Back to School- How Can Parents Stay Sane?

By UrbanSitter's Lynn Perkins for

Here's how to keep sane while getting back into the school routine. Here's how to keep sane while getting back into the school routine.

If you are a mom of a school-aged kid, and I mean any school -- pre, grade, junior high, or high -- you know that the back-to-school craziness is upon us.

And it seems to just get louder, larger, and meaner every year. Amongst the packing of lunches, piles of homework, soccer games, homeroom parent meetings, foundation fundraising, and ballet recitals, it's hard to find a slice of time or space for yourself or your family unit.

I'm trying to get organized and stay calm, and here's how I'm (attempting) to do it.

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Set a homework routine -- I have told my kids, the hours between 5 and 7 are homework hours. Now, mine are still little so it's rare to have a solid two hours of homework. They can start at 5 or even 6:30, but that's the time slot and we try to stick to it. I am available for help with homework but most likely I'll be simultaneously making dinner, so kids must attempt the task on their own first. It might be simply for my own schedule-friendly brain, but I find if we stick to a specific block of time, we all feel better and know what to expect.

Pack the lunches the night before -- I know, this is an old one. But it really does help. Even if you don't do the main course (because who wants the re-re-heated quesadilla), just having the pantry snacks, fruit, and dairy in the lunchbox in the fridge, helps tremendously.

Designate a place for activity gear -- I don't have a mud room, but I make certain the soccer cleats, ballet shoes, and lacrosse stick are all in the SAME place every time they come into the house. Whether it be the bottom shelf of the dresser, the bin under the stairs, or inside the covered bench in the hall, that's where they go, every time. If kids (or you) have to spend 15 minutes looking for that one cleat before practice, it makes everybody's life crazy.

Related: Keeping Schoolwork Organized

Put up a calendar -- Buy a big one and tape it up on the wall. It's not aesthetically attractive, but what is attractive is everybody knowing when doctor's appointments are, as well as practice, mom's meetings, back-to-school night, and the requisite family dinner. That's right, put it on the calendar. Dinner as a family is one thing that experts really say is important to establish security and values in kids. We don't manage it every evening, but if a Thursday night family dinner is on the calendar, my family knows it is set in stone.

Don't forget to schedule "me time"-- When you just need a break, hire a sitter and head out on the town with your husband or girlfriends!

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