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10 Back to School Hacks for Busy Moms

Streamline your family’s back to school season with these back-to-school routine hacks for moms.

If there is one word that describes the back to school season, it’s BUSY. Am I right? As a working mom mom, I get it—it can be pretty chaotic. I love a good mom hack—things that are easy to implement, super effective, and make life easier all around.

Related: How to Make Mornings Less Hectic

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Back to school means there is a lot to remember, figure out, and focus on for both parents and kids—it can be a huge adjustment even for preschoolers and toddlers heading to daycare.

As such, getting back in the swing of things can be overwhelming. And the one thing that helps cut down on the back to school freakouts all us moms have at least once is preparation.

Getting as much organized as possible ahead of time (such as with this simple family command center), will make life easier when all those back to school to-do’s fall out of the sky. It’s something I have found to be true time and time again, but also something I am still working on (thanks to my regular hot mess mom status).

For me, a big part of back to school organization is setting up our back to school routine. As our son gets older, it changes how mornings around here work. I’ll be honest—I still am rushing out the door a good chunk of the time but it makes a huge difference when I actually set up a routine and stick to it.

Having even a rough outline of a schedule or routine in place can really make things easier. If you have multiple or older kids, it will also help to when the fall sports and activities start filling up your calendar too! Knowing on day one what’s expected from everyone, kids and parents included, can make a household run more smoothly. 

Whether you have kids headed back to school, are a teacher going back yourself, or are just trying to get some ideas for when your littles reach that point, here are some of my favorite back to school routine hacks to help make it through this season and get settled into the swing of things.

Back to School Routines, Tips, and Mom Hacks

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Lay out school (and work) clothes the night before or put together outfits for the week ahead

When I’m really on top of my game, I will roll up outfits for my son while doing laundry on the weekend. That makes it easy to grab one for the next day and not have to think about clothes for the rest of the week.

Try laying clothes out where your kids tend to get dressed. Right now we do everything in the living room, so when folding laundry on the weekend I put the outfits in a little bin that I keep there.

For older kids you could also have a cart with each day labeled on it, so the kids can easily grab that day’s outfit and throw it on in the morning. When they get older, they can fill those daily outfit bins themselves.

Pack lunches the night before

This is probably the one thing that makes my mornings easier more than anything. Prep everything you can—anything that doesn’t need to be cut in the morning to stay fresher for longer—and just grab and go when morning comes. Bento box style containers are great because they keep everything separate and at optimum freshness!

Have plenty of snacks and easy to eat foods on hand

We are big snackers at our house. Whether it is in the car, as soon as we get home, or I just need a minute to get something done, snacks are often involved.

Keeping snacks readily available helps a lot—and is also great for those mornings where you realize you forgot lunches as you are walking out the door. We love having muffins on hand for both quick breakfasts and lunch additions. Check out over 60 awesome muffin recipes here!

Create a snack tray in the fridge so kids can easily grab a snack themselves (with permission). This is a wonderful way to foster independence!

If you like to make homemade snacks, wrap them individually to store or freeze and add them to the selection as well.

Related: Easy Toddler Breakfast Recipes

Start shopping for school supplies now

There are some great deals that start in the middle of the summer as stores start to put out their inventory. Even if you don’t know which teacher your child has for the upcoming school year, consider stocking up on things every class can use (pencils, cleaning wipes, tissues, etc). Get those supplies now and pick up your child’s particular teacher’s individual needs later.

Pro tip: If you know anyone whose kid was in the same class last year, you can ask them for the previous year’s school supply list.

Implement the kids’ back to school bedtime routine a few days to a week before school starts

There is nothing worse than trying to wake up a kid who has stayed up late AND slept in late all summer long. Give their bodies some time to adjust to getting up early again!

And when I say theirs you know I really mean ours too—whether you are a working mom year round or have able to take mornings slow this summer, adding school drop-off really can throw a wrench in things for any mom, so it might take some time to adjust to the new schedule for you too!

Put your back-to-school routine in a chart

Take the guesswork out of your kids’ school day routine. I always feel less overwhelmed when I can check things off a to-do list. It works for kids too! A visual chart is a great way to help pre-readers and often is easy for preschoolers to adjust to since daily routine charts and icons are used in their classrooms as well.

Related: Printable Visual Schedule for Toddlers

Set up a homework station

While it is unlikely that a preschooler would have homework that requires a desk—and I would probably side-eye any teacher that gave it that young—homework stations are great for older kids. It’s a lot easier to get going on homework after school if kids have a dedicated area that’s stocked with all the supplies they’ll need to do their work.

Another alternative is to have an after-school routine, or an activity station, similar to how Days with Grey uses Breakfast Invitations in the morning, to give your child an instant activity when you get home to help give you time to get settled.

Plan house tasks and assign chores strategically

When deciding on around the house responsibilities, think about what will help you get through the weekdays. Are certain days more rushed than others? Does doing the dishes at night make breakfast easier? Does it make sense to do laundry during the week or all at once on the weekend?

Right now my son is not able to complete any major chores by himself(and can’t be trusted around laundry that has already been folded), but older children could be tasked with chores like folding a load each day, feeding pets independently, or helping to clean.

Do a little every day

If weekends seem overwhelming with housework and like you have no time to relax, try doing a little each day. This is one of the hardest things for me, because all I want to do is collapse on the couch in front of Netflix after getting our son to bed.

Those little things that pile up if you don’t spend a few minutes a day taking care of them!

Give everything a home

Again, something I am working on. Having a home for everything cuts down on clutter and makes day to day living so much easier (a message I know but am having to seriously work towards). I am eagerly looking forward to the day when I know where everything is.

Don’t just let the kids toss their backpacks and shoes next to the door. Hang hooks, set up shoe cubbies, or create a family command center. Do whatever you have to do to keep the clutter to a minimum. Clutter breeds stress and the back to school season is stressful enough!

So, who’s ready for the first day of school?! It may not be perfect (and let’s not shoot for that anyway) but by using some of these hacks we can make it through, and start counting down until the next vacation!

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