Houston Moms’ Back-to-School Hacks for a Successful School Year

The entire process of getting Back to School ready can seem insanely overwhelming.

Did you get enough sleep? What time is drop off? Where IS drop off? Do you have your backpack ready? Where are your shoes? For the love of God, get your shoes!

All the details, all the needs, all the stress. 

Relax. Houston Moms is sharing some Back-to-School hacks that women on our team swear by that make their lives a bit easier.

And you’ll definitely want to check out the latest episodes of The Cold Coffee Club, hosted by Jenny & Ashley, made specially for you, to learn about a few need-to-know tips for back to school!

Armed with these tricks and a little encouragement from your fellow Houston moms, we hope you’re able to power through the start of a new school year with ease!

Mom Tested and Approved Back to School Hacks 

 Have your kids sleep in their clothes because it took them forever to get dressed in the morning before school. -Lindsay G.

I pull out a week’s worth of clothes/outfits on Sunday so I don’t have to deal with it each morning. Also, we made cubbies for each kid out of an old cube shelving system so they have a spot to put their backpack and lunch box so I don’t have to track them down. – Lauren M. 

***This one is HUGE for teachers: Have the kids practice eating their lunch at home, in the time they will have at school, and make sure they can open and close everything themselves. -Dani B.

This is a bit much, but I also make my own Uncrustables and freeze them. That way if I get busy and need something quick, it’s already made. I use the crusts to make French toast muffins too. -Ann H.

If they are reusing a backpack, which is most likely the case for us, I throw the backpacks in the washing machine before school starts. Something about starting off the year with a clean, non-funky backpack. I also mentally prepare for the onslaught of paperwork that comes in the first week. I give myself a pep talk “ok, Vicky. Grab a smooth writing pen, make a cup of tea, a fun little snack, and sit and get through those forms!” -Vicky Y.

We like to do a First Day of School walk-through the week before school starts. We go through the entire morning routine, make sure everyone grabs everything they need (lunches and all) and head out the door. We drive to school and act out the drop off process as best we can without traffic and other parents dropping off. Once we’ve finished the routine, we head to the park and play and talk about how awesome school time will be! Especially after having homeschooled last year, we will definitely need a little practice! -Ashley KB

Make sure you have taken out your child’s lunchbox from last semester 😉 Highly recommend a run through the dishwasher. Many of the insulated bags can be easily put in the dishwasher (who knew?), so this is a weekly practice for me. I wipe them out daily but every Friday I run them through the dishwasher to get off all the funk from that week. -Meagan C.

Not the first day but for the end of the first week – plan nothing. Order pizza on the first weekend night and chill. Everyone will be moody and tired! -Kim R. 

More things to do in the morning and more cars on the road results in longer prep and longer travel times. So, I get my own Back to School clothes ready for the week! It helps me get the kid to school on time and get me to work on time! -Joi B


Turns out they eat snacks in 1st grade – I didn’t know. Cue really upset 6 year old. We made a snack box and that was part of her routine chores after breakfast. She was responsible for choosing one pre-approved snack and putting it in her backpack. -Kirsten C.

Keep the mood light in the morning that first day/week for everyone’s sake. Even if someone has done something that warrants disciplining, save it. Let things slide. They didn’t put their dishes in the sink? Don’t say anything. They left the milk out? Just put it away. Try to show as much grace as possible because it’s stressful enough. – Vicky Y. 

Shoes like this for the kids who aren’t quite great at tying shoes yet. Both for their sanity and their teacher’s. -Christy G. 

This year, I’m putting a checklists out for him. I make them on Canva, and laminate them. One in his room and one by the garage door of everything Jack needs to do/have before he goes out the door:: dressed, brush teeth and hair, socks/shoes, lunchbox in backpack, backpack on, water bottle, etc. You know, just creating some SOPs for my kid. Hahahahaaaaaa. -Ann H.

