How to Survive the Second Back to School Season

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

This post is sponsored by GOJO, the makers of PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant. All opinions are my own. the second first week of school

Parents across America are either getting ready for the second back to school season or breathing a sigh of relief that they've made it through the first week back after winter break. You know what I mean by the second back to school season, right? It's going back to school after the long (long, long, long, long, long) winter break.

Our winter break was almost three weeks long and that is more than enough time for your school-day routine to be totally forgotten and for the experience of getting up and at 'em every weekday to be a bit of a shock to everyone's systems. Ask me how I know!

Your kids (and you, too!) will adjust pretty fast. They're going back into a familiar classroom and will be among familiar faces. It will take a week (or two or three) for everyone to get back into their groove and then everything will be fine. But, the sense of discombobulation is a real thing. Here are some things that get me through.

How to survive the second back to school season

[Tweet “How to survive the second back-to-school season AD @Purell”]

1. Lunch Packing

Moms, we always start the new school year vowing to pack the BEST, most epic lunches, am I right? We spend waaaay too much time on Pinterest and aspire to make sandwiches shaped like hearts and stars and healthy pasta salad in cute little containers.

And then, life happens. We slap a super hastily prepared PB&J accompanied by a side of stale chips or (gasp!) a Lunchable in our kids' lunchbox. We call it good, and you know what? That's okay.

PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant kills 99.99% of viruses and bacteria in 30 seconds. It’s worry-free to use around pets, kids, and food, which gives me a ton of peace of mind. The alcohol-based formula kills germs like bleach without harsh chemicals and irritating fumes. There are no harsh smells which is a win because no one likes harsh smells in their food prep area.

How to survive the second back to school season|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

But the impending second back-to-school season has us all super motivated to make better lunches. To do better.

There is a lot going on in my kitchen when I'm packing lunches. I try to knock the lunch packing out after dinner as part of the clean-up process which means major multi tasking. I love that I can keep PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant on hand to keep my food-contact surfaces disinfected and clean.

How to survive the second back to school season|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

I'd love to have more than two hands sometimes – ha! I know that would probably look weird but as I'm wiping out lunch boxes and wiping down my sandwich making area, plus dealing with two very energetic kitchen “helpers” I often wish I had an extra set of hands to get it all done. At least I have PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant to help keep everything clean. The second back-to-school season also happens to be smack in the middle of cold and flu season and I love that this product helps me keep the things that come in contact with lots of little germy people – like lunch boxes – clean and sanitized. There’s no water rinse required; this means you do not have to rinse the surface or object you sprayed after using the product because there are no harmful chemicals.

How to survive the second back to school season|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
Well, they KINDA look like dinosaurs, right?

And that's all well and good. It's good to start this new year with fresh new ideas that will NOT result in squished, half-eaten turkey sandwiches that come home in your kids' lunchbox.

It's fine to have goals and aspirations of being the master lunchmaker. But don't beat yourself up if  you fall short. You might find yourself throwing a cheese stick and a baggie full of stale Rice Krispies in your kid's lunch come the end of May. It's all good. It really is.

How to survive the second back to school season|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
And go ahead and snap that “first day back” picture while you're at it!

2. Shop the Sales – Buy Essentials

This is a good time to take a peek in your kids' closets and see what they might need to get through the rest of the school year. We don't buy a ton of things in late summer/early fall, which is when most people buy their back-to-school essentials. One reason for this is that we live in such a warm climate that our kids are wearing shorts to school throughout the fall…sometimes even into December!

How to survive the second back to school season|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
100% Resale

Another reason for this is that the online Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are so much better than the back-to-school sales. I might buy my kids a couple of new things in August but I buy the bulk of their new clothes for the year in January.

I am also a big thrift store shopper. Probably 75 percent of what my kids wear is from thrift or resale stores. Not as many people are buying clothes, backpacks, sports equipment and whatnot in January as they are in August and September. There's more stuff and it's less picked through.

3. Clean out the Backpacks

Or, if you're me, clean out the backpacks after you locate them. As much as I like to say I remember to empty the backpacks at the start of school breaks, I probably remember only about 50 percent of the time. Getting my kids ready for the second “first week of school” usually involves going through the backpack and hoping I don't find any important papers I should have looked at three weeks ago or gross, decomposing snacks.

We give our backpacks a wipe down with PURELL® Multi Surface Disinfectant before sending our kids off on their first day back to school for the new year.

PURELL® Multi-Surface Disinfectant holds the EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) certification. What does that mean? It means this product meets the EPA’s high standards for sustainable products…and that’s important to me.

This is the time of year when I resolve to do better at staying on top of the backpacks and my kids' daily folders. Any guesses to how long that will last?

4. Help Your Kids Set Goals

There's still a lot of school year left and the mid-point is a great way to refocus. Kids aren't the only ones who can have back-to-school goals. I know when this school year started, I told my kids I would eat lunch with them once a week. I'm not beating myself up but I have failed pretty miserably on this one. We live less than a mile from the school and I work from home, so getting myself up to the cafeteria isn't super-challenging, so having lunch with my kids more consistently is my goal. After all, I need to relish these times when my kids are excited to see me walk into the cafeteria because I know the “OMG there's my mom, she's so embarrassing” years are up ahead.

Talk through possible goals with your kids. I'm always amazed at how creative and tenacious my kids are when it comes to this. One of my kids has the goal to “be kind to everyone on the playground” which makes my heart happy. One of my kid set his goal to be done with speech therapy by the time he gets to third grade (he's in second now) and I had to help him adjust that because we expect him to need longer-term speech services and we want him to have an attainable and realistic goal.

How to survive the second back to school season|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
Pin this Post!

5. Re-establish the Bedtime Routine…

…or not. If your household is anything like mine, bedtimes have been a free-for-all since school let out for winter break. We've had late nights and lazy mornings, so the second first week of school tends to be pretty rough. I'm always torn between starting their school night bedtime routine up a few days before vacation ends and letting them squeeze the last bit of juice out of their vacation. I usually choose the latter and although we have to suffer through a few (okay maybe more than a few!) grumpy mornings, I don't really regret my choice. That much.

I always say I'm going to stick to a routine next school vacation and I never do. Do what works best for you. Some families thrive on routine and some families function best with minimal structure.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

PURELL® Multi-Surface Disinfectant  Multi-Surface Disinfectant is available online at, and In addition, it is available at select grocers like Publix, H-E-B, Shoprite and Harris Teeter.

Here's to surviving the second first week of school! Things will be back to normal (ish) by Spring Break and then you'll get another opportunity for your family to completely get thrown off again. It's kind of a crazy circle, but we've gotta just hang on and enjoy the ride, right?

You might also like:

Sanity saving hacks for holiday hosting

To the back-to-school picture haters on social media

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *