Back to School Routines

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Many families across the globe are starting a new school year and are facing the back to school routines.  Mornings can be a time of panic and I have realised no matter how much planning and preparation is involved; morning meltdowns are always lurking behind the front door.  The last 10 minutes before trying to get out the door can resemble anything but the picket fenced moments of smiley happy faces with the Barney theme song playing in the background; and more like grimaces and grunts with the sound of your hoarse voice echoing through the house.

At the start of a new school year in South Africa, Little M and Big Y went back to school after a long break.  New city, new school and new friends were a lot for them to process.  I needed to limit the morning drama.  I drew up this schedule and framed it.  As Little M and Big Y got through their morning routine they ticked off what they had completed with a dry erase marker.


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It has worked amazingly.  There are of course moments where daydreaming with sock in hand and forgotten lunchboxes still occurs.  But this method certainly helped preserve my voice for more ‘I Love You’s’ and ‘Have a Super Day’.

Here is an example of a morning routine schedule.  Add and take away to suite you and your family.  You can choose to make a similar one for the evening schedule if bedtime routine is a constant battle.


  • You can use pictures or symbols for younger children or visual children.
  • Having a watch or clock visible is a great prompt.  Big Y loves his Casio watch and now that Little M is starting school we have a pink one too.  Click on images for affiliates.
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  • As the routine becomes more established tag on rewards if they happen to finish early.  Rewards such as playing with their toys or reading is great and will motivate them to want to finish off quicker.
  • If you find that your child struggles to be alert and active in the morning try adding 5 minutes of physical activity such as stretches and jumping on the spot.  We miss our mini trampoline we left behind in the UK and it would be ideal to purchase an indoor trampoline specifically to get the kids going early in the morning or in the afternoons to help them jump the fidgets out during homework time.
  • Morning routines go much more smoothly if I am prepared too.  So things like having their extra curricular gym bags ready the night before, tuck-shop monies in the bag, homework folders packed away, school clothes laid out the night before and lunch decided helps me in my morning autopilot mode.  Coffee gives me the added boost 🙂

Looking out for the Magic:

Using the schedule actually helps to reduce the anxiety of trying to get out the door on time and frees me up to look out for the magic certain mornings can bring.  So if there is an impromptu snuggle time or an interesting discussion I can relax knowing that once I have given that magic time my focus, the kids will pick up where they left off on the schedule.


Good Luck with the new school year!


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