Back-to-School Sanity Savers

Get your family ready for a new school year with these sanity savers!

I cherish my little dumplins more than my own life, don’t get me wrong, but by the end of two months of summer vacation at home with them, I’m shouting, “Be gone!” while stuffing their oversized backpacked-selves onto the bus.

I know you understand, and if you don’t, you’re made of stronger stuff than I am and I need tips.

Getting back into the school routine can be tricky after a lazy summer without alarms and consistent schedules. To make sure that we are ready for each day, we have a few Sanity Savers we focus on to get everyone where they need to be with minimal fussing and fighting.

Watch my live Back-to-School segment here.

Get your family ready for a new school year with these sanity savers!


Sunday Planning – starting the week with a plan that everyone in the family has access to is top of my list. I’ve tried whiteboards, cute chalkboards, and just a plain old calendar. All of them work just fine. The key is keeping the family calendar in a space that everyone can easily see each day.

I like to write out a few things on our family calendar every Sunday:

  • School information – special classes like PE or art days, library book due dates, after school activities, hot lunch days
  • Events – mine and Tom’s work schedules, sports practices, family events, holidays
  • Meals –One of the questions I’m asked the most is, “What’s for dinner?” As soon as my oldest son, Jackson, learned to read, I started writing down our week of meals on the family calendar. Now, he’s in charge when anyone asks. Delegation for the win.


This may seem totally crazy or totally inspired, but we don’t do electronics in the morning or the afternoon until all the “must dos” for the day are done.

Must Dos:

  • get dressed
  • brush teeth
  • make beds
  • quick tidy of their room (make beds, pick up towels and dirty clothes).

Once all these things are done without the distraction of electronics, my big boys can come downstairs and watch some TV while we get backpacks and lunches together and they eat breakfast.

By keeping the reward at the end of the routine, these boys’ feet move a little faster to get their tv time in.

I notice that if mama ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy. Setting the tone of the house is important in the morning. Sometimes, if I remember or if there is serious grumping going on, I’ll turn on some loud, fun Kidz Bop music to make the mad morning rush a little more fun.


Mornings go pretty smoothly around here because NO ONE is missing that bus or else Mama is going to shame everyone, including herself, by being seen in the drop off line in jammies and my big-hair-don’t-care.

However, afternoons can fall apart quickly when we don’t have a routine. The kids come home tired and hangry. I tend to work in the afternoon while the baby naps, so I can be distracted when the big boys get off the bus.

It can get hairy, but there are a few routines we have that help. Like the morning, there are no electronics until after homework is completed.

  • Snack – I usually put out a big snack right when the kids come home, usually fruit and peanut butter, veggies and dip, or granola with yogurt. Here’s the key – no lollygagging and putting off eating or their dinner becomes a battle.
  • Downtime – eating and decompressing after a long day makes everyone happier. Sometimes they go sort baseball cards or play outside or we just hang and chat for a while.
  • Homework – Aside from reading every night, which the kids do before bed, we do homework pretty quickly after snack. Saving homework for bedtime is a recipe for disaster in our house. Who the heck wants to talk fractions after dinner?

Get your family ready for a new school year with these sanity savers!

Even though I’ll be singing and dancing my way to the bus stop, I will miss my little silverback boys. Just remember that no matter how your year begins, give yourself grace and time to get back to a new routine.

Also, grab another cup of coffee and ENJOY IT in the quiet.

Get your family ready for a new school year with these sanity savers!

Hoping you have the best school year yet!

Love Norah Pritchard


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