Whichever way you’ve spent the school summer holidays, and however you did or did not manage with the juggle of working and caring for your children, the time has come to get your kids back into a routine for school. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as putting them to bed early the night before school and waking them up on time for their first day back. Oh no! Remember, not one single aspect of parenting is practical or straightforward, and they, our precious children, are not robots. So here is the procedure that works for me every time and how I get my kids back into a routine for school.

How To Get Back Into A Routine For School After the Summer Holidays

benefits of a school uniform

School Time Routine vs Holiday Routine

I am a huge fan of routine, and so are my kids. I’m not the most organised of mums, and I’m certainly not a very organised housewife. However, I do believe that my kids need routine, and so do I. Their routine is good for me.

During the week and term time, I like to stick to our regimented routine. However, we all let the usual routine slide a little during the school holidays. Instead, we adopt a more relaxed routine; we swap early mornings and a strict bedtime for a lie-in and an evening movie; we go from having breakfast as soon they wake up followed by getting dressed to a biscuit in and then a late breakfast in our PJs and then getting dressed for the day. It works for us, and we all enjoy a more relaxed routine of sorts.

Your Back To School Routine Requires Planning Ahead!

When it’s time to get them back to school routine, I like to plan. With military-like precision! My main focus here is to get their sleeping pattern back on track. Tired kids = grumpy kids: grumpy kids = a tired mommy. Everyone loses! You can’t have that during the school term, or we’re all just going to be short-tempered and miserable!

The same can be said for parents requiring child care, both regular and drop-in sessions. For many, it can be massive stress finding care that suits both you and your little one. However, for parents in Australia, life is made simpler through child care-finding tools such as Toddle. Parents can search nearby for child care centres in their area, shortlist their favourite centres and contact them directly.

Here is the exact procedure I use to get my kids back into a routine for school!

Back To School Routine: Step 1

On Saturday night before they are due back to school on a Monday, I make sure that they go to bed by 08.30 pm, as opposed to the holiday bedtime of 09.00 pm. They may not be tired because they would have only woken up at around 08.30 am, but it’s all about trying to get their sleeping pattern back on track.

Back To School Routine: Step 2

On Sunday morning I make sure they are awake and up by 07.30 am. My eldest has always been an early bird so this is usually fine for her, but my younger one enjoys her sleep so I usually have to wake her up to meet this 07.30 am!

Back To School Routine: Step 3

That day I try to make sure we go out and do something active and burn off any excess energy. Ideas for this include a trampoline park, bike ride, or even a long walk.

Back To School Routine: Step 4

On Sunday I also like to get them involved with the back-to-school preparations such as getting their school uniforms out, making sure their shoes are clean (it’s probably too late by now to check that everything still fits), and pack their bags if they are taking them.

Back To School Routine: Step 5

By Sunday evening their whole typical school term routine is back on track. Dinner by 05.30 pm, bath & hair washing done by 06.30 pm, and then TV time or family time until 07.30 pm when they need to go to bed. They can read until 08.00 pm. An early night, but they will most likely not fall asleep straight away thinking about the day ahead of them so factor in a little extra settling down time.

I’m not going to lie and say there isn’t some whining and arguing about how early they are ‘forced’ to go to bed and what a terrible mother I am. But I promise you, within minutes they are asleep. Despite their protests, they both like the familiarity of their routine. I’m also lucky that they both love school too so they look forward to going back to see their friends and teachers.


Back To School Anxiety

In previous years, depending on the length of the holiday my eldest can struggle with a little back to school anxiety. This normally manifests itself in a sore tummy the night before they go back to school. On the morning of their first day back she will then typically have some made-up wardrobe crises or an argument with me about her hair or something else. I never really know what she’s going to kick off about, but when it happens, I try to remember what it’s really about.

This is going to be exacerbated in 2022 by the fact that my eldest daughter is starting high school this September and so that brings it’s own set of issues to deal with. I have some additional advice about how to help your child with anxiety, written by Victoria, Child Psychologist from Emerging Parent.

My only advice here is to stay calm, not argue back, and keep your voice at the same level. I’m never very good at pandering to paddies, but I do try to carry on as normal and let her just blow herself out. I understand why she does it. By the time we actually arrive at the school gate she’s completely forgotten what happened earlier that morning and runs off to catch up with her friends.

Helping her manage her anxiety is another reason why I do believe that a good routine is good for them and for me. If we can be organised, prepared and well-rested, then any upsets or anxiety tantrums won’t make everyone late.

I hope you found this post helpful. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m an advocate of the importance of a family routine. If you did enjoy it, please share this post with your family and friends. If you have any tips or advice for how you get your kids back into a routine for school please drop them in the comments below.

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