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Once Labor Day comes around, we all know what arrives next, BACK TO SCHOOL time!!  Whether you have a toddler in daycare, a child going to Kindergarten, or a tween headed to High School… its all pretty much the same; “new” clothes, school supplies, medical updates.. the list goes on and on.  This month we bring to you some tips that every Mom can benefit from to help ease this annual event.

Clothing

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Shopping for clothing is one of the major components of the back to school process.  You either hate it or love it, either way it has to be done, as kids grow so fast and many items might have been used and overused throughout the summer and are now just rundown.  Additionally, the season is about to change and that is also a major factor.   Here are some tips to help organize and shop on a budget!!

  1. Assess the situation:  Dig through the current lot and see what still fits, looks good, etc…
  • Rakijah Says:  We got plenty of hand-me-downs for my son when he was born, but they were just too big.  Now that he’s older we will be looking in those bins in the basement for items that should now fit!!!
  • Make a list and stick with it.  There are helpful list generators online.

pic 22. Look for sales and bargains

  • Many discount stores now have great and trendy styles at a fraction of the price, i.e. Target, JC Penney, Kohl’s, etc
  • Shop the clearance racks!!  Many out of season items can be on clearance.  Look for those items and save it for later.  Make sure it will still fit!!
  • Don’t forget about Thrift/Consignment Shops.  Gone are the days where thrift shops are full of dusty OLD clothes.  They have trendy, high end items now as well.
  • Shop after Labor Day.  Many items go on sale after the holiday and after the first week of school.  Get one or two things before the first week, and then go after to do your major hit!
  • Don’t buy for the entire year at one time.  Our kids will still be growing.  When the time comes, you don’t want a growth spurt to hit and some items not fit.

School Supplies

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Another component… school supplies.  Here we break down the basics and ways for reusing items that you already have.

1. Again, depending on grade level and age, your program/school will provide a list of supplies needed.  Make sure you get it, if not call and ask.

  •  There is usually someone in the office and they are there to help.

2.  Assess items that you might already have in the house and check that off the list.

  •  Many times we buy these supplies in bulk, so there might be leftovers from the last go around.

3. Go for the bargains and discount stores.

4. The EPA has great tips on how to reduce and recycle school supplies.  Some helpful hints include:

  • Purchasing supplies that come with little to no packaging
  • Use non-toxic supplies (inks and paints)
  • Use left over/ blank pages in your old notebooks as scrap paper for this year
    • I LOVE this idea.  Just rip them out and staple together and now you have a great scratch pad for simple notes such as quick math calculations.

Medical

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Make sure that your child is up to date with the medical clearances needed to get back into or start up in school.  Here are some tips:

  1. Find the forms needed to be filled out by your child’s doctor if needed
    • Call the school or daycare facility if your paperwork has been mysteriously misplaced, they’ll give you another copy.. it happens a lot!!
    • If your child participates or plans on participating in a sport, they might need a release form from the doctor as well.
  2. Schedule the doctor’s visit ASAP.  There are tons of kids going back to school and appointments fill up quickly, especially on Saturday’s
    • Be flexible, this is required… you won’t want your child missing the first day of school or so!!
    • Don’t forget to have their eyes checked.  I’m sure this is part of the routine physical, but make sure it’s done.  We want them to see well so that they can learn to their fullest potential.
  3. Prepare the kiddies.  Let’s face it, there might be vaccination shots required so be prepared.  Give the ones that are aware and afraid a reward afterwards:
    • Go out for ice cream
    • A trip to the local carnival
    • “extra clothes shopping” for that one thing that they really wanted and couldn’t get before… tie it in to the clothes shopping recommendations above

The CDC has two very helpful and easy to use websites giving what vaccination schedules are required sorted by age range and what is required for schools which is sorted by state.

    • Note:  this only applies to those who vaccinate.  There is much debate regarding vaccinating or not vaccinating our kiddies (which we are not doing here).  There are ways to apply for exemptions whether it’s for medical, religious, or other reasons.  Those requirements and options are listed by state as well.

Rakijah Says:  Get back into the regular year routine.

    • Cut down on the extra TV time
  • Read more
  • Discuss experiences
  • Ask for help
  • This is definitely needed
    • Start getting to sleep on time and waking up early a few weeks before school is to start
    • Meet as a family (if you can) in the evenings to go over your day
    • Eat on time and more healthy

Bridget Says:  As both a mother and an educator, I can definitely put a few things into perspective for parents of new students and parents of students that have attended a school environment before.

  • Parent/Teacher Contact – It is very important to make contact with your child’s teacher easy from the very beginning.  Teachers are often unsure of how to reach a parent and therefore if you reach out early this will be a huge asset to both you and the teacher.  You can make this contact through either an email or a phone call.  At this point give your child’s teacher a phone number and an email address where they can easily contact you.

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  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – Ask your child questions every day.  “How was school today? What did you learn? Do you need anything for tomorrow? Etc..” If you find that your child has a difficult time keeping track of this information, feel free to contact your child’s teacher and have them initial their homework notebook to ensure that they have everything listed that they need to have done each day.  Any student at any age can have this kind of assistance if it is necessary.
  • Attend all parent nights – Be sure to meet everyone that you can in your child’s school.  Attend parent-teacher conferences, meetings with your child’s guidance counselor, PTA meetings, etc.
  • Clean out your child’s backpack weekly – This is so important because children and teenagers are simply not always capable of keeping their supplies and notebooks organized.  Schedule a half hour each week where they empty their bag and reorganize their supplies for the week.  It is amazing how much it can affect a child if they are missing a pen or a pencil or any supply that they need during their school day.
  • Know your child’s school calendar – If you know your child’s schedule, so will they.  Try and help them to schedule their academic and social life based on their school schedule.
  • Allow your child to be involved in their school – Any extra-curricular activities can help to keep a child motivated in school.  They can join a sport, a club, a team, etc.  This is especially beneficial on the junior and high school levels.
  • Limit the use of video games and electronics during the school week – This is a big one.  So many students struggle with staying focused in their classes knowing that they have their communication device in their pocket or school bag.  Try and limit their use of these things during the school week.  If you find that your child cannot have a phone or tablet and not use it, lock it up during the hours of the day when they should be focusing on their education.
  • Common Core Stress – I know that many parents are concerned about the additional academic pressure that the new common core curriculum has put on their child.  If it is possible, try and get your child a tutor to help.  I know that I struggled with the old math curriculum, so when my child is of age I know that I will have limited knowledge of common core math.  I will definitely need a knowledgeable person to help them to be as successful as possible.

Use the following links for some great tips and fun projects for back to school!

http://spoonful.com/back-to-school

http://www.allyou.com/budget-home/money-shopping/back-to-school

http://happyhomefairy.com/2013/08/11/first-day-gift-ideas-for-the-teacher/

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/money/saving/back-to-school-budget-00100000085470/

http://www.fastweb.com/student-life/articles/4001-budget-savvy-back-to-school-shopping

http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Back-to-School.shtml

http://printables.familyeducation.com/tv/printables/Morning_Routine.pdf

http://naturemoms.com/blog/2014/08/15/back-to-school-shopping-for-all-seasons/

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