My kids go back to school in 11 days. 11 days. As I sniffle and wipe my eyes mourning the end of summer, it’s time to start preparing my kids for success for the upcoming year.

This is the first year I’m sending 4 kids to school and 1 to preschool. That means 4 out of 5 days I will have the mornings kid-free. (The emotions of that alone are enough for several different posts!) With 5 kids getting on the bus at 7:07 A.M. there are certain things that just need to be done or the whole day is going to be a mess! 

Here are my 4 mom tips to prepare for a successful school year:

1. Get enough sleep!

Without sleep, no one functions to the best of his or her ability. At my house not enough sleep equals cranky kids or cranky mom or cranky kids and cranky mom. No one wants that!

When kids get enough sleep they are ready for a new school day, are able to concentrate in school and are much more fun to be around! Moms, too!

2. Use a planner and check it first thing in the morning and before you go to bed at night.

Some people like digital, I love paper. It doesn’t matter what kind you use, as long as it works for you! I like my Erin Condren planner because it not only has a monthly layout but a weekly layout that is divided up into 3 categories that I use for appointments, things that need done around the house, and my blog.

It is on the pricey side so you might find something cheaper but I’ve found this planner works the best for me at this point in motherhood (after trying planner after planner and being frustrated over and over again!)  I love that it fits in my purse and I take it with me everywhere. It works for me, please do what works for you!

(If you are interested in the Erin Condren planner, by using my code you will save $10 off your first order and I will receive $10 in credit for a future order- win for all, right?)

To utilize your planner make sure you put in every event that the school sends out that relates to you.

This fall my oldest daughter is a student manager for the varsity volleyball team, is playing Junior High volleyball, marching band, going to Washington D.C., youth group, etc.

Every time I get a text, calendar, make an appointment or receive a note about any of these events I add it into my planner. I do this with each child and because I have a large family I color code what I put in the planner. Maddie is purple, Nora is pink, Blake is blue, David is green, Arianna is orange. When it’s all 5 I use a red pen. 

For those of you who think color coding is confusing, it’s not. Choose the color that is your child’s favorite color and after you use the system for a week or two you will have it down.

This saves my sanity knowing what appointment is for who, where each kid is, where they need to be and what we have going on throughout the week. It also saves space in my planner by not having to write out their names.

3. Be careful about what you say “yes” to!

As parents we get asked to be on committees, to add additional activities for our kids (and for us) and the list goes on and on.

It’s important to choose the things that you love (or those that your child loves) and not to over commit to things that neither of you love.

Be choosy!

You will all be happier when you aren’t bombarded with activities all of the time. Just because the activity or organization is good, doesn’t mean it’s good for you!

4. Develop a simple morning, after school, and evening routine. 

Start with a simple routine and then you can add to your routine after you have it established and it is working.

A simple morning routine for my kids is: get up, shower (if needed), get dressed, eat, brush teeth, grab backpack.

Their after school routine looks like this: grab a snack, chill for 30 minutes, do homework.

Evening routine is eat dinner, shower (if needed), charge electronics (Maddie has a Chromebook that she takes to school each day), pack backpack, lay out clothes, brush teeth, go to bed.

These routines even work for non-readers. All you need to do is to do a Google search to find some clip art and make a list. For morning use pictures of an alarm clock, bathtub/shower, a shirt, bowl and spoon, and a backpack with the words next to them. Target usually has cheap clipboards in the dollar spot that work really well to clip it to. Laminate the list and give them a dry erase marker to cross it off. My kids like routine and the list helps keep them on track.

These are my very basic 4 mom tips to prepare for a successful school year. What would you add to the list?

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Hi! I’m Jenny! I grew up on a farm in between the 2 small towns of North Loup and Scotia, Nebraska. I spent my childhood chasing cattle, laying out irrigation pipe, bottle feeding bucket calves and racing turtles at Popcorn Days. My husband, Jason and I live on a farm south of Kearney and I am blessed to be a stay at home mom to 5 energetic kids and wife to my favorite farmer! Our oldest daughter is 11, our boy/girl twins are 7, our son is 5 and youngest daughter is 3. I created my blog, Women With Intention ( where you will find tools for living your purpose, managing your home, saving money, simplifying, growing your faith, loving your family and relationships, and embracing the season of life you are in. I believe that each woman can have it all, but not necessarily have it all at the same time! I'd love to connect at my blog, Facebook (, Pinterest ( or Twitter (@womenwithintent).