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Did your kids have a rough time adjusting to going back to school last year? Were the last-minute shopping trips of everything you needed to buy a little out of control?

Did it take several weeks until your household got back into the rhythm of school life?

Dealing with back to school prep while having the kids at home during the summer can be a lot for parents to juggle. Besides, dreading all that needs to get done can cause you to not enjoy what is right in front of you.

Ready to do your back to school prep differently this year? Here are the steps to take to not only enjoy your summer but also nail your back to school prep!

1. Good fuel in. Bad fuel out.

How you feed yourself and your family will play a huge role in your energy levels. Bad quality fuel = not enough energy for your day, your kids, and end of summer planning.

Additionally, poor food choices not only affect our energy stores, but also many aspects of our health. According to Springs Pediatric Dental Care,a pediatric dental office in Colorado Springs, “Sugar and acids such as those found in soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, and candy can be your teeth’s worst enemies. With its high acid content, Mountain Dew appears to be the worst. Acids soften the tooth enamel, making your teeth more likely to decay. We advise our parents to watch their kids’ consumption of these products.”

2. Stop thinking. Start to do-ing.

Does your mind often go on a loop, listing all the things you have to do in order to prepare? And then you repeat that loopseveral times throughout your day and week? These types of thoughts will dampen your enjoyment of summer and can amp up your daily stress levels.

Each time a thought occurs to you about upcoming back to school prep, write it out in a “back to school” to do list on your phone or notebook. Once it is out of your mind and onto paper, you no longer need to worry about forgetting it, and you will be free to enjoy summer vacation fun. But for this to be the most effective possible, follow through with the next point.

3. Tackle the mountain, 15 minutes a week.

Choose one day each week where you give yourself 15 minutes to pull out that to-do list and tackle one thing that needs doing. If you finish the task before the 15 minutes is up, do something else on your to-do list that is easy to complete.

In this way, you will be getting a large bulk of the work done, week by week. Your sense of accomplishment and of being in control will grow, too. And you will nix that feeling of dread that often accompanies looming dates when we know that it comes with a lot of to-dos.

4. Chip away at your school supplies shopping list.

Want to skip the long cashier lines of stressed-out parents doing last-minute back to school shopping?

You can. Use a master list of shopping supplies like this one provided by Good Housekeeping magazine. And then methodically go through it for each child.

Again, do it a little at a time, so you do not burn yourself out. A couple of minutes each week doing a little online shopping is all you need. Or print and carry the shopping list with you on your grocery runs and knock off a few items each time.

This way, you will have everything your kids need weeks in advance. And all you will need to do the week before is focusing on getting your kids back into the school-day rhythm.

5. Have a plan for the week before

You probably know you should start getting your kids used to waking up earlier and figuring out homework and school schedules, etc.

Want to carry it off like a master strategist? Write out a routine for your kids with a schedule that they follow for mornings and stuff to do before bed. And prepare this with enough lead-up time so that you can adjust the schedule as needed.

The happy result of following the steps outlined here? Your kids’ transition back to school will be smooth instead of a rough and tumble ride. And as a worthy bonus, you will be free to fully enjoy your summer vacation.

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