21 Sep 2023

Back to school habits and routines for families

2 minute read

The start of a new academic year presents a natural opportunity to review and reset family routines. There are often some changes to our schedules because of a new term, and getting back into the swing of a busier pace can be tricky after a summer of sunshine and slower days.

Kate Galbally is a professional organiser and productivity coach who knows what it’s like to keep a family home running smoothly. A working mum herself, Kate shares her tried and tested habits and routines that can help you and your family incorporate some gentle structure to term time. 


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Aim to minimise movement between upstairs and downstairs as this can be distracting and waste time. It can be helpful to keep some toothbrushes and hairbrushes downstairs and have shoes and jackets near the door. Try to gear everything towards leaving the house with minimal fuss. 

A simple morning checklist that everyone can refer to helps children become more self-reliant and develop organised habits for getting themselves prepared for the day ahead.

After school

A quick check of school bags as soon as kids are home is an opportunity to check for any paperwork, homework or school-related admin. 

Giving children a snack and drink as soon as they get home gives you a chance to do the schoolbag check and gives them a vital energy boost before homework or after-school activities. 

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An organised day begins the night before! Preparing uniforms, snacks and lunch, filling & chilling water bottles, and putting any extra clothing or equipment (i.e. PE kit, outdoor learning clothing, musical instruments) into bags lets you check that everything is ready and saves last-minute stress in the morning. 


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Investing half an hour at the weekend to check schedules and fill out a family planner pays dividends through the week.

I like to use an undated one that doesn’t have column headings, as I don’t use it during school holidays and prefer to put column headings that are specific to my family. It’s displayed on the back of a cupboard door so that it’s easy to refer to but not cluttering up the front of the fridge.

Our planner has a column for each child, showing what they have on at school on specific days i.e. PE, outdoor learning, Bikeability, as well as extra-curricular activities. It also has a column for any other general info, one to show who is dropping off and picking up from school and another for dinner.

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Taking a minute at the weekend to check that there is enough clean uniform to last the week means no panic on busy weekday mornings. Depending on the size of your family, processing a daily load of laundry can keep laundry baskets from overflowing and means you’re only putting away one load at a time. If everyone can put away their own, even better!

Kate Galbally of Better Organised, is a Glasgow-based professional organiser & productivity coach. She helps busy families to declutter, organise and simplify their homes and lives so that they can make space for what matters most. 

If you'd like to find a Professional Declutterer and Organiser in your area to support you with family habits and routines, visit our Find an Organiser page.