Any parent knows that the last month of school is like a marathon.
There are a million events, parties, final projects, and summer prep to-dos and it feels almost like another December in terms of busyness (maybe even more so!).
Here are some of my best tips for managing the end of the school year without losing your mind:
tips for surviving the end of the school year
- Put EVERYTHING on a calendar. I’m a devoted Google Calendar user and I love that it can sync with Bart’s so we both know exactly what’s going on when. But a paper calendar works great too as long as you use it. When there are so many things going on, having them written down makes it easy to see what is going on, where you need to be and how busy things REALLY are rather than just a general feeling of overwhelm.
- Choose a meal strategy. If your house is anything like mine, meals are the first thing to fall apart when the schedule gets busy. It doesn’t matter what your strategy is, but acknowledging that it’s going to be tricky and then making a plan in advance makes life WAY easier. Maybe you stock up on Costco or Trader Joe pre-made dinners that you can just heat and eat. Maybe you prep a week long meal plan and then repeat it for the next four weeks. Maybe you go all in on crockpot dinners. Maybe it’s sandwiches or breakfast for dinner 3 nights a week. Whatever works for you and your family is the correct answer!
- Focus on the basics. Everything feels worse when you are tired and poorly taken care of. This is when I really lean into my routines of getting enough sleep, regular exercise and eating foods that make me feel good. Everything is harder when you’re exhausted or starving – do your best to prioritize, at least some of the time, the things that will give you the energy to make it through May. That might mean buying more healthy snacks so you can eat something that will fuel your body in a hurry or putting your phone away and going to bed an hour early when you can to make up for later nights when you can’t go to bed on time.
- Prep teacher gifts now. This is one of those things that I always remind myself will take exactly the same amount of time now as it will on the night before school ends but with significantly less stress. The right answer for teacher. gifts is always gift cards, and I like to do a Target gift card with a nice handwritten note (both from me and from my child). I often will include a book for the teacher or the classroom library or a small treat, too. Getting those all ready to go ahead of time makes the last day of school MUCH less stressful.
- Build in some downtime. When life gets busy and hectic, it’s nice to have some pockets of peace. Maybe it’s a family bike ride on the weekend or a solo trip to the bookstore or a family movie night. Whatever it is that makes life feel a little less frantic is a good thing right not!
- Ask your kids what they’re looking forward to this summer. You may not be ready to prep and plan for your whole summer when you’re drowning under the weight of all the end of the school year stuff, but this is a fun conversation over dinner or in the car while you drive and helps everyone start to think about what they want out of summer vacation.
- Decide how you want to celebrate the end of the school year. There is so much hype around the end of the school year and the beginning of summer and I like knowing how we’re going to cross that bridge (plus, it’s a nice thing for my children to have their expectations set). For years, we went and got ice cream cones (usually 49 cent ones from the grocery store soft serve machine!) on the day school let out which felt like both a celebration of the end of school and a delightful welcome to summer. Now, we kick off summer with a weekend trip to my parents’ house in Las Vegas with my sister and her kids and the cousins swim all weekend long, we watch movies, and make s’mores and just generally start the summer off with a bang. If you need some ideas, ask your kids how THEY’D like to celebrate the end of the school year! It doesn’t have to be big or fancy – some 50 cent popsicles or a picnic at the park or running through the sprinkler are all fun!
- Remember that pretty much all of the end of school stuff is optional. Like the holidays, it can be easy to get sucked into all the things you HAVE to do, but really you can skip just about all of it. Don’t want to go to an event or celebration? No one is getting arrested for staying home and going to bed instead. Decide what matters to YOU about this season and focus on those things and happily ignore the rest of it. This is supposed to be a fun time and if it’s making your life overly stressful, you can opt out.
Any other tips for surviving the chaos and craziness of May? I’d love it if you shared how you power through the end of the school year!
if you liked this post on survival tips for the end of school, you might also like these other posts:
- 12 Tips for Planning for Summer
- A Habit That Has Worked Well For Me This Summer
- 20 Fun Summer Activities for Kids to Do at Home