T: Timer. We use timers in the morning… When it dings the first time, that means time to turn the TV off and get some breakfast. The next ding means time to put breakfast away. The next is to get shoes and jackets on, and the final one means it’s time to grab back packs and get out the door to the bus stop. The boys love the challenge of getting each step done before the next buzzer goes off!

U: Up before the rest. While I am truly not a morning person – it always helps me start my day better if I’m the first one up each day. Sure – I might miss out on a little bit more sleep. But having a half-hour to myself in the morning, to sit on the patio in silence, drinking my coffee, watching the sunrise, and reading the paper – totally help me get off on the right foot.

V: Veggies can be fun. Even if your kids don’t think that they like vegetables, keep trying. Maybe you need creative ways to get kids to eat more veggies by disguising them. Or let the kids shop with you, and pick out interesting new types to try – they’ll be more likely to try them if they get to help choose ’em.

W: Wake up call. A couple of weeks before school starts, begin waking the kids up earlier each day, to ease them into their new school-year wake up times.

X: Xtra time. {Ok, I stretched that a little to find a word that started with an X, lol.} Always budget in a little extra time in the morning, more than you think you’ll need. Sure, it sounds nice to sleep in for just 5 more minutes. But if that means you’re running 5 minutes late trying to get people out the door, you’ll all end up stressed.

Y: You rock. Give yourself a pat on the back mom – whether your back to school routine goes perfectly, or you have to keep adjusting it for a couple months as you all find your groove – you’re doing a great job!

Z: Zzzzzz. Make sure to stick to bedtime routines, so that you’re family all gets enough sleep to stay healthy and happy all through the school year.

And there you have it – 26 helpful tips to guide you into a happy and healthy start to this upcoming school year! If you have more tips to share – I’d LOVE to hear them! Share some of your best tips in the comments here.

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L’il Critters™ are the #1 child gummy vitamin. We are the better tasting gummy vitamin that is preferred by Kids and trusted by Moms. “We Make Nutrition Taste Good.”

{Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Church & Dwight via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Church & Dwight.}



  1. your kids are adorable!

  2. These are great tips. I think we’ll make a homework schedule this year, leaving it so random makes it hard on the kids (and me). ;)

  3. We like to DIY book covers out of paper grocery bags and then decorate those. It’s fun!

  4. This post rocks! I am going to get some Easy Daysies and you are so right about the binders. I’m organizing our back to school area right now. We can’t work our routine without it. I’ve just gotten our shelves ready and am putting my file folder hanger up this week!

  5. The box tops, eating together and staying active are really good reminders. We’re all so beat by the end of the day, but sitting down to dinner and getting some outside time are so important. Thanks for the tips!

  6. My little one isn’t in school yet, but these will be helpful for when she does go. :)

  7. I love this! Great tips – I really need to get up before everyone else and I like the buzzer idea too – that could really work in our house.


  1. […] Meagan at Sunshine and Sippy Cups has the BEST A-Z Back to School Routine Tips – she covers it all, from art work and binders to frugal shopping and veggies! […]

  2. […] Back-to-School Routines from A-Z – Sunshine and Sippy Cups […]

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