If you’ve got kids, you know what a challenge back to school can be. The summer was spent with fewer schedules, later bedtimes, and SO many snacks. Unfortunately, the babysitter didn’t have your strict rules (We’re looking at you, grandma), or summer camp maybe caused a little chaos.
We feel you, mama.
Here are some easy ways to get control.
- Start earlier bedtimes now. If you weren’t exactly enforcing the whole bedtime thing at all, start late. If your teen is used to staying up till 2, aim for midnight for a week, then 10 or 11 after that. The littles will have to start winding down a bit earlier, so hold firm and start what’s left of your bedtime routine earlier.
- Now is also a great time to get some good habits underway. Establish a backpack resting place and if you still decide what your kids wear, start putting it out the night before. The habit will be easier to keep once school starts rolling if you’ve already created the routine.
- Don’t wait till the last minute to conquer the lunch menu. If you send your kiddo with food, be prepared to pack it a little heavier for the first few days while their third stomach recedes back to wherever summer snacks are stored. (Also… why don’t you get that 3rd stomach and no weight gain?!)
- Take advantage of shipping services. You don’t need to go back to school shopping with the crowds anymore. Your teen may love the opportunity to fill out an amazon wish list with all the newest clothing fads. Even better? You won’t need to take the trip and can think twice about rather you really want to spend the money (you know, before your teen even has a chance to tell you her life is over if she doesn’t get that sweatshirt).
- Make a schedule and make it accessible. There are some cool options out there from family calendar accounts on your smartphone or tablets placed in the command center at home. Check out the links to see some samples. Does everyone have a smartphone? Now might be the time to consider if you need tracking services or watchful helpers like Bark to help you keep an eye on social media without being so intrusive.
- Freeze some meals now for those days where you work 12 hours. Even a teenager can angrily dump a bag of roast materials into the crockpot. Do yourself a favor and teach your other half how to use the instant pot. Keep a stash of meals that are ready to go when you need them. You can find 6 months of easy freezer meals here (your wallet might thank you too!)
Finally, decide what actually makes your kid happy. What is sustainable for your house? Does your 5th grader need to be on three sports teams? Is your daughter actually into dance, or would having a little more free time make everyone happier?
It isn’t unreasonable to pick one thing per season; just make sure you support your kiddo’s dreams and not yours. If you want to keep the pace, make a backup plan for when you are working. Can your hockey player carpool with the team? Does one of the girl scout’s parents drive right by your house on their way to meetings? Make a plan now to keep your sanity later.
Back to school can be stressful for anyone, but when you are fighting 12-hour shifts, it can seem like an uphill journey. So choose your battles wisely and go into the school year prepared. We know you’ve got this!