It’s about time to send our little lovelies back to school! And while many mommas I know are SO ready for their darlings to hit that school bus door, some of you might be dreading back to school time with all its deadlines, alarm clocks, supply lists and homework. No more lazy days by the pool, sleeping late and hanging out on our own time schedule. I don’t really look forward to them going back to school, because no one likes to get their kids up and make them get ready for school, right? Thankfully, you can make it easier on yourself (and more fun), so you won’t dread back to school so much. At least that’s what I’m hoping!

So, in my quest to find ways to make this transition better this year, I’ve learned a bit, and I want to share it with you all because accountability helps! Here’re some ideas on ways we can turn a stressful time into a… well, less stressful time (because it will never be stress-free as long as I have teen and tween girls in my house, right?) I hope you’ll be willing to try it with me!

Celebrate New Beginnings

Throw a party! I know, it is not exactly stress-free, but it is fun (for me anyway)! Besides, you know I don’t particularly NEED a reason to throw a party! You can either have a “Good-Bye Summer” party or a “Let’s Get Schooled” party, but either way it is an excuse for me to make up all sorts of cute decorations and treats that will go with my theme.

For my summer party, I would, of course, serve all the summer stuff, including hot dogs, homemade ice cream, and watermelon. And we would have some sort of water fun, whether it is in our pool or via renting one of those huge inflatable water slides. Either way, we will make it fun and festive to bid farewell to the summer.

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

For a back to school event, you can go with some cute pencil cupcakes, gummy worms (for bookworms, of course), cover some pretzels with red candy coating for apple pretzels, cookies (You’re a Smart Cookie), and other treats. There are tons of games on Pinterest for back to school, including stacking glue sticks, playing Back to School Bingo, creating a school-themed scavenger hunt, and playing all those fun outdoor games like cornhole, frisbee golf, and more. Treat bags with a few little school supplies would top it off!

Photo by Jéssica Oliveira on Unsplash

Organize, Organize, Organize

One sure-fire way to break through if you’re dreading back to school time – Organize. Confession time. This one actually makes me want to gouge out my eyes and run away. While it IS necessary, I don’t like to organize. Thankfully, I have a daughter who loves it! Organizing clothes, schedules, school supplies, shopping, she’s on board for all those. And I’m so glad she is. We all need people with different strengths than we have. So, embrace the things you hate by enlisting the help of someone who loves it. Here are some tips I’ve gathered from the organizers in my village

Get ready for the next day the night before.

I wish someone had told me (they probably did) this handy tip for getting kids out of the door without tears and gnashing of teeth. Pick clothes out the night before from pants to shirt to socks to shoes to headband to whatever else they wear and place them in a designated area. No more early morning shoe searches where you can’t find one tennis shoe and you are forced to send your little one to school in flip-flops on their PE day or during the winter!

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Prepare the night before.

Make lunches, go through backpacks, and sign any papers the night before as well. Do you know what throws me off in the morning? When my child says, “Mom, I have a field trip tomorrow and I need you to sign this and give me $8.” Hmmm. A. Who has cash anymore? And B. Why didn’t I know about this earlier? Well, your little lovely probably knew about it last week or last month, but left the form in their desk until the teacher was all like, “If you don’t turn in your permission slip tomorrow, you are going to have to go sit in Mr. Thingabottom’s room and do extra work.” Then they bring it home. If you know about it at night, at least you have time to run to the ATM or go through the purses, bags, and cars trying to scrape up $8 in change (yes, I have sent all change).

Set the Right Expectations

Dreading back to school is a given if you have fallen into this trap! Mommas, listen to me! There is a difference between a mess and dirty. I am talking about clean laundry on the guest bed in the guest bedroom. Not 1-inch of soap scum in the bathtub. Let’s get real here. Our houses are to be lived in and this means that everything is not going to be in its place. If it was, then no one would be having any fun or no one would be living there.

Choose your battles for today.

There are some things that we can leave until the weekend. Clean laundry? Throw it all on the guest bed in the guest bedroom. It is clean and can be folded and put away all in one session. Toys? Have your kids put up one before getting out another. My kids love crafts and making things, but I don’t make them take their creations apart and put them away every single night because they are working on something big.

Kiss Pinterest perfect goodbye!

Don’t try to be a Pinterest mom if you’re not one. I LOVE Pinterest with all my heart and have boards aplenty, but there is no shame in grocery store deli snacks, dollar store gift bags, or even hiring someone to do it for you (like me)! Focus more on your kids and less on the expectations of others – it’s a great way to stop dreading and start enjoying even the stressful back to school season.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

So stop dreading it! Back to school can be a fun and exciting time if we parents can quit getting so stressed about it. By celebrating the time, organizing the night before, and not trying to be Pinterest queen (unless that’s your thing),  we can be less stressed and more joyful, which will rub off on our children. Isn’t that what we want?

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