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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 will help you nail your new routine.

mom and son crosswalk school routine
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They Schedule a Practice Run

One day your kids are sleeping in until 10 a.m. The next, they have to be dressed and ready at the bus stop by 6:50 a.m. sharp. Talk about a shock to the system. Help your family get back into their school routine by having them wake up to an alarm (weekdays only!) at least two weeks before school starts. Does this mean an earlier-than-usual summer bedtime? Yep. Does it mean they’ll be less groggy on their first day back in the classroom? Absolutely.

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They Stay Two Steps Ahead of the Mess

Moms who nail back-to-school season always come equipped, specifically with Wet Ones® Antibacterial Hand Wipes. To combat messy hands, keep a canister in your car or gift one to your child’s teacher so they can tackle mishaps when they happen. Bonus: Sneak a single packet into your kiddo’s lunchbox so they can wipe their hands after eating. Don’t worry, Wet Ones never leave little fingers feeling sticky.

kid updating calendar
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They Choose the Right Calendar System

Logistics, logistics. Whether you prefer a shared Google calendar, color-coded wall display or fancy app (Cozi is a great one for keeping events and activities all in one place), sort it out and get a system in place before the school year begins. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself—and your family—struggling to keep track of everything from soccer practice schedules to parent/teacher conferences. And once you’re behind, it’s a domino effect.

to do list for kid
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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.

mom and kid working at desk
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They Set Up a Physical Inbox

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. This way, post-bedtime, you can find all of your household paperwork, all in one place.

mom welcoming kids home
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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.)

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