Back to School Tipsback
When you think of " back to school," you think of routines, schedules, and of course, the endless list of supplies and or textbooks. With some planning, the start of the school year can be less stressful and easier on your pockets.
Routine is a necessity - Children crave routine and order in their lives; without it they are somewhat lost and harder to deal with. During the school year, most children have an earlier, set bedtime and waking time. This should not change during the summer. Keeping with this schedule will make it easier for everyone to transition when school starts. If it isn't possible during the summer, two weeks before school starts, prep the children for the upcoming change. Give them daily reminders of what is coming.
Secret stash - One week before school starts, the stores are buzzing with frazzled parents trying to buy the last minute school supply for their student. Stock up on the essentials throughout the year. Pencils, notebook paper, pens, highlighters, etc. Grabbing a few binders, folders, and notebooks also wouldn't hurt. Most schools have the school supply list on their website closer to the beginning of school, which enables you to do a bit of early shopping to beat the last minute crowds. When it comes to buying supplies, clothes even electronics, the average American family will spend just over $600; that's up from 2009, when families only spent $548.
- Backpacks - There are a few systems to put into place for the bulky backpacks. Having a designated spot for their bags, coats, and shoes will leave less work for you. Hang a rack by the front door with hooks and place a bench under it for shoes. Once they come, home have them drop off their stuff, eat snack, and then empty their bags.
- School papers - Now what to do with the contents of their bags? Place a bin on the wall for each child to drop off papers that need to be signed, homework they want to show you, or artwork they may want to keep. Ours is near the trash so all unwanted papers gets thrown away immediately. Each night while you are in the kitchen cooking or cleaning, make some time to go through and take care of each child's folder/bin.
- Work station - Having a space for kids to do homework is essential for a successful student. We have a kid's zone that has all the supplies and books they need to get their work done, including sharpener, paper, dictionary, and some art supplies just in case. This makes life so much easier for everyone. No more excuses for not getting that homework done.
- Reading area - Reading at home is encouraged in all schools and is expected for each student. Setting up a reading area for library books in the kid zone is a great idea.
Command center - Every household should have a command center equipped with a calendar, menu, chore chart, and grocery list. After going through the papers the kids bring home, jot down what needs to be put in the schedule. You can use different color markers or pens for each member of the family.
Plan ahead - After dinner cleanup is a great time to pack lunches for the night before. Before bedtime, part of the routine could be to make sure all the kids have their clothes picked out for the next day. It's a good idea to let them do this themselves; it teaches them responsibility and to be confident in their choices. Eventually, it will be one less thing for you to worry about. Are their bags packed? Better to do make sure this is done the night before
One of the 7 habits of highly effective kids is to think with the end in mind. Having a plan is very important.
Teaching your child the skills they need to be productive and successful students starts at home with the parent(s). It may seem hard to set these routines and systems up at first, but in the long run it will be worth it every minute.
Who says you have to shop when everyone else does? Consumers who waited until AFTER school started often got the best deals. By planning ahead and buying all year long, you give yourself the freedom to wait. These days, 61% of consumers say they will wait to shop well into September.