5 Tips for Staying Calm During Back-to-School

September 22, 2022

Last month, we listed five ways to stay healthy for back-to-school. With classes back in full swing, we thought we’d add five tips to stay calm and carry on – even as the days get shorter but the to-do list gets longer.


  1. Set up for success.

Research has shown that the home learning environment  is important to success at school. A dedicated study area can help students be productive and retain what they learn. For parents, it helps with setting expectations and monitoring progress. It’s not too late to make a fun project out of creating space that is comfortable and has few distractions. Here’s how:

  • Identify a space that can be dedicated to learning.
  • Clean out any clutter in that space.
  • If the space will be shared, designate specific areas or times for use.
  • Ensure that it’s as comfortable as possible (for example, that the table isn’t too high for the chair).
  • Make sure there is enough lighting.
  • Minimize distractions; if noisy, use noise-canceling headphones.
  • Use drawers or baskets to contain supplies and work.
  1. Practice makes perfect.

Are the mornings a whirlwind of last-minute activity? Misplaced shoes, unpacked lunches, and late alarms can create added anxiety for everyone in the household. To help make mornings easier, try practicing the morning routine a couple of times on the weekends. Create a song list together to help keep everyone moving and on time. Or have a checklist with times showing what needs to be done and when. Don’t forget: Save time by packing for the next day as the last thing to do before bed.

  1. Shop smart.

The average household will spend about $864 on school supplies in 2022. This year, many parents are worried about the impact of inflation on prices. Whether shopping online or in the store, it is possible stay on budget and save on school supplies. Key tips include:

  • Buy the critical items first and wait for deals for everything else; it’s good to ask teachers what is needed right away.
  • “Shop” at home first for needed items and then create a shopping list for those you still need.
  • Search online for the best deals and then ask for price-matching at the stores you purchase from.
  • Visit warehouse and dollar stores to see if there are better deals than at more familiar stores, like Target, Amazon, and Walmart.
  • For tech purchases, buy refurbished versions; make sure to buy only from reputable sellers.
  1. Plan for the unexpected.

Your child may leave for school on time, but what if they get to school and realize they forgot something? If you drive them to school, make a car kit with basic supplies. Extra pens, pencils, crayons, and paper are a good start. Add in some granola bars, bottled water, and other snacks just in case a quick bite on-the-go is needed. Customize as needed with items specific to your family (like a spare pair of glasses or extra medicine).

  1. Give yourself grace and space.

Back-to-school can be tough on parents. Research has shown that people who have a more relaxed relationship with their thoughts and feelings – and the expectations that come from them – fare better mentally. While it’s easier said than done, we can all improve our psychological flexibility by understanding that “stuff happens.” Ultimately, an attitude of positivity and calm can make all the difference.