10 Genius Back-to-School Tips

The School year is quickly approaching and the team here at Corken + Company wants you to have all the best tips to prepare for those hectic mornings. Every parent has that one trick up their sleeve that helps make life just a little simpler amid a crazy school year. Try some or all of these best tips, clever tricks, and genius hacks for a better back-to-school. 

Share the Daily Action Plan:

Laurie Loudenback hands her kids, ages 12 and 14, a clipboard each morning which includes the day’s schedule, chores, and screen time limits. “This chart has been pretty life-changing,” says Loudenback, whose husband Scott designed it. “The first thing the kids say in the morning is ‘I need my chart.’”


Set Up a Master Calendar:

Post a whiteboard with the week’s calendar to keep everyone in the family informed about the coming week. Use color-coded dry-erase markers for each family member’s activities and cold or hot lunch preferences.


Spruce Up Backpacks:

Extend the life of a much-loved backpack by giving it a back-to-school cleaning. Depending on the material, backpacks can generally be hand washed, spot cleaned, or placed in a laundry bag or pillow case and run through the washing machine.

Be sure to empty out all of the pockets and vacuum out crumbs before washing.
If you hand wash it, soak it in warm water for 15 minutes with a teaspoon of laundry detergent.
Rinse well and air dry.


Plan Your Meals:

Steer clear of the drive-thru on hectic evenings by taking 10 minutes each weekend to plan simple meals for the week. With a complete grocery list in hand, head to the store to purchase everything you’ll need. To further simplify planning, Gina Nichols, a mom of four, recommends prepping food when you get home from the store, filing favorite recipes for easy reference, and maintaining a well-stocked pantry. Theme nights like pasta on Mondays, tacos on Tuesday, etc., can also help. Ask your family for their suggestions, too.


Schedule Grocery Delivery:

More grocery stores now offer online ordering and delivery services, helpful for families who dislike grocery shopping or struggle to stick to a budget when walking the aisles at the store.


Establish a Snack and Brown Bag Lunch Station:

Designate a shelf in your kitchen or pantry for parent-approved snacks and lunch items. Tape a list inside the cupboard door with lunch ideas. On Sundays, pre-pack snacks that kids can easily grab like trail mix, pretzels, granola bars, or cereal. Stock the refrigerator with fruits and veggies that have been prewashed and cut, as well as cheese and yogurt sticks. To save time in the morning, help your children make their lunches and pack their snacks the night before.


Stock the Freezer:

1 Meat, 3 Meals


Stretch your meal prep. Prepare a large batch of meat for the week that works in multiple dishes. Try these ideas:


Shredded Chicken


Squeeze on barbecue sauce and put on a bun
Assemble a rice bowl
Add to quesadillas


Ground Beef/Turkey


“Beef up” spaghetti
Make Thai lettuce cups
Fill a taco


Sliced Steak


Make a toasted hoagie with melted cheese
Toss on a salad
Add it to stir-fry




Manage Paperwork:


Every day after school, Sanchez says, her family has a mandatory “empty your book bag” rule. Her children file important documents like those that need to be signed by a parent into an office divider. Label a folder with the name of your child and school year to easily collect artwork and other keepsakes throughout the year. Sanchez keeps her folders in a plastic file box.


Create a Homework Station:


Designate a well-lit place in your home where homework can be completed without distractions. Create a homework caddy stocked with notebook paper, pens, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, rulers, and highlighters—anything your child might need to complete an assignment.



Make a Homework Plan:


If your child struggles with organization, go through their backpack together. Make a stack for the night’s homework and help your child prioritize what needs to be completed first. Use a calendar to help them plan long-term assignments.

Find more back-to-school tips at:


15 Genius Tips for Back to School

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Lori Corken