4 Ways to Save Your Sanity In a New School Year

group of small kids with backpacks lined up outside a school bus. Feature image for an article on 4 Ways to Save Your Sanity In a New School Year

As the summer comes to a screeching halt, so does the school bus coming to pick up your child to start the new school year.  The summer months were stress-free with no running from tennis to piano lessons to football practice to the doctor. There was peace in the summer. There is no reason you can’t find that same tranquility in the coming school year. 

4 Easy Steps to Save Your Sanity In a New School Year
1. Plan meals ahead. 

On Saturday I take five to ten minutes to plan out our meals for the coming week.  This includes going to the pantry to see what we have and what we need, then writing out a menu and a grocery list. I love online shopping sites that allow me to do local pickup. It saves me a ton of time and money because no one is adding items to the cart that we don’t need!

Once I have my groceries in hand, I make up what I can for the week. I lay out lunch items, which consists of me making up a batch of homemade applesauce every few weeks (I freeze the extra), peeling and cutting up carrots, and putting them into baggies. All I have to do on Monday morning is grab a pre-measured applesauce and a bag of carrots and finish up with the main course. My son loves leftovers so I usually send those in a thermos.

For dinners, I do whatever I can to make it easier on me during the week. If we are having meat with veggies in the crock pot, then I cut up the veggies so they are crockpot ready. I store them in labeled bags (in case I have to ask someone to help me by putting dinner in the crockpot).

Ask Dr. Zoe - How Can I Prepare My Kids for Back to School?2. Designate a clear area for doing homework and storing backpacks/sports bags, etc.

Since elementary school, my son has done his homework at the dining room table. We chose this space so that I was able to work on dinner in the kitchen and he could have assistance from me if needed. It was a win-win for us. 

This homework area has everything he needs: a basket filled with pencils, pens, crayons, rulers, a calculator, extra paper, etc.  That way we aren’t looking all over the house for things; everything is right there. We store his book bag in a crate beside the door. Everything stays in his book bag if he is not using it at the moment.

After homework is done, he immediately puts it in his book bag and repacks it for the next day so we are ready in the morning. Library books live in the backpack unless we are reading them. This way there are no unnecessary moments (yelling, meltdowns, etc) to give a rocky start to the day, trying to locate said library book.

3. Routines are key.

As soon as we get home, we complete homework. This way we aren’t scrambling at bedtime to do homework when we both are tired. I’m not yelling to get off the gaming system (or fill in the technology of your choice) and do your homework. If the expectation is set that we come home and immediately do our homework before anything else, then everyone knows the rules in advance. If immediately coming home and doing homework doesn’t work for you, pick what does, make it known that is the expectation going forward, and follow through on it.

4. Do as much as you can the night before

The night before is the time that I make my coffee and water bottle for my morning exercise. Lay out clothes and shoes, get gym uniforms and sports equipment for practice ready, etc., so we are ready for the morning. The extra five minutes it takes at night is worth my sanity in the morning. I don’t like being in a rush or yelling because it doesn’t make a great start to the day for anyone.

My son is in high school now, but these foundations have helped us have more pleasant times together. We aren’t rushing as much in the mornings and we aren’t starting our day off with yelling. Our things are in the location that we designated, homework isn’t lost at home (I can’t help him at school), and dinners are planned and easier for me when I get home.

My sanity is important to being the wife and mom my family needs, and that is important to me. Before the screeching wheels of the bus stop at your house this year, save yourself from stressful mornings and evenings by planning ahead, designating locations and times for homework, and preparing the night before. You can have a more tranquil morning and send your kids off with the right mindset to tackle the day.

Need more help preparing for the new school year? Check out this podcast episode: This Is What Every Mom Needs for Back to School – 051

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