7 Ways to Cut Down on (or Eliminate!) Back-to-School Stress

How to get organized and create a schedule that works for everyone

back to school stress
Before your little ones go back to school (or start it!) take a look at some of these tips to tame some of the beginning-of-the-year craziness.. Ariel Skelley

 Whether you are new to the whole back-to-school craziness, or a returning pro who could still use a tip or two (or 20!), for some families, restarting school after a long, winsome summer break is often the equivalent of a buck of cold water being dropped on your head. Gone are those lazy, hazy, relaxing days of sleeping late and not worrying about a schedule, only to be replaced with sometimes (lets face it, always!) frantic running around and when-can-the-kids-do-their-homework, how-am-I-going-to-get-everyone-to-practice, what's-for-dinner worries.

Now there is no surefire way to eliminate the back-to-school stress, but there are things you can do to reduce it. Take a look at these tried-and-true, parent-tested tips and ideas and see if any of them can help you to ease the transition into the start of the school year.

  1. Enlist the help of others. A parent network is a busy parents solution. Following the popular "it takes a village" philosophy, a parent network is made up of like-minded parents who are able to pitch in and help each other out when needed, whether it's part of a carpool, babysitting, or even meal sharing. Most parent networks are pretty informal, although some parent groups can be pretty organized. In any case, before the first day of school, talk to your fellow parent network members about the upcoming year and how you might be able to help each other. Compare schedules, routes to various schools -- it's likely that more than a few of you will have some things in common. Even if you don't set something up immediately, it's good to put a note in the back of your head for that time when you just can't fit one more thing into your schedule. 
  1. It's ok to say no! This is the downfall of many parents. No is not an easy word to say. But sometimes you need to, for your own sanity. That doesn't mean  you need to say no all the time, but it is ok to give yourself permission to not take on every opportunity that comes your way. 
  2. Figure out what you do want to say yes to. Are you interested in becoming the class parent? Maybe you wouldn't mind running a bake sale or two. Before the school year starts figure out what exactly you want to commit to it. And then as opportunities come up, be honest about what you do and do not want to do.
  1. Set up a morning routine. Start your day on the right foot will do wonders for the rest of your day. A morning routine (which often has some pieces that are put into play the night before) is a great way to keep your family on track and give your little one some important consistency. 
  2. Set up a meal schedule. Planning meals in advance is a huge timesaver. Obviously you can't plan out the whole year, but having a good slate of recipes to choose from will help you with your schedule and your wallet. 
  3. Set up a carpool schedule. If your neighbor goes to the same place you do every day, why not share the responsibilities? Look around at all the parents at the different activities your kids go to. Does anyone live near you? If it makes sense, approach some of the moms and dads you know about coming up with a driving schedule so you can all get a break sometimes. 
  4. Don't lose your mind if (when!) things go off the rails. There are going to be days where despite your best efforts and planning, things go wrong. You are late dropping the kids off at school, someone forgot lunch, dinner gets eaten at 9 p.m. -- it's going to happen. When that happens, just take a deep breath, smile, and put it behind you. Tomorrow is another day!

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