Whether or not you are in school — or have kids who are — the beginning of a new school year feels like a transition time to many of us. Let’s talk about ways to prepare and plan to make that transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Seasonal changes can be stressful and hectic, but proper planning can help ensure a smooth transition
For a lot of us, summer is a more unstructured season. School is out of session, and longer days and warmer weather invite outdoor activities and family vacations.
The transition to the school year (whether or not you are in school or have kids who are) requires change, such as busier schedules, earlier rising, and changes in weather and routines. Maybe because we grow up measuring time by the school year, even those of us who aren’t in school still feel that sense of transition in August and September. I have no kids left at home, but I’ve still been thinking about this because our oldest daughter, a mom of 4 girls who just finished her undergrad degree, starts her first teaching job this week and has been preparing for the classroom for herself at the same time she’s getting her girls ready for the new school year.
Besides the obvious of registering for classes and shopping for school supplies, there are other things we can do to ease the transition.
Simple steps for a stress-free transition
1. Meal plans
- Come up with a list of a dozen or so meals that are easy and quick to get on the table but are nutritious and liked by your household.
- Consider trying weekly meal prep if you don’t already do it. Spend an hour or two on the weekend prepping fruits and veggies and pre-cooking soups or other meals that can be reheated during the week.
- What are you going to do about breakfasts and lunches during the week?
2. Rethink your daily routine. Be intentional about it.
- What would a peaceful morning routine look like during the school year, that would allow everyone to start the day with a minimum of drama?
- What about after-school, evening, and bedtime routines?
- How can you get the kids or others in your household involved so that you’re not carrying the full load alone?
3. Re-establish sleep schedules
- Summers are often a time when we or our kids sleep in later and stay up later. Ahead of school start transitioning back to earlier rising and bedtime that allows everybody to get the sleep they need.
4. Think about transportation
- Consider getting the car serviced. If the school year involves more driving–e.g., carpooling to school, sports, and other extracurriculars–now might be a good time to get the oil changed, tires checked, etc.
- Coordinate carpool schedules with friends.
- Check the current schedules for the school bus or public transportation.
5. Add the school calendar to yours (breaks, games, parent-teacher conferences, etc.)
- Whether you use a wall calendar with big squares or a digital calendar, you want something everyone in the household can access and where you can see at a glance who’s supposed to be where and what’s happening when.
6. Check fall/winter gear (coats, boots, gloves, umbrellas, etc.)
- Make sure you have what you need in the right sizes and in good condition for every family member before you actually need it.
7. Prep summer gear for storage
- Here in Texas we still have a few more weeks of warm weather, but it won’t be long before it’s time to prep the patio furniture and pool toys for winter storage. Think about summer sports gear, swimwear, etc.
8. Deep clean house
- Before the weather gets bad, it’s a good time to air everything out and do a good deep clean that you’ll only need to maintain during the first weeks of the school year. Consider hiring help if your finances allow.
9. Re-organize house
- Set up a study station with the supplies needed for effective study/homework. What you need there depends on who’s using it–printer paper, tape, scissors, glue sticks, stapler, poster paper, markers, . . . what else?
- Go through the kids’ closets and dressers, purge worn or outgrown clothes, and make a list of what’s needed for the coming season
- Great idea to do this for your own workspace, too, whether at home or a separate work location
10. Register for after-school programs or extracurricular activities
- Be intentional about this, too. Decide whether it’s more important to you for everybody to participate in lots of activities or to have a less hectic weekly schedule. Consider coordinating activities to make sure you have at least one evening a week where everybody’s at home.
11. Consider putting together one last family outing or personal adventure
- Whether close to home or a farther destination–one last warm-weather memory. What that might be depends on your household’s interests: campout at a state park (or the back yard)? A quick trip to the beach or the mountains? Museum and dinner? Day at a theme park, water park, or nearby tourist destination? End-of-summer potluck BBQ with the neighborhood?
12. If you have space and funds, check out end-of-season clearance sales for summer gear for next year
- Camping gear, swimwear, and summer clothes in the next sizes, patio dinnerware, all of those things you know you’ll need next summer.
13. Look ahead to the holiday season
- Travel plans, gift list, holiday and seasonal decor
14. Reevaluate goals for the year
- Plan & schedule next steps. Keep in mind there are still 4 months—⅓ of the year—left, still time to accomplish what matters most to you.
Whether or not school is a part of your current life, for a lot of us the end of summer feels like a time of transition, which makes it a great time to pause and consider intentional changes to make this next season a productive one. See links below for some articles that give more ideas, including a great YouTube video with suggestions for college students.
What do you think?
What did I miss? What do you do to make the transition to a productive and enjoyable school year, whether or not you or your kids are actually in school? Post your suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me.
Resources and Links
- Top 10 Tips for Busy Moms at the Beginning of the School Year – Balancing Motherhood
- 10 Time Management Tips to Help Moms During Their Kids’ School Year
- Back to School Tips for Parents – 30 Ideas for a Smoother School Year’
- (69) How to Prepare for a New School Year 📝 10 ways to start the school year strong! 💪 – YouTube
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Royse City, Texas