For happier back-to-school planning, think ahead, set expectations early, and allow kids to participate in whatever way their age allows. Use these ideas to streamline your family’s back-to-school routine, and you’ll sail through the season at the top of the class.
Test-run the morning schedule
Determine what time everyone needs to wake up to get out the door on time—then adjust to that timing a few weeks before the first day of school. If you’ve got an infant in the house, their sleep and feeding schedule may dictate at least one parent’s to-do list; figure out ahead of time who helps older kids with getting dressed and fed, and who’s on baby duty.
Tweak your nighttime routine
The more everyone can do the night before a school day, the smoother mornings will go. Check the weather and pick out next-day outfits for yourself and the kids, letting older children help choose their clothing. Designate a spot by the front door for backpacks, then make sure they’re packed and ready for morning—including any weather gear for the day. In the kitchen, prep lunch and snacks, and refill water bottles, so that you can pack lunch boxes quickly in the a.m.
Use charts to motivate
Make a chart for each school kid in the house—yes, even the littles going to pre-K 3 class—so they can check off tasks every morning. Start with the basics, like getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair, eating breakfast, making the bed, and then customize for your own household from there (filling the pet’s water bowl, etc). At the end of the week, reward a perfect checklist by allowing your child to choose a family weekend activity.
Keep the kitchen stocked with wholesome, easy-to-prepare foods for the whole family. For 12-36 month-olds, Aussie Bubs™ Australian Goat Milk-based Toddler Formula, made with plant-based omega 3 (DHA) and omega 6 (ARA), prebiotics, vitamins and minerals, is a convenient and nutritious beverage to help start the day off right. Let older kids grab their own food from the fridge—think overnight oats, hard-boiled eggs, or fresh fruit and yogurt.
Build in buffer time
Minimize drop-off drama by plotting who needs to be where, when. If your little bubs is going to childcare at one location and your big kid is heading to the local elementary school, allow for morning traffic, weather delays, and backups at the school parking lot.
Even little kids can have big feelings about a new school year. Help get them excited for the transition by asking them to list three things they’re looking forward to and write it down on a notecard or piece of paper. Then display it prominently on their bedroom door, at the kitchen table, or near the bathroom mirror. If you’re schoolbound kids aren’t reading yet, periodically read their list aloud to them as a reminder of this exciting time.
Continue treasured summer rituals
Ease into a new routine by keeping some favorite parts of the old one. If you took summer morning walks with the kids while the baby slept in the stroller, keep the ritual but shift the timing to after school. If it happens to fall during your baby’s mealtime, bring along a bottle of water and a serving of Aussie Bubs Goat Milk Infant Formula for on-the-go goodness.
Create new school-year traditions
Here’s one: At the end of every week, gather the whole family for a bookbag show-and-tell. Encourage kids to share the week’s drawings, projects, or “My day” reports from their child care provider. Have fun with it! As parents, you can share items that represent your week too, whether from work or from home. Think of items infants can “present” that reflect their week, as well: Did they get a new binky? Grow into a new diaper size?