Hold on parents we're going back-to-school. We need to get real and formulate a plan of action to keep our faith, sanity and bodies in check as we face another school year. Beyond the fun of buying school supplies and cute outfits, there are other tools to help you prepare for another year. Transform the beginning-of-the-school-year jumble into a mastery with the following 7 practical tips.

Set pragmatic academic goals.

Most parents push their kids too hard to help them academically. While having prodigies is great, you need to be realistic and set small goals for your child. Learning doesn't always come fast for all kids, so do yourself a favor and curtail ambitions. Many children who are pressured may withdraw from you and teachers. "If you constantly demand A's from your child, you may be sending the wrong message," psychologist Peggy Tsatsoulis suggested. Kids have enough pressure at school with their workloads. If they don't receive an "A" be okay with the "B" instead of freaking out. This takes the pressure off everyone and will create less anxiety in the house.

Get a head start.

Start setting up a routine by doing a practice run. Take on the challenge now rather than waiting until the last minute. Get your up child early enough so that they can adapt to the new routine and reward their diligence. This also includes meeting teachers ahead of time and learning your kids class schedules. Do some groundwork with the teachers and be open in sharing the goals you have for the semester.
Teachers face a difficult job and can't keep kids and the parents happy all the time. Share your appreciation with them ahead of time and drop a thank you note during the year as this can go a long way.

Shop early for school supplies.

This might be too late, but keep in mind that if you shop throughout the year for school supplies you won't have to deal with the last-minute rush. Purchase items on clearance and create a cabinet for supplies ahead of time. You don't need to buy brand-name items if the teacher asks for Crayola, go for the off-brand if it's on sale.

Get organized.

Do an end of the week purge of backpacks and gym bags with your child. Junk will accumulate like loose paper, books and empty food wrappers. Getting rid of non-essential items will cut down on clutter and help you find what is needed. Donna Goldberg, director of The Organized Student proposed to designate pockets for books, pencils, projects and use folders with labels to stay on track. This will teach your child to create healthy habits for years to come. Also, start adding doctor visits, play dates and other meetings into your digital calendar by prioritizing them. You can also display a calendar to use and attach important documents to it during the week as things can easily become lost.

Take care of yourself.

Most weeks you won't have time to even eat, but if you have 20 minutes go for a walk or run before everyone wakes up. Exercise can be an outlet to deal with stress, fatigue and can help the body fight bacteria off better.
Be aware that you also need to keep your composure when you child has a tantrum before you leave in the morning as this a typical trademark of kids. Take a deep breath and take your mind to another place because your stress will fuel kids negative behavior. If you're eating healthy and have an outlet for anxiety, you will be better equipped to handle situations like a cantankerous child.

Use the slow cooker.

Make dishes ahead of time to ease the stress of making sure people eat during the week by using the slow cooker. The Frugal Girls recommend their orange chicken recipe to help busy parents. Prepare this before you leave for work in a slow cooker and dinner will be ready when you get home. For the ingredients, you will need 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, ¾ cup Smuckers Sweet Orange Marmalade, a ¾ cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce and 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce. The instructions are simply to cook the chicken in the slow cooker for 6 hours on low. After 6 hours on low, drain juices from slow cooker. Mix together barbecue sauce, orange marmalade and soy sauce. Pour mixture over chicken and cook on high for 30 more minutes. By preparing meals ahead of time, you will save more money and stress less.

Reward yourself.

During the initial weeks of running around like a mad person, go out for dinner, see a movie or hold a Mexican night on Friday for everyone to join in. Then take time for yourself by getting a massage or reading a magazine. During the transition of going back-to-school as a family, there will be an obvious need to have something to look forward to.

You don't need to drive yourself insane this year. With a little preparation and determination, back-to-school doesn't have to be a encumbrance.
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