Back-To-School Routines

Heading back to school after summer break can be a challenge for many families. Here we share ideas on how to make the back to school transition easier.

Back-To-School Routines

Helpful Tips for School Success

Heading back to school after summer break can be a challenge for many families. One key to success is establishing a routine and sticking to it. Here we share ideas on how to make the back-to-school transition easier.

Starting the Day Right

It is important for children to begin the day feeling positive about themselves and the day ahead. An example of a morning routine is:

  • Make decisions about who gets who up in the morning, and what time the child and/or adult needs to get up in order to be ready on time
  • Get dressed
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Brush teeth, wash hands, practice healthy hygiene
  • Get lunch packed, or put already made lunch in backpack
  • Double check for books, backpacks, supplies
  • Review after-school schedule with child

Some ways to make the morning routine go more smoothly are:

  • Greet each child in the morning with a smile or positive statement
  • Avoid nagging, yelling or negative statements to get them up and going
  • Some parents get up and get ready before the children in order to not feel rushed or stressed. This helps on those mornings when there are unforeseen problems that arise or a problem in the schedule that was not anticipated occurs
  • Avoid sugary foods for breakfast
  • Establish a no TV policy for the morning routine, or no TV until breakfast is eaten and the child is dressed and ready to go

After-School Routine

Families have to decide which after school routine fits their needs. If children are involved in extra-curricular activities, then the routine may be very different. Regardless, there are important rituals regarding homework and school-related business that needs to be done daily. Therefore, when the homework gets done is not as important as establishing a policy or procedure for making sure the work gets done. An example of an after school routine is:

  • Provide a healthy snack, but not too close to dinner
  • Allow some “unwind” time; younger children will want to be physical, older children may want to watch a program on TV or talk on the phone
  • Check the backpack for school papers (for young children), and review assignments/homework, projects etc. Add any important dates to the family calendar.
  • Provide a space for the child to do their homework. (Since learning styles vary, the environment for studying or doing homework may be different for each child.) If the child is easily distracted, remove or turn off distractions.
  • Have child make lunch (if applicable) for the next day while dinner is being prepared

Some ways to make the after-school routine go more smoothly are:

  • Avoid overscheduling a child with extracurricular activities
  • Spend time each day with the child discussing their day

Evening Routine

Evening routines help children feel secure, get organized and feel some control over their anxieties and worries about school. Ending the day on a positive note benefits all members of a family. An example of an evening routine is:

  • Check assignments/homework and notes from school
  • Supervise loading backpack and put the backpack in a designated space
  • Pick up toys/ games, etc.
  • Bath time or shower – brush teeth, etc.
  • Pick out clothes for the next day- include everything from shoes, socks, undergarments, dress, pants, top, jacket, hat, etc.
  • Set alarm clock (if applicable)
  • Read to your child or have them read to you
  • Get them to bed on time

Some ways to make the evening routine go more smoothly are:

  • Letting young children “help” in some decision making, such as picking out clothes, may help the child be more cooperative
  • Children who dawdle may need more monitoring during the evening routine, and time adjustments may need to be made
  • Parents need to be involved in the process for routines to work
  • Limited TV time is recommended
  • Make a check-list of your evening routine and let children check off the completed task
  • Even with older children, discussing their task lists and daily chores lets them know you care
  • The sleep habits of a teenager changes during this time due to the onset of puberty and physical changes that continue throughout adolescence

For additional tips on creating an environment for your child's school success, see our related resources section below. To learn more about the Tulsa Health Department's Child Guidance program, click here.