Getting Back into the School Routine

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Ten tips for helping Families get back in the groove as they prepare for the upcoming school year.


1. Reset the Clocks

Start practicing your daily routine including wake up time and bedtime before school starts so your student can get plenty of rest in order to tackle the school day’s demands.

At least a week before school starts, move up bedtime by 15-30 minutes. Then be sure to wake them up earlier as well.

Give them a reason to get up earlier. Plan some fun activity outside in the early morning sunshine to help reset their internal clock. They will gradually fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier.

Reset their homework clock. Start by setting some time aside in the evening to go to a “homework station” and practice numbers, reading or other skills

2. Establish Goals

What does your student want to accomplish this year? What would you like your student to accomplish this year? These are things to consider when setting goals.  In order to set reachable goals, it is good to know the S.M.A.R.T. way to set goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

Specific: Be clear and don’t leave room for guessing,

Measurable: Make a goal where the progress can be tracked.

Attainable: Ask yourself if your goal is attainable within your time frame.

Relevant: Make sure your goal is meaningful to you.

Time-bound:  Set a “due date” for your goal.

3. Get Calendars Aligned

Parents and kids should review schedules together before school starts.

Find out what time school starts and ends.

Find out times and dates of extracurricular activities your kids will be involved in.

Include on the calendar vacation days and other special events. Parents should make a plan for who will handle any carpooling, childcare and taking children to all after-school activities.

Plan who will prepare dinner, help with homework, pack lunches and handle bedtime preparation and other needs. Record this on the calendar for easy reference.

4. Create a Routine 

Set times for different activities your family takes part in, whether it be chores or family game night, make a routine of it.  Involve kids in the planning and decision-making.  Have them help you decide when to do homework, chores or other activities.  If they feel they had a part in the decision, they may be more likely to follow through and cooperate.

Set mealtimes, wake up and bedtimes, leaving and returning home, homework time, extracurricular activities, chores and bedtime activities.

Prepare for the next day. This could include setting out clothing to wear, making lunches, gathering homework and signed permission slips, etc. to take back to school and loading backpacks.

Set up a place for homework time where there are supplies needed for homework.

Create a place to store artwork, school keepsakes, certificates and other special school memorabilia.

5. Brainstorm Meals and Snacks

Start now collecting ideas for fun lunch box meals and after-school snacks.  You can even start gathering supplies, and trying some of the recipes out to see how well the meals are received.

Create an afterschool menu or list of the snacks available that day and make sure children can easily access it so they know what is available to them.

6. Hunt for What You Have

Check for clothes packed away and in dressers to assess the amount of clothing your student has for school.  Then check you drawers, offices and closets for school supplies that you might already have. After everything is gathered, bring it all together and make a list of what you need.

7. Gather What You Need

After you have hunted for the supplies you need, start looking through ads to find coupons or deals on school supplies and clothing. Then venture out to gather what you need. The earlier the better so there is a good selection and to guarantee you will get what you need.

8. Follow the Rules

Go on your student’s school website or visit the school and ask for forms, applications and a list of rules they have in order for your student to attend.

Don’t forget to find out the dress code and get the needed physicals and immunizations.

Update your student’s emergency contacts.

Pay any fees needed for your student(s) to attend school.

9. Participate in Back to School Activities 

Find out the dates for Back to School night or a meet and greet with teachers. This can help your student acclimate to the change school will bring and give you a chance to become accustomed to the school, teachers and other staff.

10. Take Time to Play

Make sure you plan free time for your student(s) before they start on t homework.  Helping them decompress can help them have fresh minds when starting their studies.


This article was written by Marilyn Albertson – USU Extension Associate Professor- Family and Consumer Sciences, and Fayth Bushman – former USU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Program Assistant, Salt Lake County.

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