4 Smart Habits for a Low-Stress School Year

Here are 4 smart habits your family can incorporate early on to make for a successful and low-stress school year.

Cheryl Butler
5-minute read
Episode #495

I’m not going to mince words—after ten weeks of a very full summer vacation with my kids (five are out of or in college, three to go!) I’m quite ready for the new school year to begin. Some might find me to be a bit of a party pooper, but I know there are many, many families who feel the same way. As much as we adore having our kids home for that much needed summer R&R, we are also ready to embrace an exciting new year of learning and other school-related adventures after having our kids surrounding us 24/7 for the past month and a half.

The start of the new school year is a fresh start, for both kids and parents alike! Change is in the air as we transition from the lazy days of summer to the more structured days of the school year, which grounds us with routines and strucutre that come hand in hand with the change in seasons and a more regulated rhythm to our daily plans.

Transitioning from summer to school can be both exciting and overwhelming. That doesn’t have to be the case, however, if you start the school year off with the right set of tools. Mighty Mommy has done the back-to-school transition for over 20 years now, and each one gets easier. Here are four smart habits your family can incorporate early on to make for a successful and low-stress school year.

4 Smart Habits for a Low-Stress School Year    

  1. Have an A+ Morning Routine
  2. Earn Extra Credit the Night Before
  3. Revamp Your Language  (Stay Positive)
  4. Simplify Schedules

Let’s explore each in more detail.

1. Have an A+ Morning Routine

If there’s one piece of parenting advice I would share on a regular basis, it would definitely be the importance of incorporating routines into your daily life. Routines are a parent’s best friend. Our kids thrive on expectations. Whether it’s knowing they have to clean up their toys every night before bed or that they have to brush their teeth after breakfast and before catching the bus—it’s a huge source of comfort to them (young and old alike) to know what they are expected to accomplish each and every day.

Sure, they might voice their displeasure that they have to put their own laundry away before supper, but deep down they feel secure knowing that they need to accomplish certain tasks as part of your family’s ebb and flow each day.

Routines don’t just happen, they are created. Kick off this new school year with an A+ expectation of calm and serenity by creating an effective morning routine for your family.

The year I got myself out of bed about 25 minutes earlier than my family was the year we all moved to the head of the class. I was able to get myself centered and peaceful before the rest of the house awoke, which set the tone for the rest of the day. When you and your kids leave the house without scurrying for backpacks, lunches, searching for homework assignments and car keys, the rest of your day simply falls with less happiness and a lot more good energy.

Check out my episode 6 Key Ingredients For A Successful Morning Routine for more ideas on constructing a solid start to your day.

2. Earn Extra Credit the Night Before

Equally as imperative as your morning routine, I can’t stress how important it is to be organized the night before your school day as well.

The constants in our school kids' lives seem to be: sports and extra-curricular practices and activities, homework and school projects, and managing social lives. Oh, and of course, we—the parents—have our own work commitments and schedules, the upkeep of our homes, grocery shopping (very important!), and managing our own personal relationships and healthy lifestyles.

If you want to have an effective, easy-breezy morning routine, you must set the stage the night before with your evening routine.

Selecting outfits the night before as well as making school lunches will cut your morning hassle in half each day.

Don’t forget about keeping homework struggles at bay. By simply designating a homework station for your kids for the school year, and checking in with them at the beginning of the school week to see what assignments and projects are due, you can save your entire family many homework headaches!

Get your family into the habit of staying on task the night before school, and everyone, especially you, will wake up with a sunny disposition throughout the school year.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.