Getting Yourself and the Kids Ready to Return to School


For many of us within the nation’s capital, classes have already begun or will start very shortly. Virginians enjoyed a weekend of tax-free shopping on certain school supplies, clothing and footwear in early August, while Marylanders enjoyed tax-free shopping on clothing and footwear during the third week of the month. Like many other families, mine was out making purchases for school on the first and last sale days. Mission accomplished!

In our household, the new backpacks are already hanging by the closet in the foyer. School supplies are stacked in neat piles atop the kitchen counter. My husband and I have asked our  girls if they’re ready to go back to school, and depending on the time of day and weather we get varying responses. Whenever I can, I stress the importance of preparedness and having a positive attitude. However, our daughters don’t seem to appreciate my lectures.

The new academic year brings challenges for all of us whether or not we’re raising children. Vehicles roll to a halt at the sight of school buses with flashing lights to load and unload students in neighborhoods; long carpool lanes at drop-off and pick-up test your patience; extracurricular activity schedules must be carefully coordinated; and, of course, we battle heavier traffic on roadways.

Now, in anticipation of the upcoming school year, don’t get overwhelmed unnecessarily. It is possible to stay ahead of the curve and minimize stress during the week. To do so, consider any or all of these practical tips:

  1. Meal preparation. Avoid making multiple trips to the grocery store. Plan ahead and make a weekly shopping list so you’re replenishing that which has been exhausted in your cabinets and refrigerator in one swoop. Regardless of whether you’re cooking for yourself or others, create a menu for your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. Set aside a few hours during the weekend to cook, label and pack containers. Not only will you save on precious time, you may end up enjoying healthier meals. Your waist and wallet will be thankful!
  2. Refuel on Sunday. The last thing you need to see when you turn your car on in the morning is the warning light indicating your gas tank is empty. Don’t let it happen to you! Starting your day or week off like this is just wrong. Try to refuel before Monday. According to, the majority of states “lower prices during the weekend than the week.”
  3. Streamline your closet. Annette Harris of ShowUp! offers a wealth of information on her website and recommends “streamlin[ing] your closet so you aren’t overwhelmed in the morning or ‘never have anything to wear.’” Furthermore, planning ahead for the week and factoring in meetings you’ll attend will alleviate unnecessary pressure each day. While doing so, don’t forget to pack your workout clothes! The same can be done for and with your children. This can be accomplished together or independently after you’ve modeled expectations.
  4. Say “No.” For a long time, one of the most difficult things for me to do was to decline an invitation or say “no.” Now, I don’t think twice. I’ve finally learned that I cannot be at every event nor be there for everybody. Socializing is no longer a priority — my family and I are.

If you’re already doing one or some or all of these, great! Keep up the amazing job. Try to avoid unnecessary burnout and don’t be shy about asking for help. May you and the kids have a great new school year!

Disclaimer: The opinions, references, and views expressed in this post are those of the guest blogger and do not reflect the official policy or position of the agency where she is currently employed.

Yesenia Flores Díaz is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.


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I hear you, Román! But it is necessary to practice self-care. I found myself drained in every way when I ran around everywhere to do everything with everybody. Since then, I’ve learned to apply the brakes, have slowed down considerably, and now enjoy the ride!

Tracey Batacan

Yesenia, great blog. I really liked the tips you shared. I am also finding time to take yoga classes with other parents while my kids attend their sports practices. It helps to reframe the mind and get some non-parent bench sitting cardio too.


Thank you, Tracey! That sounds great…not only do you get to do something for yourself but the activity probably allows you to “bond” or at least get to know the other parents better…when my eldest ran track last Spring, I jogged around the park and did warm-ups on the bleachers to cool down from the work day…