How Lists Save My Sanity



She’s making a list,

writing it twice,

gonna find out who’s naughty and who actually does things right the first time.

Ok so my back-to-school jingles could use a little refining, but honestly so could my kids’ responsibilities.

Summer is a time of unstructured chaos around here, as it should be. But when the school year comes back around it works best for all of us if we take less of a drunken sailor steering the boat approach and transition back to taking orders from your captain.

Every August I incorporate two of my favorite things back into our lives, list-making and bossing people around.

I’m not sure who appointed me to this management position, but try as I might I cannot find anyone else willing to take on my responsibilities. As long as I’m CEO of this household, the before and after school checklist will live on.

How many mornings do you find yourself repeating the same things over and over?

Brush your teeth.

Pick your clothes up off your floor.

Where’s your backpack?

Do you have a water bottle?

Seriously, how do you lose ONE shoe?

The list goes on and on.

If you’re anything like me, the answer to this question is approximately 1,000. So for the sake of my sanity and vocal cords, the before and after school list was born.

This is a list of all the things I found myself repeating both morning and evening. A list of all the things my kids know they’re supposed to do but somehow forget from one day to the next (truly a mystery). A list that saves me from repeating myself and sets them up for success during their school day.

My school-aged children are 7 and 8 so these are the things that work for us. But you can create a routine that works for your family.

Before After
Make bed Empty backpack/hang-up
Get dressed Shoes organized
Eat breakfast Read book/chapter
Dishes in dishwasher Unload dishwasher

Kellan: M-W-F                    Harper: Tu-Th

Brush teeth Pick up toys in living room

Harper: M-W-F                    Kellan: Tu-Th

Fill water bottle & put in backpack Shower
Dirty laundry in hamper Laundry in hamper
Hair brushed/done Lay out clothes for tomorrow
Clean mask in backpack Bedroom picked up
Chromebook Brush teeth
  Water bottle on kitchen counter


kids chore chart

As a mom of three, I am all about the sanity savers, and this is a huge one for us. This keeps our weekdays running smoothly and allows me to save my patience for the weekends when my tiny tyrants will undoubtedly resume rocking the boat.

What saves your sanity during the school year?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here