Sending the kids back to school can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Here, we’re sharing tips on making the transition easier — for you and for them!
It seems like we just got used to the routine of summer and now it’s already time to send the kids back to school. This means changes in routine, setting and following a schedule, packing lunches and chauffeuring kids around to after-school activities. Oh — and preparing dinner, volunteering at the kid’s school and keeping up with laundry. For any mom, getting used to a new routine is stressful, but there are some ways to ease the stress and create more time in your day.
Plan meals in advance
Whether you’ve been planning meals for years or you’ve never even thought about it, back-to-school time is the best time to jump on the meal-planning bandwagon (or simply perfect your current system). Each week, set aside a few hours to find some dinner recipes and decide what you’re going to pack in your kid’s lunch each day (here’s how to prepare five school lunches in under an hour). Having a plan in place each week and sticking to it eliminates the daily stress of deciding what to have for dinner and running to the store for last-minute ingredients.
New to meal planning? Here’s how to plan a weekly menu >>
Set out outfits the night before
Before tucking in your kids for the night, decide together what they will wear to school the next day. This relatively simple task eliminates stressful mornings, deters possible arguments and guarantees you won’t be arriving to school late (at least for this reason!).
Give yourself 10 minutes
Start your day off right by waking up 10 minutes before the rest of the family. Take a hot shower, read the paper, go for a short walk or simply have a cup of coffee (in peace!). This time alone allows you to get into a peaceful, relaxed frame of mind and sets the tone for the rest of the day. Kids waking up to a calm mom are also more likely to have a less stressful day themselves, so by giving yourself 10 minutes each morning, you’re doing everyone a favor.
Make a weekly schedule
Each weekend, look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Add any activities that may have popped up and eliminate any that may have been canceled. Decide and set your own boundaries for how busy your family will be during the week. Shelley, mom of two, needs at least two nights per week of no activities so her family can focus on bonding and having fun together. She makes this a priority and has learned to say no to people if it interferes with her two nights of family time.
Stick to bedtimes — both the kid’s and yours!
Children thrive off routine. Though they may put up a fight regarding their bedtimes, deep down they need this structure and routine to function best. Nichole, mom of one, has a strict 8 p.m. bedtime for her daughter on school nights. On weekends, she can stay up until 9 p.m. She herself is normally in bed by 10:30 each night. Having set bedtimes for the kids allows you to be able to accomplish tasks in the evening. Just make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye, too!