Ask any parent, and the last few weeks of August and beginning of September are likely listed as one of the most stressful times of the year in any household. Not only do you have the added expense of back to school supplies, clothing, and fees but you also have some anxiety and bubbly excitement in the kids (OK, in the parents too!).
The best thing you can do to help manage that back to school stress is to be prepared. Don’t leave the back to school supply shopping for the last minute – you’re bound to run into more frazzled parents at that point which also doesn’t help – and try to get your household into the back to school routine in the week prior to school starting, if you can.
I keep a large family calendar on the back of the door to the garage, so that everyone sees it as they start their day (or grab me an extra jug of milk from the garage-fridge, as the case may be!) Having a central place where everyone can see what’s coming up in the next day or week helps everyone stay on the same page, with hopefully no surprises. A busy week can be overwhelming for all of us and knowing what’s ahead can help calm some of that anxiety.
Sleep in hugely important and worth focusing in on in that week before school starts. While children up to third grade may require up to 12 hours per night, even high schoolers still need a solid eight to 10 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This advice applies to parents as well; ensure mom and dad are both getting to bed at a reasonable time so that you’re ready for busy school mornings again as well.
Did you know? A recent study conducted by Catelli found that about half of Canadian parents feel at least one pressure when it comes to ensuring they’re feeding their family good, healthy meals. Parents are most concerned with pressure from their own family or friends (30%) or the media (28%). However, according to the same poll: 88% of Canadian parents also admitted that they feel better when they focus on what works best for their family instead of comparing themselves to others. I love this! We need to do what works for our family, and I know in my own household that comes down to finding recipes that are easy, quick, nutritious and that the kids will love. Who cares if you have spaghetti and meat-sauce once a week, as long as the family loves it, everyone is happy!
Plan ahead by making and freezing meals for school and busy weeknight dinners now. Even one extra casserole in the freezer each week, or a double batch of spaghetti sauce portioned into freezer bags will help a ton in the months to come. Need some inspiration? Here are some of my favorite meals that freeze really well:
- Egg Muffins
- Freezer Spaghetti Sauce
- Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
- Slow Cooker Chili
- Cranberry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
- Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole
This week on Instagram Stories, I shared how I prepared an easy recipe for Chicken Mushroom Fettuccine. It’s sort of a “cheat” recipe because there’s no creamy alfredo sauce involved at all, but it sure gets the taste buds poppin’ and gets gobbled up by the kids. You can put this recipe together in no time (even in the morning before school and then just pop in the fridge until it’s time to make dinner later). When dinner time rolls around, it bakes in the oven for 1 hour, while in the last 15 minutes or so you simply boil the fettucine. We like using Catelli Smart Fettuccine because it tastes just like traditional white pasta, but offers the added benefits of fibre (with 32% of your daily recommended fibre intake per 85 g serving, it’s an easy way to add fibre into your family’s diet and no one will notice!)
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 cans condensed mushroom soup
- ½ an onion, sliced
- 1 can sliced mushrooms or 1 cup fresh sliced
- linguini noodles
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place chicken breasts in a baking dish.
- Cover with mushroom soup, sliced onions and mushrooms, turning to coat. Add pepper.
- Cover with tin foil and bake in for 1 hour at 350F.
- Cook fettuccini according to package directions when chicken is almost ready.
- Serve chicken on top of noodles, I allow for plenty of extra sauce with this recipe! Enjoy!
I’m a part of the #CatelliFamilies network, and Catelli generously has offered another giveaway for my readers! Someone is going to win a Catelli Pasta prize package valued at $25 worth of yummy pasta goodness! To enter, simply fill in your name and email address in the form below and click BEGIN! Then leave a comment on this post sharing how you help calm the chaos in your household for back to school! Don’t forget the bonus entries available for things like following Catelli on Instagram and Twitter!