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5 Ways to get a jump on back to school madness

Jill is a sometime runner and expert wine taster from sunny San Antonio. She has a degree in social psychology, one husband and three children. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Babble and she's regular...

It's only July, but it's not too early to prepare for the school year

Moms of the world are letting out a collective sigh of relief… or maybe that's a big ol' groan of despair in unison. However you look at it, school is out. Summertime is in full swing.

It doesn't matter whether you’re anticipating summer or completely dreading it because you're going to blink and it will all be gone. You'll be facing fall and back to school head on: making lists, wondering how you’re going to get it all done and also wondering where the hell the time went.

No matter how you feel about the onset of summer vacation, most moms agree back to school time is madness. Here are five things you can do right now to get a jump on your to-do list.

1. Schedule doctor’s appointments

If your child will need booster shots or a sports/school physical, book it now. Don’t wait only to get trampled in the, "OMG I've waited until the last minute and so has everyone else. I need an appointment now. What do you mean there aren't any available until mid-November?" madness. Get on your doctor's calendar now... then go to the pool and have fun.

2. Stock up

You might not get your child's school supply list until a few hours before class starts. OK, I'm exaggerating. A little. Seriously, the mass invasion of your local Target to elbow the other parents in the Crayola aisle may not be something you can avoid, but if you have an idea of what the basics are going to be, get them now. Most students need pencils, folders, paper and a new backpack or lunch box. Grab those items now and minimize your exposure to the frenzied last-minute, back to school shoppers in a couple of months.

3. Ditch the clothes shopping

Maybe it's tradition for you to Instagram a cute picture of your kids wearing spiffy new outfits on their first day of school. Don’t let me stop you. But instead of binge shopping for school clothes in August when you have an attack of, "My kid has been wearing the same two pairs of shorts for six weeks and nothing else fits," why not buy a couple of nice school outfits now? How much can a kid grow in less than two months? Maybe don’t answer that one and buy a little big to accommodate summer growth spurts.

You can always fill in the gaps or stock up once the back to school shopping frenzy has died down. We always plan our year so that we buy the bulk of kids' clothes right after Thanksgiving to take advantage of the Black Friday prices.

4. Get ahead on school lunches

If your kids pack their lunches, take some time this summer to get organized. Stock up on sandwich bags and nonperishable lunch fixings. Beat the rush to buy a cute new reusable lunch bag and plan out a few menus so that what to pack won’t be something you really have to think about. My kids are not sandwich fans so I’m constantly challenged with what to pack. Look for things on sale now that will keep in your pantry and lunches will be a cinch for you the first week of school.

And last but not least...

5. Plan your fun now

If you don't have a summer bucket list, why not whip one together? Don’t let the start of the new school year find you saying, "I wish we would have…"

A few minutes now to get organized and ready will get your summer off to a great start and save you some stress when it’s time to send your little darlings back to school.

Here’s to a great summer!

More on parenting

Back to school: What moms care about, and what they don't
Crafts your kids can do while you're freaking out about back to school
Ways to get your child excited to go back to school

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