Back to school hacks to save your sanity.

Helpful back to school hacks for parents

I originally published this last year to help parents prepare themselves and their kids for back to school.  Of course, things have been quite rough for everyone these past few months, causing a lot of undue stress for both parents and children.   It might feel too soon, but these back to school hacks help establish a routine beforehand to promote a sense of stability, safety, and familiarity.

Back to school hacks

Just thinking about all the minutiae involved in the few weeks before, during, and after school starts is enough to make you want to stick your head in the sand until next summer.  Not to worry, here are some tips that will help you to save time, money, and your sanity.

10 back to school hacks to save your sanity.

1.  Make a list.

  • If you wait until the end of August, most stores will start MARKDOWNS on their clothes by about 30%.  If your kiddos don't mind wearing last season's fashions, you will get better deals the longer you wait.  So, make a list of what they need so you don't break your budget.  If their gear looks gently used, they can hold out for a few weeks until you can get the markdowns and save yourself some cash.

  • Check to see if they need BASIC UNDERGARMENTS such as underwear and socks.  My children seem to go through socks and underwear like their snacks and sweet drinks. it just me, or do your kids' socks and underwear seem to disappear into thin air?

  • Be sure to do an INVENTORY of their clothing.  Make one checklist of clothes you need to buy immediately and one for clothes you can buy for later.  This will not only save you time, but also takes the guesswork out of what you need to purchase when go on your shopping trip.

2.  Use a store app.

If there is an app for the places you like to shop, you can download them for free from your phone.  For example, here is how the Target app helps you stay organized and saves you time and money.


    • Download the Target app from your smartphone.  It will prompt you to register beforehand so you can customize it before you use it.  You will be able to use the Target Circle feature that gives you discounts on tons of items throughout the store.

    • Create a shopping list with the List tab.  It keeps you organized and even tells you which aisle each item is located and whether or not they are in stock.

    • Have your items shipped for free to your home with a minimum purchase.

    • Or pick up your items in the store or brought to your car for free.

3.  Have your kids sleep earlier.

If your family is anything like mine, the kids have been sleeping a lot later these past few summer months.  It can be difficult to adjust to a school schedule if the sleep pattern is changed abruptly.  If you have kids of different ages, your children probably get up at different times.  My oldest has to get up earlier than my middle child because he is in middle school.  My middle son in elementary school doesn't have to get up as early, so we allow him sleep in a little longer.  Here are a few tips to get your kids used to their new sleep pattern.

    • Start sleep training one week before school starts.

    • If your kids have been sleeping really late, start getting them up one hour earlier than their summer sleep pattern.  Stick with this for a couple of days.

    • Gradually add an hour earlier to their sleep schedule and stick with it for a couple days until they are able to wake up with enough time to prepare for school. This resets their circadian rhythms so they can have a consistent sleep pattern.  By the time school starts, they will wake up with more energy and focus.  This ensures that they have enough time get themselves mentally and physically ready before class starts.

4.  Set your alarm earlier.

Give your children enough time to get ready.  Chances are, they've were more than glad to get rid of their school routine once summer started.  They will need time to turn their routines into habits again.  Here are some tips to help the morning rush run smoothly.

  • Start a few days before school starts.

  • Make a list of tasks, such as:

    • get dressed

    • eat breakfast

    • clean up

    • brush your teeth

    • get your school materials ready

  • Have them practice their routines so they perfect them by the time school starts.

5.  Assemble emergency kits.

You can reate your own emergency kit quite easily.  Be sure the kits include enough food, water and supplies to last a few days.  Here is a list of what you can include in their kits.

    • Emergency contact numbers

    • bottled water

    • non perishable food items

    • a used sweater

    • a small blanket

    • mini first aid kit

    • small towel

    • hand sanitizer

    • small pack of tissues

    • small pack of wet wipes

    • emergency medication

    • small game like a deck of cards

    • family photo

6.  Use the calendar app on your phone.

This is one of the back to school hacks I can't function without, especially during these times.  I use it to stay on top of all the dates and appointments for me and my whole family.  You can use it to schedule important meetings, due dates, events and holidays.

7.  Have your children prepare their lunches the night before.

School lunches are not always the healthiest or budget friendly choices.  Making lunch the night before gives you more control over what your kids eat and it does not have to break the bank.  We trained our kids to do this exclusively by themselves when my middle son was six years old.  You can have your child do this at a younger age if they like to help.  This saves so much time during the day when your kids have to stay focused on their classes and school work.

sliced bread, back to school hacks

8.  Prepare the first day of school outfits the night before.

This is such a huge time saver, especially during back to school week.  Preparing outfits the night before school saves those precious minutes in the morning and keeps things running smoother.

  • Have your child prepare his or her outfit.

  • Include any undergarments such as socks and underwear.

  • Inspect all clothing, including shoes, for any holes or wear.

9.  Create a checklist for each child for before and after school.

Each child will have different activities and schedules, so create each list accordingly.  Be sure that they can easily see them so they don't lose track of what needs to get done.  They can use this list starting the first day of school.  Here is an example of tasks you can create for your child to do right before and right after school.


    • get dressed

    • eat breakfast

    • clean up

    • brush teeth

    • check for changes in schedule

    • check for papers to sign


    • complete all homework

    • check for any teacher or school updates

    • check-in for any after school activities

If you're like me, you don't like to constantly remind your children complete their tasks.  Having a check list will save you and your child some precious time so that you can spend it on more important things.

10.  Make a strong pot of coffee and breathe.

Back to school hacks are not just about the kiddos!  This one is for all you hard working moms and dads.  It will be hectic for a few weeks, but your routine will be smoother as the days move along.  For now, get that caffeine kick and take in some good ole oxygen into your lungs to help you stay alert and give you that boost of energy.

That's it!  I hope these back to school hacks help you and your kiddos transition smoothly from summer vacation to back to school season.  Let me know what you think and if you have any helpful back to school hacks to share!!

Christine Songco is a registered dental hygienist and the creator of Third Bliss. She is passionate about helping others find their true selves and build a life they truly love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top