Back to School: Starting Routines

Starting routines for back to school time

Hey guys it’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for me to start back to posting on Wednesday. Last year we participated in Playful Preschool and this year I am participating in the Early Childhood Education Team. You will still get the free themed hands on play activities that I have been sharing with you all, but we will now be focusing on all early childhood education instead of just preschool. This first month we will be focusing on the basics and the first topic that we will be talking about is School Prep.

For my family prepping for going back to school starts with routines. I always start back with our night routine to get into the groove of things. A good night routine will make a morning routine run smoothly. We start our back to school routine the last week of the month before school starts. This year I am using a printable that I got from ABC’S to ACT’S for free. A visual for the kids is very helpful in reminding them of what they must do next. (Just think about the Getting Things Done method of planning your day.)

I have our night time routine laminated and posted on the wall in the girls room. We follow it every night completely in the weeks before school starts. When we do well with it I find that letting my girls stick a star on the sheet in the morning when they wake up really motivates them to do it again the next night. I use to do it for them before I walked out of the room but then once they got the star, one of them would get out of their bed and be ready to play or whatever they wanted to do. So I changed it up to them being able to do it for themselves in the morning. This has stopped them from getting out the bed and it saves my sanity from the constant night playing. They take turns with the stars, we use colored stars pink for one girl and purple for the other. This helps them to identify who’s day it is to add the star to the printable.

After about week of doing our night routine I introduce our new wake up time. (This actually happens kind of naturally for them because we start going to bed a little earlier.) We kind of keep with the same summer wake up routine where they do Cosmic Kids Yoga, make their own bowls of cereal, pick up room (they always spend time in the morning playing before coming downstairs),and then ready themselves for the day. Only thing is that I am waking them up a little earlier. During the summer I just let them rise when they want no later then 11 A.M. So long as we keep the same morning routine then it seems like they don’t notice that they have woken up earlier.

Then after about 2-3 days of waking up at a certain time we start our morning school routine. That’s where we cut the TV off and they start to spend more time in the playroom helping me turn it into a learning room. This starts to prepare them for the time that will be spent in there without any distractions.

This is really all that I do to help my children transition from relaxing summer to getting into the back to school groove. I find that introducing the change weeks before helps them to get use to the change before school starts. Once school starts everything is kind of like natural to them. When I find that we are struggling with an aspect of the routine I slow it down and reintroduce it at a later time or I change the way I introduce it.

Personal Work Box Decorating

Part of our back to school prep for my toddler and preschooler was decorating their weekly work boxes last year. In their weekly work boxes you will find all the little parts that they are going to use throughout the weeks lesson (eg. Manipulatives, writing utensils, learning cards, ect.) Because it will be used throughout the school year and it’s theirs alone I let them decorate it how they like. Last year we used  shoe boxes and they chose to paint them.

work box2

Work Box

Due to the timing of this post we haven’t decorated this years work box. I love letting my girls have their own individual work boxes. It stops them from fighting over materials and saying this is mines, no this is yours not mines. You know how it goes. We still have a sharing box of materials with glue, crayons and all the other sharables, but the work boxes are nice to have for individual work spaces.


As usual I have a video that we have watched and that my girls like. This time I am sharing “Wake Up! Daily Routines Songs for Kids”  from Dream English Kids. My girls have been singing this in the morning lately. I like that is reminds them of some of the routine things that they have to do in the morning.



If you want to see how last year my new preschooler prepped herself for starting school then click here.

Child Led Paint Session

More Preparing For School Tips from the Early Childhood Education Team:

26 Responses to Back to School: Starting Routines

  1. Amanda says:

    Yoga before bed is a great way to help kids calm their bodies. We have got out of the routine of doing yoga and I’d like to add it back in!

  2. The personalized work box is a neat idea. It is so much more meaningful that way!
    Jodie @ Growing Book by Book recently posted…Back to School: Setting Literacy GoalsMy Profile

  3. we do the same things – start earlier bedtime routine and waking earlier about 2 weeks before school starts so it’s not a shock! I love your decorated box idea too!

    Happy school year!
    susen @Dabbling Momma recently posted…What’s the Missing Number?My Profile

  4. Clarissa H says:

    I love how your kids decorated their work boxes! That is sch a great way to get them excited about using their own materials!
    Clarissa H recently posted…How to use Preschool Busy BoxesMy Profile

  5. Kim says:

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
    Kim recently posted…Preparing a Hands-on Preschool at HomeMy Profile

  6. Devany says:

    The reward (star) in the morning is a fantastic idea!

  7. Danielle says:

    Great tips! Love the personalized work boxes!

  8. Theresa says:

    That is a great idea to do a wake-up routine song. It makes it more fun to get going in the morning. The work boxes are really fun too!
    Theresa recently posted…Starting Kindergarten-Books & ActivitiesMy Profile

    • Natasha says:

      We are some singing people in this house. If I can find a song for every part of our day (i think I have), it would be nice to have as reminders.

  9. Cerys says:

    Love the box idea 😉
    Cerys recently posted…Supporting Preschool at homeMy Profile

  10. Alecia says:

    I am a total believer in establishing routines and although we homeschool, having a night time routine really does pave the way for a smooth morning.
    Alecia recently posted…Back to School Tips- 4 Ways to Prepare for SchoolMy Profile

    • Natasha says:

      Yes it does, cause no one wants a cranky kid during the day. Especially if your homeschooling them cause then you have to work just that much harder at getting the day on track.

  11. Routines are so important, both for parents and kids. We’ve started getting back into our school routines, too. Love the addition of yoga!
    Mary Catherine recently posted…Make Back to School Books to Ease the TransitionMy Profile

    • Natasha says:

      Lol! Funny that you say both parents and child cause I think that the routine is more for me then them sometimes. The yoga helps to keep the mornings quite and relaxed. We added it this year and I love it so far.

  12. Thats a great idea!!

    and we do so love to paint

  13. I LOVE the idea of individual work boxes! Kids can take ownership through awesome creativity! Lovely ideas for back to school. Thank you.
    The Preschool Toolbox recently posted…Back to School Tips for Parents PLUS Printable Morning Chart!My Profile

  14. Colleen says:

    Routines save my life — SUCH great tips!
    Colleen recently posted…Lapbooking with Gifted ChildrenMy Profile

  15. Thanks for connecting with us on Good Tips Tuesdays. Your submission was selected to be featured this week!
    Sherryl @ SimplySherryl recently posted…3 Ingredient Slow Cooker Ranch MushroomsMy Profile

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