Managing Stress: Tips for a Stress Free September

parentingages and stages

Back to School is not for the faint of heart. Between PTA meetings, orientations, class breakfasts, and curriculum nights (of course multiplied by the number of children you have), how is a parent supposed to get anything else done? And that doesn’t take into account the scheduling and preparing that needs to be done before that glorious first day of school. It’s a lot for even the most organized of moms. So, before you throw in the towel, here are some tips to get you through the fall frenzy.

Crumbled yellow post-its with one purple post-it that says "Back to School"

How to Have a Stress Free September

1. Have a glass of wine. A chilled bottle of Pinot is as essential during this time as pencil cases and notebooks.

2. Don’t be afraid to say no…to heading the benefit committee, to play dates your child doesn’t want, and to activities that are inconvenient for you.

3. Volunteer for something fun and easy. By volunteering to plan the parents’ night out, you can ensure that its location and date work for you. By volunteering to plan the 6th grade graduation party, you can win points with your child without suffering through a year-long commitment.

4. Overscheduling is a myth, especially if your kids are old enough to have discovered the computer. Put it this way: if they’re playing tennis or doing ballet, they’re not i-chatting.

5. Create a study space in your home. This is nothing more complicated than having a clear surface, good lighting, and essential supplies. Use stackable paper trays that can be filled with lined paper, white paper, and colored paper. Then use small plastic drawers for highlighters, binder clips, post-it notes, tape, and glue. Pencils and pens can be kept in a decorative mug or cup on the desk. Where your child does his/her homework is less important than having supplies that are accessible.

6. Back up all homework on an external hard drive or flash drive. Saving these files externally will protect documents from being accidentally deleted by other family members.

7. Use a master calendar. Whether you affix a calendar to a wall, post it on the refrigerator, or keep track of your family’s activities electronically, what’s important is that every activity for each family member is recorded in one place. This guarantees that you’ll avoid the stress of double booked activities, impossible logistics, and overscheduling.

8. Institute weekly family meetings that prepare each member of your family for the upcoming week. Young children might remind you that they need to bring cookies for the bake sale, older children might remind you that they need to be driven somewhere, and you can remind your family that you won’t be home for dinner on a particular night.


Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York, NY. Her tough love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle.  Barbara’s book, “Secrets of an Organized Mom”  will be on shelves in February 2013.   To find more tips from Barbara, please visit or or @BarbaraReich.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York, NY. Her tough love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle. Barbara’s book, “Secrets of an Organized Mom” hit bookshelves in February 2013.


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