Back to school is often one of the most stressful times of the year for both moms and kids. We stress and worry about so many details – uniforms, backpacks and lunch boxes and school supplies, finding the class room and meeting new teachers and making sure we’ve got all the logistics organized for getting them back and forth to school, fed and rested, then homework and dinner and bedtimes.
Meanwhile our kiddos are fighting their own fears – worried about finding old friends and making new ones and establishing their place within a new class, building a relationship with a new teacher and new classmates and taking in all the new and challenging information and responsibilities of studies.
Rather than continue with this trend, however, I’m going to tweak our planning to try and make it as stress free as possible. Here’s some of my ideas:
- Organize school stuff ahead of time and recycle/reuse/reduce. Instead of new school bags and all the accoutrements, I spent a bit of our holiday time organizing all the stuff we had in the house still in great condition like last year’s backpacks and such. Once organized, I sorted everything into boxes – reusable or recyclable. Rather than buying tons of new school supplies, we will use up what we didn’t finish with last year and supplement the rest with new items. For instance, I have 8 rulers in my house. No idea how that happened but I’m definitely not buying any more this year!
- Set up a school station near the front door. Set their school bags and a place for homework as well as shoes/jackets/art projects/random gifts/costumes/books and everything else they will be taking to and bringing home from school.
- Give them a place to find their uniform each morning and a place to put it when they get home from school. My girls will leave these lying on the bedroom floor if I don’t make a special spot just for their uniforms.
- Talk to them a few days before about the new school year. What do they think will happen? What are they worried about and what are they looking forward to? Sometimes just voicing their fears/worries can help them deal with the anxiety more easily and also gives you a chance to help ease any unreasonable fears they may have.
- Start a bedtime routine in advance. Slowly move their bedtime up by 15-30 minutes until it hits the correct time for their age. To get my kids into the bed earlier, I give them nighttime reading for 15-20 minutes to help ease the transition.
- Maintain your calm. One of the biggest sources of stress for kids is us - so staying calm is essential. They have an entire year ahead of them and its great to start off with a positive and relaxed vibe. Planning also helps tremendously. If they have their school bags packed, uniforms laid out (don’t forget socks and shoes) in the same place they will find them all school year the first morning will go much easier. I will also make overnight oats (the night before) and maybe warm some croissants for breakfast so that we aren’t rushing to get breakfast and lunches made at the same time.
- Let them make their own lunch. Last year I started a habit of letting the girls make their own lunch and I would say it was successful about half the time. I took them to the market and let them buy all the ingredients – healthy options only with a few snacks to balance.
- cucumber slices
- dried fruit/raisins
- hardboiled eggs
- turkey slices
- thermos soup (warm)
- granola bars (without nuts)
- baked chips/bread
- string cheese or cheese squares
Wishing all your kiddos a happy and peaceful start to the new school year!