We also do the clothes thing for the first several weeks of school where we pick out a week’s worth of clothes and hang it up in the closet. Five hangers for Monday-Friday for the five outfits. We even pick out my daughter’s bows and clip it to the dress/outfit she’s wearing. After a few weeks, it organically just changes to picking out clothes the night before once everyone gets the hang of things. -Vicky Y. 

We always go out for ice cream on the first day of school. And GOOD ice cream- in a giant cone with ALLLL the toppings, hahahahaha. My family always did this when I was growing up and it was great because no matter what kind of day you have, you have something yummy and fun to look forward to at the end of it. -Bethany D. 

One of my best Back to School hacks involves eating and sleeping schedules. Since we get the schedule early, I try to move lunch time at the house towards that time to help adjust to not having food at his disposal. Getting back into the swing of things is hard. We push bedtime up 30 minutes 5 days before school starts because while the “getting up” isn’t hard, the “getting up and functioning” is hard to get doing again. -Whitney P.

We totally start the new schedule 1-2 weeks beforehand. This means lunch at the time he’ll eat it at school, push bedtime up each day to get ready. We also walk the route to school a few times before to remind him of the routine. – Whitney P.

Make lunch for the week on Sunday night to save time, and have a First Day Basket with school related gifts and/or special after school snack to help motivate reluctant/nervous students. If they are riding a bike to school, have them practice the route before the first day. Start inching back towards regular bedtime a week before school and have a homework area set up for kids to focus on school work. -Ugochi E. 

If you are sending your baby to Kindergarten for the first time, there are a lot of places you can get matching sweet bracelets (or really just string and a heart charm). Give it to your Kindergartener the night before they go to school and tell them that you will be wearing yours that entire day too. So anytime they get nervous or anxious or they are missing you, they can look down at the bracelet, and be reminded that Momma is thinking of them too. For my son, I took a sharpie and drew a small heart on his palm and put a matching one on mine. -Meagan C. 

Most of our fosters needed a plan for the week, so we’d pick out all of our clothing for the week on Sunday (laundry day), and label our hangers, so she knew what she was wearing every day. (Heaven bless his school uniform). -Kirsten C. 

I take my teens to a coffee shop, and we chat and have fun. -Andrea P. 

One of my favorite Back to School hacks is that we organize and restock the snacks in the “snack cabinet” to last for weeks for three kids and make sure there’s enough stuff for them to choose and pack for school snack time. I don’t want to run out of anything those first several weeks. I also meal plan dinner the first several weeks too. I typically try all year long but some weeks I’m on it, but mostly, I’m not on it. But for the beginning of school, I try to be really on it, because it lessens the back to school stress for ME. Too much mental effort to think of what to make for dinner when three people are coming at you with papers, forms, questions, stories, complaints, etc. -Vicky Y. 

Plan to take the day off (from work) or have a light day for the first day or 2 to (re)adjust to the schedule. -Tiffany B.

If you don’t want to splurge on the higher end bento boxes with separate areas for food, you can also take just a normal tupperware rectangle and put muffin or cupcake liners to help separate the food. Although, I love a good Bento Box. Make sure you test your Bento Box prior to sending it off to school to make sure it’s truly leakproof. -Meagan C. 

What are some Back to School Hacks that have been true lifesavers for you?


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Ashley Black
Ashley KB was born in Long Beach, CA, but spent most of her childhood in Denver, CO. She was very athletic growing up, and she loved running track and playing volleyball. Ashley ventured to Oklahoma where she attended Langston University and transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma. Ashley graduated with an English degree from the UCO in 2011. Ashley was married to A.J. for six years... but it just didn't work out. And that's OK! They have three wild, precious, hilarious sons, Oliver {October 2012}, Maverick {August 2015} and Reeve {August 2017} who make life so incredibly meaningful. She also has a snuggly fur baby, Luna. In her free time, she can be found binge watching The Office {for the millionth time}, listening to inappropriate podcasts, or oversharing on Instagram @theofficialbossmama and her personal blog.


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