School is back in session and while most parents breathe a universal sigh of relief, this can also be a stressful time. That stress can filter down to your kids and make everyone feel overloaded.
With a middle schooler and high schooler I have had my share of stressful days. But it is possible to manage the transition with relative ease. Here are 7 tips to make back-to-school season less stressful.
1. Simplify Dinner Prep and Grocery Shopping - Check out Pinterest for simple Crock-Pot dinner ideas. There’s nothing better than coming home to a home cooked meal! Try some of the online grocery shopping alternatives that allow you to pick up your groceries, such as the one offered by Kroger. Most of these services offer some sort of promotional deal when you download the app.
2. Rely on other Parents - Set up a carpooling network that you can rely on in a pinch if you have to work late or can’t make a sports game on the other side of town.
3. Online Shopping is Your Friend - I try to do as much online shopping as possible. I really want to avoid the mall the first few weeks of school! I have ordered everything from shoes to backpacks recently on Amazon.
4. Wait for the Sale - Spending can quickly add up during the first few weeks of school. If there are some items you would like to purchase but that can wait (such as a new lunchbox), wait until after Labor Day and chances are they will be on sale.
5. Take a Day Off - Parents who work outside the home could benefit from a day off while kids are back in school just to knock out all of those last-minute to dos.
6. Teach Kids Responsibility - There’s no need to micromanage everything. Let your kids make their own lunches, set their school clothes out at night and be responsible for bringing you the tsunami of papers that need to be signed.
7. Color Coordinate Your Calendar - My family uses Google calendar and I color code different categories (work/personal/school). This makes it much easier to navigate our busy schedule!
Lastly and unofficially on the list, just say no. Over the years I have volunteered for everything from school silent auction basket coordinator to kindergarten room mom where one of my tasks was to expertly color worksheets (gotta love kindergarten). Volunteer when you can but if you are overloaded, simply say no to volunteering at events or at the school and put your time and resources to good use in other ways and trust me there will be other opportunities all year long. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If your school is organizing a fundraising event, for example, donate items. If you shop at Kroger or Publix, make sure your purchases are going toward your local school. Consider donating clothes and designating the funds to your school via Schoola.com, an online consignment store.
Take a deep breath, focus on what’s really important and an absolute must do and enjoy this new school year. One day your kids will be heading off to college and you’ll miss these days, minus all the forms to fill out!