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7 ways to beat back-to-school stress

Shutterstock_1095921515It’s the hottest part of the summer, and my kids are out of control. They’d sleep ‘til noon and stay up ‘til after midnight if I let them. While attempting to wake the youngest for camp this week, I daydreamed about our efficient school year morning routine.

Just then, I couldn’t remember when my kids start school. I knew it was soon. Very soon. But the dates weren’t in my phone. Panic! Wait. Found it on the school website. We’ve got 19 days.

Most parents — and kids, too — feel at least a little pressed for time around the beginning of the school year. So, I did some research and made a checklist to get my family through these dog days of summer and into the back-to-school mindset.

  • Crack the whip. Getting the kids back in a routine will help the first few weeks of school go much more smoothly. Ease them into the new school year by reestablishing regular wake-up and bedtimes that incrementally progress toward the school schedule. If your house looks like mine, a list of housekeeping chores can also help the kids — and grown-ups — get back on track.
  • Hold a scheduling party. Attendance by all family members is required. Bring phones, laptops, school calendars and athletic/activity schedules. Consider setting up a Google Calendar that everyone in the family can access from his or her smart phone, tablet or computer. You can print it out on a weekly or monthly basis, too. Don’t forget the new puppy or kitten that joined the family over the summer will need its school schedule, too.
  • Sign up before it’s too late. Signups for fall sports and activities seem to get earlier every year, with most deadlines in July or early August. Some signups may be the first week of school. If your kids are interested in a fall sport or activity and haven’t signed up yet, track down the info ASAP. Keep in mind that a physical is usually required.
  • Host a runway show. I’ve learned the hard way that taking an inventory of my kids’ clothing is not enough. What you thought would fit may not. Have the kids model their clothes — I promise you’ll all have some great laughs! Note sizes and you’ll be in a much better position for shopping.
  • Sell, trade or donate the no-fitters. Trendy items in good condition can fetch good prices at shops such as Once Upon a Child, Plato’s Closet (teens) and Uptown CheapSkate. You can even ship clothes off to an online consignment shop like Thredup, which includes a handy estimator tool for how much you’ll make. Many used clothing shops will pay you more for your items if you accept store credit instead of cash, which gives you an opportunity to teach your kids about trading and bargain hunting. Of course, charity thrift shops run by the Salvation Army and Goodwill are always looking for used clothing.
  • Don’t take Santa’s place. Think of back-to-school shopping in terms of “what they need between now and the end of the year.” Shopping for the whole year is overwhelming and unnecessary. Let Santa take care of winter and spring clothes. Tweens and teens? Give them a budget and some requirements and let them do the shopping (return receipts required).
  • Plan for the first week of school. Remember that school traffic the first few days will be worse than normal. Navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps can help you plan your school traffic route. If you have kids going to a new school, decide whether you’re doing car line or the bus. Which bus will it be? What is the bus schedule? Where is the bus stop? What is the car line route? When does the line open?

We may not be able to turn down the August heat, but we hope these tips will help make it more bearable. For more help on how to get back to the grind, take a look at the Human Intelligence Series from the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. You’ll find tips on stress management, prioritization and more!

Heather O’Connor, Senior Manager – Communications, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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