The heat and humidity may be lingering, but one thing’s for sure: Back-to-school season is upon us.
Are you prepared?
According to The New York Times, more and more students and parents are actually waiting until school has started to make their back-to-school purchases.
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Even if your family is one of those waiting to shop, there’s still plenty to do to get ready for the big day. We’ve put together a 5-step checklist to make sure you and your family are perfectly prepared when that alarm bell rings on the first day of school.
Here’s to starting school off on the right foot this year.
1. Do a Closet Overhaul
Before you hit the stores, try this suggestion on for size: Set aside an afternoon to go through your child’s closet and pull out their school-appropriate fall clothing. Are any pants too short, or sweaters too tight? Make a list of any holes in your kid’s wardrobe and make those your main concerns when shopping for back-to-school. (Not sure how to stick to a back-to-school budget? We’ve got you covered there, as well).
Create a pile of clothes to either hand down to younger siblings or relatives or to consign or donate to charity. For consignment options, check out Once Upon a Child or Kid to Kid, which purchase gently used kids’ clothing for resale and have locations nationwide.
To make picking out outfits easier all fall long (and for a little bit of modeling fun), have your child put together outfits she likes and photograph her in them, then hang those clothes next to each other in the closet. That way, she’ll be able to quickly and easily decide what to wear to school, making mornings a lot smoother.
2. Check Backpacks and Other School Supplies
Pull your child’s backpack or school bag out of storage to see if it still works for the upcoming school year. Are the straps firmly secured? Are there any holes in the bottom? Are all zippers functional? If you have to buy a new backpack, aim to purchase a simple but stylish design so that your child doesn’t get bored of it by next year. (We talked about picking school items to last in this piece.)
Then, see if your child has any school supplies from last year that she can reuse, like binders, notebooks, highlighters or markers, etc. Families tend to spend a lot of money on all-new products at the beginning of the year, and this isn’t always necessary.
3. Revisit School Supplies Lists
Many teachers send lists of suggested or required supplies to have on the first day of school. Compare this list against the supplies you already have on hand to come up with your shopping list. To save more money, take some time to comparison shop for the items using the website of your local Staples or Office Max, or order online at Amazon. For instance, when we searched for three-ring binders, we found that Amazon sold the same binder as Staples for over a dollar cheaper.
4. Get Into Your Routine a Week Before School Starts
It can be hard for kids to adjust from a relaxed summer schedule to a more regimented school routine. To make the transition smoother, start having your child get in bed at the time he would need to go to sleep during the school year, and set an alarm for the same wake-up time as well.
5. Revisit Your Child’s Chores
Now that your kid will be in a higher grade, you can use the new school season as a chance to determine whether or not it might also be time to “graduate” him to new chores. Whether or not you should tie allowance to chores has financial experts debating—check out the pros and cons here—but regardless of how you decide to dole out allowance, you should expect your child to help out around the home in order to foster their sense of responsibility.
Maybe your child is old enough to be responsible for making her own lunches, or can start babysitting for a younger sibling once a week. Take a moment to revisit your current expectations, and adjust them to allow for your child’s increased maturity and capabilities. And, to make it official, we love this easy chart wheel tutorial we found via Pinterest.
Tell us–how does your family gear up for the back-to-school season?