27th August, 2019

Our Top 10 Tips for a Stress-Free Back to School Routine

By Joe D

The glorious summer holidays are slowly but surely grinding to an end. For your child, that means school is right around the corner. For you, it means a last-minute dash around the shops for that one pencil case your child “has” to have.

Getting back into the school routine can be a little jarring, both for you and your child. That’s why we decided to share our top 10 tips for a stress-free transition.

These will help make that first week back a breeze!

1) Set bedtime habits

Sleep is essential for your child. Without it they won’t be able to concentrate on their work, they’ll be restless, and, let’s face it, they’ll be a nightmare.

Over the holidays, you probably got a bit more relaxed with bedtimes. After all, if your child doesn’t go to bed until the early hours of the morning, they can just sleep in the next day and recover.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to work when it comes to term-time. But suddenly forcing your child back into a regular sleep schedule can be difficult.

The key is to build up their bedtime habits gradually. In the last couple of weeks before school, start bringing forward their bedtime. Do it slowly but surely, and your child will end up developing a healthy sleep pattern without even realising it.

2) Practise your morning routine

boy lying on bed

One of the worst things about the back to school period is actually getting your child to wake up and function in the morning. This problem becomes even worse if your child doesn’t particularly want to go to school.

A good way of preventing these morning woes is to practise your morning routine in advance. A few days before your child returns to school, wake up and act like your child is going to school. Like a fire drill, but far less scary.

Treat it like a game. Tell them they need to complete all of these tasks before a certain time. You could even follow them with a stopwatch, as if you’re a coach.

Running through their morning routine helps your child get used to it. When they start back at school, they’ll know exactly what they need to do.

3) Get your uniform ahead of time

There’s nothing worse than getting your child ready for their first day of school, only to realise their shoes don’t fit.

While it might be tempting to leave school uniform shopping until the last minute, that can add unnecessary stress to an already stressful time.

The obvious solution to this is to go uniform shopping with weeks to spare. We know it’s a pain but take your child with you and make sure they try it on so you can be confident that it fits.

Also, if your budget can stretch that far, be sure to buy a few extra items. You’re going to need them when your child comes home covered in mud, food, and lord knows what.

4) Buy everything your child needs

Kids “need” a lot of stuff when they go back to school. Pens, pencils, calculators, a bag. The list can often seem endless.

The last thing you want, however, is a child refusing to leave the house in the morning because they don’t have their protractor.

The best way of avoiding these meltdowns is to make sure you buy everything your child needs long before they go back to school.

Try to combine this shopping with the uniform shopping above. One slightly stressful day now is far better than a really stressful week later on.

Related: The Ultimate Back To School Checklist

5) Prepare lunch the night before

a mouthwatering sandwich

The morning of the first day back at school is going to be hectic, no matter how much preparation you do.

One way to make the morning go that slightest bit smoother is to prepare your child’s packed lunch the night before.

In fact, you could go one step further and enlist your child’s help. This will teach them the basics of food preparation and give them a bit more responsibility.

They’re also more likely to eat their lunch with no fuss if they’ve helped make it themselves. Here are some great packed lunch ideas.

6) Plan out your schedule

The relative peace of the Summer Holidays is going to end very quickly when your child returns to school.

They’re going to have after-school clubs and play dates, which you’ll need to fit around homework time, other hobbies, and your own schedule. If you have more than one child this becomes even more complicated!

Planning out your schedule in advance will help you to juggle all of the different activities, and ensures your child will always be where they need to be.

Use a large family planner and fill in as much information as you can. It might end up looking a little daunting, but it’s a lot better than realising you’ve forgotten to collect your child from football practice.

7) No more snacking

Everyone is a little guilty of snacking more throughout the Summer Holidays. Yes, even the parents!

When your child returns to school, they’re going to find they can’t scour the cupboards for their next snack. This can cause them to feel hungry and lose concentration.

As you approach that first day back, you should start introducing healthy snacks to your child, if you haven’t already. Providing your child with the likes of fruit, nuts, and yoghurt can work wonders for their focus and concentration.

It might also help to eat lunch at home at the same time they’ll be eating lunch at school, just to get their stomachs back into the routine.

8) Do some stress-busting

girl doing meditation in garden

If you feel that you and your child are getting increasingly stressed in the run-up to the first day back, then you aren’t alone.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can reduce the stress that you and your child are feeling. Why not try some of them out together?

Some popular techniques include deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. These will help calm you and your child down, reduce anxiety, and prepare you mentally for what’s to come.

You might also find that you have a lot of fun doing it.

9) Have a final fun day

The Summer Holidays are packed full of fun activities for the family to enjoy. Going back to school marks the end of that fun.

One way to make it a Summer worth remembering is to go out with a bang. Plan a really fun day, packed with activities and games, to mark an end to the holidays.

Let your child make suggestions and join in with the planning. The aim is to unleash every bit of energy your child has at once.

Give them so much fun that they won’t even care about going back to school.

10) Make it a celebration

Rather than see this as the end of the holidays, why not see it as the start of a new school year? That sounds like something worth celebrating.

Sure, it’s a little stressful, but it’s also exciting. Think of all the new opportunities your child has. New things to learn, new experiences, possibly even new friends. It’s exciting!

Plan a nice family activity, like a meal or a day out, for the weekend after the first week back at school.

This gives you and your child something to look forward to, and turns a potentially negative experience into a positive one.


Take a deep breath, put your feet up. The back to school period is often stressful. But if you follow some of the tips we’ve shared, then it might at least be more bearable.

Above all, remember that it won’t last forever. After a few weeks your child will have settled into the school routine, and life will carry on as normal.

You’ve got this!

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