What can I do to reduce back-to-school parenting hassles?

Getting back into the school year is a major adjustment for kids -- and parents. Preparation is the key to surviving with a minimum of stress. Set aside an area for school paperwork and projects, prepare meals and other daily needs in advance, and rearrange your schedule in anticipation of drop-offs, pick-ups, and activities. My favorite lunchtime tip is to prepare a whole loaf of PB and J sandwiches, and individually freeze them to grab and pack later.

It's also a good opportunity to show kids how to transition between "work" time and "fun" time. Talk to the kids in advance of how the whole family's schedule is different when school is in session. Minimize complaining by putting up a calendar with holidays highlighted. And create small incentives for kids to get ready on time in the morning -- in our house, we use a "check" system that the kids get to turn in for fun family activities. We also have the kids set out their outfit and backpack the night before.

Anticipating these challenges will help you survive -- and even enjoy -- the transition to "Back To School".
Mia Redrick

When it comes to back-to-school parenting hassles, they are two-fold.  One set of hassles includes everything you need to do for your kids before they head back, and the other set deals with everything you need to do for the school, like registration, paperwork, etc.

For the kids, purchase school supplies well in advance.  Buy your children a personal calendar and always check them at the end of the day to find out what homework they have to do and where they have to be for the various activities they will be getting involved in.  

For the school, get that paperwork filled out sooner rather than later.  As soon as you receive those forms from school at the end of the year, fill them out for the following year and send them back.  In most cases, you can even go online and get them so that you have them when you need them.  Schedule those doctor's appointments for vaccinations and physicals at the end of the previous school year and write them on your calendar so that everything is ready to go as the new school year approaches.

If there are forms for the kids' doctor to fill out, fax them or mail them directly to the doctor's office.  Include a stamped envelope that is addressed to the school so that the doctor's office can mail it directly back to the school. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.