By the end of the summer, your kids are probably looking forward to going back to school and seeing old friends, making new ones, and learning new things. You’re looking forward to the return of the school year, too (it’s alright to admit it).
After all, you might feel like you need a little break, too! While you are putting the last photos of family fun and your young one’s first Little League home run in the scrapbook, you are also thinking about everything that needs to be done to get ready for everything that needs to happen before the first day of school.
Gearing up for back to school means supplies, school clothes, possible medical check ups and vaccinations, and decisions about whether your kids will be riding the bus or walking to school and who will be their walking escort (if they are young), or if you and other parents will be taking turns carpooling the children to classes.
The last couple of weeks before the beginning of the school year can be pretty hectic. It’s important that you plan ahead so that you’re not losing your sanity at this time. One big concern these days when it comes to back to school is making sure your kids have the supplies and clothing they need without breaking the bank.
Kids grow quickly, so the clothes they were wearing even last spring may not fit. For the sake of saving money though, you should go through their existing wardrobe to see what does still fit and is usable.
Assuming that your kids aren’t required to wear a school uniform, take stock of your budget and what you can realistically afford. By July, fall clothes are in the stores, so you can begin shopping early.
Don’t wait until a week before school starts to get your youngsters outfitted. Hit the early sales and make sure they have the basics – jeans, t-shirts and sweaters or sweatshirts. Pick up some socks and underwear, and a new pair of sneakers.
This will give them a good start that you can build on. If your child is old enough, let him or her participate in the shopping process. School clothes shopping is something you should tackle fairly early.
If you are really frugal, you can take a look at the local resale shops for gently used clothes. This is a great way to save money, and most kids are pretty open to the idea. You can teach them the concepts of bargain hunting, and recycling and reusing all at the same time.
School supplies such as pens and pencils, backpacks, notebooks and other items usually are on sale for about four weeks before the start of the school year. Schools often send lists out of items that your child will need.
You can wait for the list, or you can make some educated assumptions and head out to the store before the list arrives. If your child wants to participate in the process of supply shopping, set aside an afternoon to get everything.
Again, try not to wait until the last moment, and definitely take advantage of sales. If your child needs vaccinations or a medical exam before starting school, this can be scheduled and gotten out of the way well in advance.
And if your kids are walking to school or being driven by car, get in touch with neighbors and friends who will want to participate in a rotating shuttle or walking escort program. You can start working on this very early in the summer.
With back to school preparations, the key is not waiting until the last minute to do things. A few well-planned afternoons will get your kids outfitted for their return to the classroom, and save you from feeling overwhelmed and grouchy during the last few days of summer use those days for a final outing to the beach or park instead.