Nothing feels quite as daunting as that September (or late August) rush back into the classroom, but some moms seem to approach back to school with effortless organization and ease. (How do they do it?) We studied their habits—and picked up a few practical tidbits that’ll help you nail your new routine.

walking to school
fstop123/Getty Images

They Schedule a Practice Run

Back-to-school jitters are normal no matter what, but they might be especially rampant this year as many children return to school in person for the first time. If your kid is nervous, drive or walk them to the building the day before, so they can see where they enter, what the playground looks like, etc. PureWow Editor-in-Chief Jillian Quint also adds, “I like to tell them there’s going to be a surprise note in their lunch box the next day, so they have something to look forward to.” (Editor tip: You can write your note on a napkin or better yet—on a Ziploc® Brand sandwich bag so they’re bound to see it.)

kids looking at treasure map
Westend61/Getty Images

They Turn the First Day into a Treasure Hunt

Take things a step further and turn the first day back into a game. “Make a little map of your route to school, with certain markers called out—hop like a bunny to find your shoes; look out the window to spot a billboard with a cat on it. Include a surprise just before arriving (a new mask, gel pens, whatever will make them smile). It can help get them out the door and excited, rather than anxious about the unknown,” says Executive Editor Candace Davison.

Sponsored ziploc parent hacks back to school category
Ziploc

They Stock Up on Lunch Supplies

Ah, meal prep. It always sneaks up on you, right? Get your assembly line in order now with sandwich bags from Ziploc® Brand that feature Grip ‘n Seal technology—an extended tab and textured, easy grip seal that makes it easier to open and close the bag (great for kids!). Whether for school or work, these baggies are perfect for keeping sandwiches and snacks as fresh as when you packed them.

Buy Now

boy coming home from school
Jessica Peterson/Getty Images

They Create a “Drop Zone”

Make sure each kid has a place for their stuff at home—a hook for their backpack, a charging station for their laptop and a drawer or box for their completed assignments. “I also have a clean and dirty mask bin—since they have to wear a new one every day, it makes it easier to keep track and not lose them,” says Jillian.



mom and child working at desk
Arthur Debat/Getty Images

They Set Up a Physical Inbox

Speaking of zones, place an “in tray” in the kitchen for all the school notices that need signing, birthday party invites that need remembering and electric bills that need paying. Train your kids to place anything of importance in this spot—or, if they’re little, empty their backpacks and do it yourself.

kid updating calendar
Kate_Sept2004/Getty Images

They Hang a Kid-Friendly To-Do List on the Wall

It’s as simple as picking up a wipe-off board or customizable chart and writing out the easy-to-complete steps that make up your kid’s morning routine. This way, when they walk into the bathroom, they can see at a glance that they need to 1) Brush their teeth, 2) Get dressed, and 3) Brush their hair. The result? They’ve got some marching orders and feel empowered.

parent and child coming home from school
FG Trade/Getty Images

They Have Conversation Starters at the Ready

The after-school pickup (or school bus drop-off) goes something like this: “How was school?” you eagerly ask. “Fine,” they blankly respond. Instead of leaving the conversation there, try more specific prompts: “Tell me something funny that happened today” or “What was the most surprising thing you learned today?” These questions essentially force them to give you an answer. (Hello, that’s the goal.)

From Around The Web