How to Survive the First Week Back to School

As a working mom, the first week back to school is always stressful. Probably we could make it easy and hit up takeout a few nights, but when you’re watching your spending… well… that just isn’t an option.

With tonight being the school’s open house, I know the start of school is near and I’m dreading it. Normally I look forward to meeting her teacher and seeing her excitement as she checks out the new classroom.

But I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that my baby is now a fifth grader.

I’m not even sure how it happened. It wasn’t that long ago and I was brushing her hair every morning and helping her to tie her shoes. I know it’s cliche but I have to say it anyway: kids grow up way too fast, don’t they?

As I look forward to next week, the first week back to school, I’m not sure how my family will survive.

Summer has been incredibly busy and our routines and schedules are waaaaay out of whack. We’re trying to get back into a normal routine this week, but stuff just keeps coming up.

Next week is a crash course in “back to school.” 

Here are some tips that I’m going to put into practice to help me stay sane (and I bet you can find a few to use yourself!).

Plan Ahead for Dinner

It’s hard enough to get dinner on the table every night for this working mom. In the mad rush of back to school, it’s nearly impossible.

To help, I’m going to make some meals ahead this weekend and put them in the freezer. It’s a good way to have good food on-hand. You skip all the prep work and can just pop it in the oven or crock pot (or even better yet, just warm it up in the microwave!) and BAM dinner is on the table in record time.

Create a Morning Checklist

I live and die by checklists. I’m a list-maker for sure! And this has rubbed off on my child. (I’m not sure if it’s good or bad at this point… she can get slightly obsessed with list making and she’s only 10 LOL.)

Creating a fun morning checklist of things needed to get ready in the morning is a good way to help everyone get out the door on time.

And listing after-school tasks will help get homework finished and the bags ready and by the door for tomorrow morning.

This is actually one that I use every year and it works like a charm!

Make the First Day Special

We have a long-standing tradition that I drop her off at school and pick her up on the first (and last) day every year.

It takes some creative scheduling to make that work as a working mom, but so far I’ve been able to do it every year.

If that isn’t an option, get up a little early and make your child’s favorite breakfast (pancakes with sprinkles is a favorite at our house). The important thing is that you do something extra special to get their year off to a good start.

Stock up on Lunches

There’s nothing worse than last-minute runs to the grocery store. Well, maybe a root canal (which I’ve had and they’re awful, by the way).

Stock up this weekend on lunch snacks and foods. As a bonus, pre-portion them to make packing your child’s lunch a breeze!

Dedicate a School Space

This one is probably the most important in terms of organization. I’d say this one ties for first place with “Make the First Day Special.”

Designate a place in your home for school work and school notes.

Mornings are better when you don’t have to search the whole house to find the homework that needs to be turned in that day.

Set up a place to keep backpacks, school newsletters, and homework.

These simple tips will help ease the transition into a more structured week after the lazy days of summer. I need to find the dedicated school space from last year and clean it out.

Funny how clutter gets in the way of our best intentions, isn’t it?

What’s your favorite back-to-school advice?

Amy Beardsley

View posts by Amy Beardsley
Amy Beardsley is a Freelance Writer and Professional Ghostwriter whose work has appeared in dozens of financial planning and real estate blogs and magazines. In addition to writing articles, Amy has ghostwritten content for hundreds of social media profiles. With a background in the legal field, she transforms complex ideas and information into engaging easy-to-understand stories. Find Amy on Facebook, Twitter @emorningmoney or on her website,

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