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Back to School Bootcamp
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Back to School Bootcamp

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After a spring of remote learning and a summer of having no real schedule at all, our family has gotten very relaxed in our routine. Without school to guide our mornings and no real sports activities to guide our evenings, time seems to stall and evaporate all at the same time.

In ordinary times, it always takes a few weeks – if not a month – of school to get into a good routine. Not to sound dramatic, but I don’t feel we have that option this year. With a hybrid learning model, limited sports activities returning and two parents working from home, the fall is bound to get intense. Which means we need to work on getting into a better routine starting now. 

This year I’ve implemented a Back To School Bootcamp of sorts to get the kids (and us) mentally prepared and logistically wired to handle the upcoming season.

Here’s are some things on my B2SB timeline list if you’d like to see…


3 Weeks Out

  • Have the kids research a drivable destination, lunch options and activities to do for a day of fun.
  • Get all school supplies and label. 
  • Check backpacks, order new if needed (we like this one with a padded laptop compartment and this one with a laptop compartment and cool fabric)
  • Clean out the mudroom closet and prepare space for shoes, hats, coats, etc.,
  • Have kids go to bed 30 minutes earlier and wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Make a grocery list of things to buy in bulk and for make ahead recipes for busy mornings and evenings (this granola recipe is a big favorite as is this turkey meatball dinner).
  • Clean and edit the kids closets. Order and replace outgrown clothing as necessary.

2 Weeks Out

  • Plan something fun to do outside.
  • Have kids complete their summer book reading & assignments.
  • Clean closets and drawers. Make sure sweatshirts and coats fit.
  • Prepare remote learning zones in the house.
  • Visit the Container Store for all the things like this cart, this supply lazy susan and these clear bins for easy to see paper and book storage.
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes and designate as reading time. Do this once a day.
  • Set a timer for 60 minutes and designate as learning time. Do this once a day.  (Khan Academy offers some great, free tools for preparing and learning.) 
  • Have kids make their lunch daily.
  • Spend an afternoon preparing and freezing soups and meals.

1 Week Out

  • Do something extra fun to salute the end of an odd summer.
  • Set kids clocks 10 minutes ahead without them knowing.
  • Have kids practice planning their outfits for the week ahead with the help of the child Hanger Valet.
  • Model good behavior by planning my outfits ahead with the adult Hanger Valet.
  • Set and commit to regular weekday bedtime routines.
  • Set sleep timers on devices (we use Circle) to get kids off electronics 1 hour before bed.
  • Prepare disinfecting zone and protocols in the car and garage for days they go to school.

First Week of School

  • Enforce bedtime routines and schedule.
  • Walk through schedule of remote learning. Share my work schedule with kids so they know when they can interrupt me and when they can not.
  • Machine wash backpacks (this Real Simple article has great tips).
  • At the end of the week, reward a good effort or great job with a night of takeout, ice cream, movies, putt-putt, the beach or doing something fun.


For reference my kids are 12 and 9 so things like making lunches and researching destinations to visit are within their skillset. Whatever your children's ages, there are ways to age appropriately get them prepared for the change that comes with earlier wake ups and more structured days. 

Above all, the name of the game here is to create a calm transition and position us to better acclimate to the big changes ahead.

To those that have already gone back to school, what advice, tips and tricks do you have to share? I’m all ears!