6 Things that Make Back-to-School Smooth + Back to School checklist  

As a seasoned Mom of a 5th and 7th grader, well as much as I can be, I feel like I really have a feel on what works & doesn't work through the past several years, to prepare for the back-to-school chaos & make it, maybe, a little less chaos-y. 

Here are some of my tips & suggestions that make every day go smoother throughout the school year & to get ready for the year ahead. Keep reading for a helpful printable check list!

Sigh, look at the young cuties. ;(

1. Have a "Drop Zone"

 This will look different for everyone's home. In my home we don't have a lot of storage so I have to get creative. This is the spot your children will "drop" everything as they get home. My girls are seasoned to this now & its second nature. But, it takes repetition. Having a drop zone keeps everything in one place so book bags, folders & papers don't go missing. Think of homework folders, planners that need to be signed ect.

 This will be their home.

Our zone is also our  "family command center"-- the side of the fridge & the coat closet right next to it. On the inside of the door, I have heavy-duty, XL 3m hooks for backpacks. Next, on the fridge, I have our calendar for quick glance dates, baskets that house the majority of their papers, with a small corkboard above for important papers & a place to display papers they are proud of. The basket gives me a place to go thru papers every night {when they were younger} & a couple times throughout the week as they are older, normally Wednesday & Friday.

I also keep a clipboard for homework & their chore checklists.

2. Have Clear Expectations After School

Whether it is for sports, chores, activities or none of the above having a routine after school. It's crucial you SHOW your kiddos how you want after school to go. Reminders will be needed for a while, so don't get discouraged. Sit down & talk about how you want homework to go. Will you have a snack before? After? During? What is your screen time rules for the school week? Do they have chores? Them knowing what to do & having a routine helps everyone with the rush from after school, dinner & bedtimes when everyone is tired after long days.

As an example, our schedule after school is: immediately go to drop zone, empty backpack, lunch boxes straight to sink & put away. I made these notepads myself to help with independence after school. Having a checklist has proven to be successful for us. At the end of the week, they can hand them in for allowance.
I made it on Canva & printed it on vista print as a notepad.
If you would like this as an editable printable, let me know!

3. What's for lunch?

If your kiddos are going to be packers, whether you are going to be doing the packing or themselves, having a home for everything will make the morning so much easier.
 Again, for every home this will look "different. It could be a drawer, cabinet etc. For us, it's a rolling cart just off the kitchen in the "laundry room". The cart houses pretty much everything we may need. The lunch containers, water bottles, lunch accessories & the lunch bags themselves. 

Looking for more lunch box inspo? Click HERE for a lunchbox planner & breakdown of popular lunch container brands.

4. Hair Caddy/ Station

Getting hair done in the morning can be chaos. With boys or girls. Where's that dang brush? 
I do less hair these days as my girls are experimenting doing their own hair. However, keeping hair supplies downstairs was THE hack for less chaos. 
I know for some that maybe sound crazy to keep it in the kitchen or somewhere downstairs, but I promise I makes it so much easier as you are trying to get out the door. 

Another tip I have is to have 2 of everything. The brush in your caddy for school STAYS there, then you have a separate brush for upstairs or elsewhere. That way your hair supply kit for school is always stays complete, nothing is missing because it was taken after bath time one night & now you can't find it!
I stock mine with a brush, comb, "smooth brush", gel, elastic hair ties, normal hair ties, elastic hair tie cutter & bobby pins.

5. Emergency Pouch

If you are a parent of young girl in 4th grade or higher, this one is for you. Assuming you have already had the talk on the in's and out's of whats to come. Make sure they are prepared. A little pouch for everything they need. I pack a extra pair of underwear, pads & hygeiene wipes.

6. Stay Organized with a Family Calendar

Find a calendar app you like for the whole family to use. We just use google calendar, which is the default calendar on iPhone. EVER.SINGLE.THING is put into the calendar then each family member is invited to that "event". Now that my oldest has a phone even she can input & get them synced to her calendar. Google makes it almost, too easy to keep track of all the activities. You can make a sport or likewise reoccur every week, certain days of the week, once a month, whatever is needed. It also syncs with our Alexa shows.

Other helpful things for Kinder students or new school students:

Do a trial run of car line is you are utilizing your schools instead of bus. Practice getting off their seat belts & exiting the car quickly. For kinder students, the weeks or weeks leading up to school practice lunch if packing. Pack a lunch and have them get used to opening their lunch boxes, opening their drinks etc. 

@mrsmumaw Back to school tips for starting off the year strong! ğŸŽ #backtoschool #organizedhome #organization #girlmom #momhack ♬ original sound - mrsmumaw

Back to School checklist