Summer is a time for vacations, fun, family, and friends but it is also time to begin to prepare for the upcoming year. With the laundry list of supplies that are needed, it is a good idea to start preparing well in advance. Here are some tips so you can get ahead of the game!
- TALK ABOUT IT. Something that some parents forget to think about is the emotional aspect of heading to school. Whether your child is going for the first time or if they have been going and are entering a new grade/classroom, it is a good idea to begin to have discussions with them about what their feelings are about going back, what some goals for the year can be, and maybe even going and doing a walkthrough of the school, cafeteria, and classrooms before school begins.
- CHECK BEFORE BUYING TO SAVE SOME $$. Before you venture out to buy everything on your list, do a closet/supply sweep at home. You will be amazed at how much stuff you have laying around! Whatever items you still need, begin to keep an eye on the weeklies for sales and don’t forget that places like the Dollar Store are a great resource. Be sure to set limits when you have older kids. They often want the “latest and greatest” stuff and this may be a good opportunity to let them spend some of their own money (that they have hopefully earned over the summer!) on some of those items. Often buying in bulk is a good option for things you know that they will need again the following year.
- LABEL. Be sure to label all belongings. Get a small luggage tag for backpacks. Get iron on labels for articles of clothing and lunch bags. Waterproof stickers are great for Tupperware and water bottles. Include a phone number on valuable articles but never an address.
- BRUSH UP ON SCHOOL SKILLS. Brush up on skills and make sure they have completed any summer programs/assignments. Reading together is a great way to prepare and spend quality time. You can find simple workbooks with math problems and other challenges at places like Target and Walmart and practicing good manners and reinforcing good hygiene help too.
- PLAN FOR MEALS. Decide early on about how breakfast and lunch will go. Will your kids eat breakfast at home? How many times a week will they be allowed to buy lunch? Who will make their lunches and what will be packed in them? Planning these things in advance gets any arguments out of the way and can also help you budget for the year.
- ... AND CLOTHES. The same can be said and done with clothing. If you have older school aged kids, you may have to have harder conversations about what is appropriate and what they will be allowed to wear (while still looking “cool”!). Set boundaries and also decide on a dollar amount that you are willing to spend on clothing/shoes.
- CREATE A CALENDAR. Consider creating a “Family Calendar”. You can even print out free ones from online! This can be a place where the family can write things that are happening; soccer practice, birthday parties, board meetings, travel, etc. Each family member can have their own color to show who is doing what and when. Such an easy way to help with communication!
No matter how old your child is, they will benefit from planning and preparing and open communication. You might also find that it helps with your stress, too! Saving time, money, and energy will keep your family on time, on track, and ultimately happier. Have a great year!