It is that time of year again when our children return back to school. Whether you home school, unschool or traditional school, here are some tips for every mom as we send our kids back to school:

1. Embrace a new year

Similar to January 1, each academic year brings with it new opportunities. There are new things to be learned, new friendships to be explored, new sports to try and another grade to be tackled. There may even be an alternative method to dealing with a bothersome classmate. Last year’s conflicts do not need to become an obstacle to this year.

2. Set some emotional limits

The Back to School season brings with it an entire season of retail glamour and trappings. For example, this weekend is Tax Free Weekend in our hometown. Having previously partaken in the crowded malls, picked over clothing and incomplete school supply list belonging to this calendar event, I am choosing to sit this one out. The 10% savings is not the worth the risk to my mental sanity or that of my children.

3. Choose just one thing

Remember all those inner vows we made at the end of last year: “I’m going to start packing their lunches the night before,” “Next year, I am going to use a different math curriculum” or “Instead of complaining about how things are done, I’m going to serve on the committee.” While all great ideas, too many changes at once can become overwhelming for every mom. By choosing just one thing to do differently we can make a difference and still feel good about ourselves.

4. Become your own PTA

Teaching is among the noblest of professions, yet it can also be thankless. Many are facing more job requirements with less financial resources. Some local economies are forcing city councils to make unwanted cuts to their education system. As a mom, this is where we can step in and show our support for those that care enough to educate out children. You do not have to take an ad on a billboard to show your appreciation. It can be as simple as asking them how you can help out, or even just greeting them with a smile or kind word.

5. Use education as a relational tool

School is here whether we like it or not, so why not use it as means to spend more time with your kids? You can use the drive time to find out what is going on with your student. Homework can be done while you are making dinner. Some schools even will allow moms to come and have lunch with their kids. Back to School does not have to be a downer if we choose to keep it fun.