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How to Beat Back to School Stress in 4 Easy Steps

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Are You Ready To Get Back To School?

2. Plan Ahead for a Healthy Return Back to School

Are you dreading the end of the summer holidays and the start of a new school year? Do you feel overwhelmed getting your kids ready to go back to school?

Many parents stress about getting back into the school routine, after having enjoyed some time off from 'the schedule', and this can affect their mood, health, and productivity. On the other hand, some parents are ready and willing to get back to a daily school routine, and for the new academic year to commence.

Avoid the last-minute panic and chaos of the back to school season by getting everyone organised in advance.

By following these four simple steps, you can prepare yourself and your children for a smooth and stress-free transition back to school.

Two children posing for their annual back to school photo

Follow our 4 Easy Steps to Beat Back to School Stress

1. Declutter and Organise at Home

The first step in overcoming back to school stress is to declutter and organise your home and your children’s belongings to create a clean and comfortable environment that is more organised and easier to find the things you need.

If you haven’t already done so at the start of the summer holidays, start by doing the following:

  1. Empty backpacks, (hopefully this has already been done and there are no nasty contents lurking in the form of lunch boxes or drinks bottles).

  2. Recycle any papers from last year’s lessons or file any notes you may need for this year’s exam revision.

  3. Go through pencil cases to throw out broken pencils, pens without lids, pencil shavings and eraser stubs.

  4. Empty files / binders of last year’s papers and prepare new labels for them to recycle and use again for the new school year.

  5. Sort through sports kits and recycle, donate, or repair any items. Make a note of what no longer fits and what you need to buy or order from the school.

  6. Sort through wardrobes to organise school clothes – again, recycle, donate, repair, or sell online to make some extra cash.

Top tip: Make a habit of taking advantage of sales and discounts to save money on new items – NOT during the advertised “Back to School” season when items will be more expensive.


Organizing A Dedicated Space At Home

Next, if you have a study/homework area at home, organise the space with storage bins, baskets, shelves, or drawers to store books, papers, pens, and other items.

An expanding file with coloured dividers to hold documents and personal records

Label everything clearly to keep this area tidy and neat (for as long as possible!).

Delegate this task to your children so that they feel responsible for creating the organisation system and for keeping it tidy!

Now organise your own space and schedule. Make sure you have a designated place to work, relax, and plan your day.

Use a calendar, planner, or app to keep track of your appointments, deadlines, bills, and tasks. The kitchen or front / back door is probably the most efficient place to display these items, so everyone sees what is happening or needed that day.

6 brightly coloured sticky notes pads

Post reminders and set alarms to help you stay on track and avoid forgetting anything important.

My calendar is colour-coded, full of reminders, birthdays, regular tasks, and deadlines, to keep me on track.

And everyone in my family knows that if it isn't in the calendar, it isn't happening!


2. Plan Ahead for a Healthy Return Back to School

The second step to beating back to school stress is to avoid procrastinating! Plan ahead as much as possible to avoid rushing and scrambling at the last minute. This only leads to arguments, missing items, and unnecessary emotional outbursts!

One of the things you should definitely plan well is your travel arrangements. If you are going away on holiday during the summer, aim to return home at least a week before school starts. This will give you enough time to unpack, do the laundry, clean up, and get back into your normal routine. It will also help your children get back into their sleep schedule and avoid jet lag or fatigue.

Another important thing to organise is medical appointments. By scheduling check-ups, vaccinations, or treatments during the last couple of weeks of the vacation period, you will avoid having to pull them out of school and missing any schoolwork during term time. It will also ensure that you have identified any health issues that need to be address before the new school year begins.

Some of the medical appointments you should book include:

  • General health check-ups

  • Dental check-ups

  • Eye exams

  • Skin checks (especially regular checks for moles)

  • Mental health consultations

Check out this pre-Uni/school health blog and checklist for more details.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, as the saying goes !

You should also seek professional advice if your child has any mental health concerns such as anxiety. Try to identify any symptoms you’ve noticed, such as breathlessness, negative thoughts, stomach aches, tension, etc. and discuss them with a health professional to get a professional diagnosis and advice.

These days, health providers are contactable via phone or video for consultation, which makes it easier to organise and avail of these services.

Finally, if your children have any special needs or conditions that require medication or therapy, make sure you have enough supplies and prescriptions for the school year.

You should also prepare notes and inform school staff of any allergies, dietary restrictions, or accommodation your children may need.


3. Communicate and Connect with your Parent Network

The third step to beating back to school stress is to connect with other parents who have children in the same school or grade as yours. You can share tips, advice, resources, or referrals with them, and lighten your load by arranging play dates, carpools, or study groups with them. This will help you build a network of support and friendships that can help make the back to school season easier to handle and more enjoyable.

“ One thing I will always remember with gratitude was when a Class Rep school parent reached out to all the new kids joining her son’s class during the summer holidays and invited them to a play date to get to know each other before school started.
It was such a kind gesture and made the first day of school less daunting for my son, knowing that he already had friends in his new class. ”


4. Organise your Back to School Routine

Even if there are still a few weeks left until the end of the summer holidays, organising your back to school routine in advance will help you manage your time and resources more efficiently and effectively.

Scheduling and Preparing For After School Activities

Think about what activities your children will be doing after school or on weekends. Don't wait until the last minute to organise these things.

  1. Check the dates by which you need to register them and pay the fees?

  2. What equipment or clothing will they need for each activity?

  3. Do they need transport or can they walk or cycle to and from the activities themselves?

  4. Can you arrange a carpool schedule with other parents to save on fuel costs and protect the planet?

“When my daughter wanted to sign up for dance classes that started after school, a kind parent helped me out every week by offering to take my daughter to class, together with her daughter.
I was able to reciprocate by picking up the girls after the class when I had finished work, but as a single working mum at the time, this small gesture enabled my daughter to enjoy dance lessons that would otherwise have been impossible due to my work schedule.”

By organising your back to school routine ahead of time, you can reduce the number of tasks that can pile up and may overwhelm you. You can also create a more balanced and enjoyable schedule for yourself and your children. So get organised, follow the tips above, and let me know if you have any other tips for parents to make the transition back to school easier.


If you need more help or guidance on how to navigate the transition from high school to university, check out our website. There you will find useful blogs, resources, and tips on how to help your children survive and thrive on campus. Follow us on social media to stay updated with tips and tricks!

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