How to Make the School Year Less Stressful

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

Summer can fly by in a flash and you might find yourself scrambling to get ready for the new year. Life as Mom contributor Jessie Leigh offers some great tips to help you make the start of school less stressful and make the most of back to school sales.

school year stress


It’s July! Strangely enough, this is the ONE month of the year during which I always feel I can confidently say we’re all on “summer break.” Many parts of the country go to school late into June and others start back up super early in August, but, July? Other than those who do a round-the-year plan, it’s a safe bet that July is summer break for the vast majority.

Because this is the one month when we’re pretty much all on break, it can be tough to think about school and I know it’s not my very favorite thing to do this time of year. Still, there are some quick and easy things we can check now that will make our lives earlier once the school year kicks off in full swing.

Here are a few things I recommend looking into right now to save yourself some headaches down the road, especially as you see back-to-school sale promotions hit the stores and the days slip away on the calendar:

Make the Most of Back to School Sales

Survey sneakers.

Summertime calls for a whole lot of bare feet, sandals, and flip-flops. Many of us may not don our everyday sneaks for a couple of straight months. If your children fall in that category, be sure to have them get out their tennis shoes, try them on, and examine them for wear and holes.

The start of the school year is often still very warm and your kids might well be wearing sandals then, but they’ll certainly need sneakers at some point and, if you uncover the need now, you’ll have a chance to watch for deals and sales and not have to scramble the day before gym class.

Try on pants.

Much like the sandal/sneaker things, the odds are good that many of our children haven’t worn long pants for quite some time. But, even though it’ll be warm come that first day, pants will be on great sales within the next several weeks. I always snag my son’s khakis when Old Navy marks down their uniform pants before school starts. True, he may not wear them until October, but I may as well take advantage of the marked down prices.

Sometimes it feels like children grow overnight, so don’t be surprised if jeans and pants are creeping up their calves. It makes sense to check now so you can be prepared before they head out on the first chilly day looking like they’re waiting for a flood!

Make the Most of Back to School Sales

Examine backpacks.

I am a big advocate of paying a little bit more to secure a quality backpack. While I am in no way a brand snob, I do appreciate well-made items, particularly when it means they’ll save you big dollars by outlasting their cheaper counterparts. My children have LL Bean packs and they’ve held up beautifully for 4+ years now. (I’ve heard good things about Lands End and other brands, as well.)

Still, I check them every year about this time because July is the month when many places start having deals and promotions on backpacks. Waiting until right before school starts can lead to a picked-over selection of inferior products. Better to take care of it now!

Double-check summer assignments/expectations.

Some teachers and/or therapists will send home summer packets with children. These may be optional or they may be required. Either way, I find that the majority of us do a great job at the beginning of the summer, then lose steam, and wind up scrambling to get things done in those last days before school resumes. Not surprisingly, this is not fun!

Right now, you probably still have at least a few weeks to get things done. Double-check folders and packets and make sure that your child is on-track to complete any expected summer work. If you do it now, you can actually play and relish those last days of summer break!

Taking care of these simple things now will allow you to rest a little easier when the school year starts back up.

What other suggestions do you have that can be done now to alleviate stress down the road?

– A mother of three, including a 24 week preemie, JessieLeigh is a determined advocate for even the tiniest of babies. She can be found celebrating life’s (sometimes unexpected) miracles and blessings at Parenting Miracles.

You can read all of Jessie Leigh’s posts for Life as MOM here.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Molly says

    My LLBean backpack lasted 10ish years before the zippers failed. And I had a Lands End polo last a similar length of time, wearing it at least once/week. I think I got my money’s worth.

    Target was clearing out all the summer stuff this week – I bet we’ll see their school sales next week. Seems too soon.

    • It really does feel too soon, doesn’t it, Molly? That’s always the way, though. We’ll blink and they’ll be putting out the Christmas stuff! :O

  2. When our first one (of 6) headed to middle school last year, we didn’t find out about large multi-subject binders with a strap until he was having a hard time balancing all of his papers while walking down the hall. (They couldn’t wear backpacks in the hall.) We had to drive all over town to find one. This year we will get to the stores early to find some for our two kiddos who will be in middle school. They can hold multiple subjects and even have a filing folder for storage. With the strap hanging on his shoulder, he could walk down the hall and hold his band instrument at the same time.

    • Oh, I’d never even heard of those, Polly! Sounds like a clever invention, for sure. Smart of you to head to the stores early! πŸ™‚

  3. Kadee says

    I love our LL Bean backpacks! I bought my kids one when they started kindergarten, and my oldest is now going into 6th grade. It shows no signs of wear. As far as things to do, I make sure I schedule my kids’ yearly eye exams, semi annual dental visits, haircuts, and any other appointments they might need in those last few weeks of summer. I also like to make sure I have some freezer meals made up. It just seems like the first two weeks of school are chaotic adjusting to the routine and new activities, so not having to worry about meals takes some stress away.

  4. My daughter (going into 8th) takes her lunch every day. If there are any new lunch ideas I want to send with her, I will have her try them out before the school year starts. That way if she doesn’t like something I don’t send it with her to school.

  5. I just have to jump in to say that LLBean deluxe bookpacks are 25% off for a couple of weeks right now, making them $30 instead of $40. I needed a bigger size for one of my boys so this was the perfect time to order. I still have the LLBean backpack I abused all through high school and college – the water proof lining (or at least that’s what I think that stuff is) is flaking off but otherwise the bag is in excellent condition.

    • Ooh, good to know about the deluxe packs, MH– thanks for sharing! I carried the same LLBean bag for YEARS when I was in school, so I didn’t hesitate to buy them for my own kids. πŸ™‚

  6. This is such great advice as the last thing we want to be thinking about right now is the new school year. If we don’t, however, we may end up paying more later and being more stressed under the time crunch. Thanks for the great reminder!

    • You’re very welcome, Heather! I hate having to overpay because I waited until the 11th hour. (Can you tell it’s happened to me before? πŸ™‚ )

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts