How to Keep a Routine (and Stay Sane) During the School Holidays

Every time a school holiday rolls around and our regular routine goes out the window, I come down with a case of severe forgetfulness. 

That is, I forget that I always go insane when I’m away from the comforting structure of the school year, and am at home with my kids for a few weeks. 

There is a part of me that always thinks beforehand “Ooh, school holidays! This will be wonderful for everyone! We can relax as a family!” 

And yet, no school holiday has ever worked out the way I imagine it to. I struggle to stay sane and loving and patient. The lack of routine always screws me.

Within a day or two, we are climbing the walls, fighting, losing the will to carry on, and all semblance of a schedule goes out the window. 

…Kids’ YouTube and Netflix play on an endless loop and I start to hear Blippi’s theme song in my dreams. 

…Mealtimes go from structured and somewhat healthy to finding half-eaten packages of crackers shoved between couch cushions. 

…I go from enjoying non-work time with my kids to a stressed-out, short-tempered crazy person who has taken to hiding in the bathroom so I don’t have to watch one more “play” my kids are putting on. 

This year, I’m sticking to a routine and keeping my sanity

With that being said, I’m determined to make it different this year. We’ll be spending most of our school holiday in northern Michigan at my parent’s house, which means not only will our normal routine be switched up, but I’ll be doing it in a different location, too.

Changing the game every once in a while is healthy, though. It’s good for me to loosen up a bit, and it’s good for my kids to get a break from their school year. They really are smart, funny, enjoyable little people, and keeping a loose routine will help us all enjoy each other a lot more.

Read: 8 Quotes About Early Risers That Will Inspire You to Get the Heck Up

So I’m putting together an action plan for my motherlovin’ sanity. Because the thing is, if I’ve been left to my own devices and without a typical routine, I tend to get scatterbrained and overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be some rigorous schedule- just a loose routine I know we can fall back on, and change as needed. 

I’ve been reading what I can on Pinterest, mom blogs, the advice of friends, and parenting magazines. It’s helped me come up with this action plan – and I’ll report back at the end of the school holiday with a report on how it went! 

My “Stay Loose, Stay Sane” Routine for School Break:


  1. Stay on my early rising schedule

I’m an early riser, and I love it. It took me ages to get used to, but now I crave the quiet time before my family wakes up, when the apartment is dark and silent and my coffee is still hot. Waking up early is rarely an easy task for me, but it’s something I hold so dear that I have to keep it in my normal routine. This is a major case of filling my cup to the brim before trying to fill my family’s cup. 


  1. Meditate. 

Along with the stupid-early wake times (seriously- try it! You don’t know til you know) I’ve come to rely on a short meditation every morning. I use the Insight Timer app, which is free and packed to the rafters with guided meditations. It also has a timer you can use with customized sounds to meditate without guidance. I adore it. If you use Insight Timer, make sure you add me as a friend! 


  1. Spend 15 minutes tidying up before bed

Clutter and mess makes me feel anxious and irritated. It’s amazing what 15 minutes cleaning can do for my brain. Even when the mess of our apartment gets me down, I set the timer for 15 minutes and clean as much as I can.


  1. Bake more

Confession: I’m actually a terrible baker. It’s never been my jam – easy dinner are where it’s at, yo – but baking with kids is a fabulous way to bond and pass some time. Plus, it’s an easy mess to clean up. I like baking these cookies with my kids. 


  1. Pick one thing to do out of the house every day. 

We have to get out of the house at least once a day or I’ll go nuts. And running errands doesn’t count. We don’t get the chance to go to playspaces or things like that during the school year, so it’s fun to check them out over break. Puppet shows, bowling, indoor playspaces, the library, 3D movies – all fun stuff we’ll add to a shortlist, and then we’ll choose one thing to do each day. 


  1. Stay present. 

Guys, this one’s hard for me. But I’m getting better (meditation helps, I swear!) It’s hard to settle into the craziness of motherhood in the school years. I feel like my brain isn’t stretched as much as it used to be. I’m tired. I miss peeing alone. But that old adage of ‘the days are long and the years are short’ is seriously, depressingly true, so I’m going to enjoy even the craziness while I have it. 

I’d love to hear from YOU! What are your go-to methods for staying on routine during school break, and not succumbing to the crazy? Leave me your ideas in the comments! 

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