There’s this buzz in the air by late summer. It’s the sound of families trying desperately to enjoy those last few days of wonderful weather mixed with the busy hum of grocery and stationary stores stocked with back to school basics. It’s the kind of buzz that gets you a little excited, but also can drive you crazy like the cicada’s loud call from the trees in the summer heat.
The build up to back-to-school can be stressful with your “to do” list growing steadily. Here’s some tips to get that list done with minimal stress.
Make a realistic shopping list
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for stationary even though I haven’t been in school for some time. I’ll take a new shiny notebook and a brand new pencil and eraser to the checkout any time. Don’t get caught up in the lure of new stuff. Take an hour to review clothes and school supplies to make a list of what your kids really need before heading out shopping. Then put a limit of what you are going to buy: either based on a budget or just on a sheer number of new things, like only 5 new stationary items. This way both you and your kids prioritize what is really needed.
Create a homework hub
The one thing I definitely dislike about all that stationary is that seems to dissipate across our home over the course of the year. Most of it lands in a “junk drawer”, as a mix of usable and unusable pens, dry markers and bent paperclips by June. To make homework, and prepping for school days easier, put all the supplies you need in one place so there’s no searching for that last pencil that still has an eraser on it. Use mason jars to wrangle your writing utensils, or a back-of-the-door organizer like one you might use for shoes, to make everything to find and organize after it’s not needed anymore.
Make your own goals
Much is said about sitting down with kids to talk about the coming school year and what their goals are or should be. But what about parents? Take a moment to decide what will make September, and the months after, easier for you. Can the kids help with breakfast in the morning? Do you want to be sure to ask your kids one or two key questions everyday after school to see how things are going? How many after school activities can both you and your kids handle without feeling like you are rushing all week? This follows the important practice of self-care. If you are stressed and overwhelmed yourself, you likely will pass that stress on to your kids. The goal is to find a way that everyone has responsibilities, that hopefully they enjoy, to make school days run smoothly. My kids love the Bacon, Egg and Tre Stelle Bocconcini Breakfast Bowls. They are an easy and fun recipe to make with your kids, and they taste great! Need some more inspiration for you breakfast? Try one of these great breakfast recipes.
Make sure everyone is eating right
Eating properly is important in our home and I know that even I can’t focus if I’m hungry or haven’t eaten properly all day. I used to think cooking on the fly daily was a fun challenge – since I love to cook – but with kids, I now understand breathing space that prepping snacks and meals on Sundays for the week brings. Snacks particularly, so that everyone, even adults, has smart eats to grab even in a rush. Pack up snacks in bulk, like cereals, pre-cut fruit, cubes of mozzarella or provolone cheese and crackers, mini muffins and more, so that they are easy to grab from the fridge.
Have a prepping party
I’m a big fan of turning a chore into something fun, or even a race. And if you find packing snacks and school bags a chore – really, who doesn’t? – then it’s time to get everyone involved, no matter how young they are. Get everyone in a room to sort out clothes to wear, backpacks to pack, lunch boxes and more. Set a timer, like 2 or 3 popular songs, and dance or sing your way to the end.