7 Ways to Prepare for a Stress-Free School Year
It's that time of year again. Get your kids ready for another school year, gather up supplies, re-establish routines, and plan for those school lunches. Here are 7 strategies for preparing for a stress-free school year.
Whether planning energizes you - as it does me - or whether you dread it more than laundry, here are 7 tips for preparing for a stress-free start of the school year.
This doesn't have to be a hectic time of running around and standing in long lines at the store. Instead, spend your time mapping out some routines that will set you up for a smooth school year.
1. Order your school supplies online.
School supplies usually go on sales with huge inventory supplies at your local stores in the weeks before school starts. By then, you've likely been emailed a school supply list by your school or can request one.
One downside to waiting for these sales days are the elbowing crowds and long lines at the checkout isle. But you can avoid both of them!
While not all of Walmart's products are available through the Walmart Grocery Pickup service, school supplies usually are. This option takes so much stress out of the process and allows you to shop at low Walmart prices. The best part is that you can sit at home with your list and find exactly what you need online. Order it and schedule your pickup for a convenient time. Instead of standing in long lines, someone will bring out all of your school supplies (and any groceries you need that week) and load them into the trunk of your car. So much less stressful!
Get $10 off your first Walmart Grocery Pickup order here. (Just enter your name and email address to receive a $10 off coupon from Walmart. Once you've signed up, you can refer friends to save even more.)
Amazon carries just about everything including the specific graphic calculator your kid needs this year or those lines draw & write notebooks for Kindergarten. They also carry bundles that will save you time and money. Plus, of course, Amazon ships everything right to your door, so you can save yourself the trip altogether.
Pro tip: Love on your teacher by buying additional supplies you know they'll need. The 3 boxes of tissues and 2 extra bottles of glue they request at the beginning of the school year won't last very long. Why not order some of these supplies in bulk and bless your teachers with them. Some ideas are a big box of pencils, a stapler that actually works, and a pack of colored paper.
2. Pick a Planner.
If didn't buy a planner around the new year, pick up a school-year planner now. Everyone prefers a different type of planner. Personally, I like to see my week on one page with time slots for each day and a top to-do's section as well as a space for daily meal planning. It takes some searching for the right planner that allows you to incorporate what you need, but it's well worth having to stay organized during the school year.
3. Map Out Your Mornings.
One of my favorite things about summer are the slow mornings. Get up whenever, enjoy time in Scripture, make breakfast and eat it leisurely. When the school year begins, I have to work much harder to stay on schedule, make breakfast and school lunches at the same time, and get myself and the kids ready to make sure we head out the door on time.
With your new planner in hand, map out what you'd like your morning to look like and take a few days that week to practice the new routine with your kids. It'll help them get back into the swing of things. Have them get up and get ready for the day by the time they'd typically have to leave for school. Quick warning: This may not be very popular with teenagers and more appropriate with younger kids. 😉
If you need extra help to revise your morning routine to be less stressful and more peaceful, I encourage you to take Crystal Paine's Make Over Your Mornings course. In 14 video sessions accompanied by a thorough workbook, Crystal helps you get in the right mindset and establish peaceful and productive morning routines with daily action steps.
Crystal is a pastor's wife, homeschooling Mom, and online entrepreneur. Her plate is full but her day starts with time in Scripture, prayer, and thanksgiving. Make sure to include a quiet time into your morning routine for the school year. It will allow you to focus on Jesus all day long.
4. Prepare for School lunches.
My first go-to for new school-lunch ideas is usually Pinterest. Many food or Mom bloggers offer helpful ideas for healthy and easy school lunches. One of my kids is a fairly picky eater due to some sensory issues, so often our school lunches are the usual peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cucumber slices, and some fruit. For my other daughter, I like to provide a little more variety.
Pro tip: Check your plastic ware containers. Over the course of a year, some of them may have become damaged, rims around lids become moldy, or lids completely lost. I prefer sending my kids food in re-useable containers rather than plastic bags. It saves money and the environment. Just before school starts though, I usually need to stock up on a few extra containers so that a day of undone dishes won't turn into a stressful morning.
5. Plan Your Afternoons.
You've planned the school day up to the big send-off in the car loop or the bus stop. Let's talk about the after-school routine. I find this even harder to establish. It certainly takes more cooperation from your kids.
Start by listing what needs to happen after school such as homework, chores, and down time - yes, kids need that, too, after a long day at school. Then consider what you'd like to add this year. Are there friends you'd like to connect with, playdates to plan? Do you have piano lessons or swim practice to consider? Activities can fill up your week in no time. Make sure to leave room for the unexpected and allow plenty of time for everyone to catch a break before the day is over.
6. Set up a Dinner Routine.
From meal planning to cooking, eating, and cleaning up, set up a dinner routine. Remember that meal planning bundle I talked about in #4! This will help you with both lunches and dinners. Get some new ideas for healthy family meals that don't take all day.
What else would you like to get done between dinner and bedtime? Make a list of quick daily cleaning items that you and your family can accomplish after dinner. Clean the kitchen and sweep the floors. Have kids help with their own toys or other messes and give them other age-appropriate chores. Many hands make for light work. Check out Crystal Paine's Make Over Your Evenings course for more tips.
7. Go back to early bedtimes.
Ah, bedtime! Dreaded by kids and lovingly anticipated by adults. A successful day starts with a good night of sleep, and that means everyone needs to go back to bed earlier again as bedtimes often sneak later and later over the summer. Give yourself and your kids a few days to adjust to going to bed on time again. It will make the next day so much less stressful.
Tell me, what are your best tips for keeping the school-year stress free?
I have enjoyed our emphasis on less stress and more peace as well as looking up practical tips for you this month. May God bless you with a wonderful school year. Don't forget to pray for your kids as they go off to school - both for the academic success, social engagement, and spiritual growth. Beyond any of the prep works our hands can do, God is in charge of this school year and ready to make a difference in your family's life.
May you rest in that truth as you prepare for the school year ahead.