Mighty Blog

Tips for getting kids back into a routine for school

Written by: Siboney Brambila-Villalobos, equity and inclusion student intern for the marketing and communications team at Children’s Minnesota.

Summer is coming to an end, and school is right around the corner. Parents might be ready for kids to go back to school, but kids might be all over the place. A routine will help parents and kids transition back into school.

Setting a routine for kids is very helpful when going back to school. Setting a routine can also be hard! Kids have many different emotions toward school, and a routine can help ease their feelings.

kid at school

What are the benefits to setting a routine before school starts?

Routines can benefit kids and parents since everyone may have a different schedule once school starts. It can be difficult to know what schedule works before trying one out. Seeing what schedule works for parents and kids before school starts can lessen the stress for everyone.

Routines need to be consistent for kids to be able to adjust to their new schedule. Establishing this consistent routine before school starts can make starting school easier by decreasing the number of changes during this transition.

Elements of a successful routine change

  • Set a routine a few weeks before school starts so the family has time to adjust to its new schedule.
  • Be as consistent as possible around waking time, meal time and bedtime.
  • Allow for or build-in transition time between activities.
  • Schedule in free time. Don’t over-schedule!
  • Have a process for changing the routine. Your initial plan may not work!

Things to add to your routine

When making a routine you should include your kids and add activities they enjoy. Allowing them be part of making the new routine will motivate them to stick to it. Here are some ideas:

  • Wake them up around the time they would normally get up for school. 
  • Have them get ready for the day once they’re up. 
  • Eat a nutritious breakfast. 
  • Avoid electronics and screens one hour before bedtime. 
  • Send them to bed at a good time and be consistent with the time.

Be prepared for the first day of school

Waiting until the last minute to go school supply shopping or purchase new clothes and shoes can be very stressful for parents and kids. Getting everything ready in advance can ease parents’ stress and help kids look forward to going to school.

Here are tips for preparing for the first day of school:

  • Before going to bed, make sure they have everything they need ready to go for the morning. 
  • Clothes should be laid out and everything they need can go in their backpacks. 
  • Have lunchboxes or lunch money ready to go for them. 
  • Talk to kids about how they are feeling about going back to school.
  • You can only address the worries that you know about!  

 After school routine

Having a routine for kids after school is just as important as having one before school. Giving your kids structure throughout the whole day will help them be organized and feel better about the next day. Here are some ideas:

  • Plan for any after-school activities.
  • Make sure they have time for themselves and free time.
  • Set a time for homework.
  • Send kids to bed around the same time so they are well rested for the next day.

Transitioning back to school after a fun summer can be hard, but setting a routine in place a few weeks before school starts will make it easier for both kids and parents.