I still giggle every time I see a Back 2 School commercial, flyer, or advertisement. Thanks to Staples and their creative advertising department.
Of course it looks so easy and relaxing. Only that is TV and we live in reality. Back to school can be a hectic stressful time. Take a trip to any middle school, junior high, or high school on orientation day. The mind is swarming, fees to be paid, money on a lunch account, gym shorts, planners, band, schedules….. Oh dear!
It doesn’t help that in our area, kids are back to school for 3 days and then you get to enjoy a long weekend. How is one supposed to celebrate the end of summer and still remain on a schedule?
Number one: Try not to stress out too much about back to school. If you find yourself tense, figure out what has your stressed. Is it the financial concerns, schedules, or just hectic morning routine?
Morning routines can be stress free with a bit a pre-planning. My theory is….5 minutes at night, adds 30 minutes in the morning. Before bed, set out clothes if you have a child that can’t make a fast decision on what to wear, place your packed and ready to go book bag and shoes near the door. Add a coat and your are on your way out the door. Make lunches the night before and have them ready to go in the fridge. Also take advantage on occasion of the lunch menu the school offers.
Menu plan breakfasts. Instead of on the spot decisions for breakfast create a weekly menu. You and your child will know what is being served each day. Weekends can be your pick meal times. Don’t forget to plan what’s for dinner as well.
Post a list of basic hygiene and chores on the child’s door. This is items that need to be done either before breakfast or before leaving. This could include shower, brushing teeth, making bed, even feeding a pet.
If schedules are the stress trigger, purchase a planner, calendar, or use an online service to coordinate EVERYONE’S schedule. Add everything. It will look very busy and hectic but it will help in the long run. Finding the right system will help, too. I personally prefer a calendar on the refrigerator. I can look at it whenever I am fixing meals, grabbing a snack or just cleaning finger prints off the door. This is also an area where everyone can look to see what is happening. For ideas on different styles and systems check out amazon.com. I recommend www.busybodybooksorganizers.com.
While we are talking about schedules, make sure you are not over-scheduled. Try to create on evening of no activity. Schedule it on your calendar just as you would for any other appointment. This is a great time to do pizza night, movie night or an evening of games. For some people it could be an entire Sunday. Find a time that works for your family and the many activities you are juggling.
Back to school can bring about financial stress. New clothes, school supplies and fees to pay at school are getting more and more expensive. Try to buy items throughout the year. Watch for sales on school supplies and clothes and stock up. As far as fees, estimate what needs to be paid during the back to school rush and divide by 10. This is the amount you need to put in a saving account for the next 10 months. For example: if fees are $200. then you would need to save $20 a month for ten months. When you break it down, it does sound so scary.
Back to school can be the most wonderful time with a bit of pre-planning. So who wants to meet me at Staples where we can dance down the isles while our kids drag their feet in misery. And if you need help with menu planning, scheduling or any just a support group during back to school do not hesitate to contact me!
Share how you are dealing with the back to school madness.