Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Less-Stress Back to School Guide for Parents

1. Get Doctors and Dentist Appointments Out of the Way Early
Even if it seems early, mid-July or the beginning of August is when you will want to start scheduling all of the kids' necessary appointments to get them ready for back to school. For two reasons, one: because this will save you from trying to cram all of it in amongst everything else you have to get done at the end of summer including scheduling around family vacations, and two: because almost everyone else schedules physicals and check-ups for mid or the end of August, so it is much more difficult to actually even get in to see someone around that time. 

2. Create a Budget for Back to School Shopping
Before making that dreaded trip to the mall to play the role of a human credit card, have each child make a list of what they need and then create a budget for how much you're willing to spend. If your kids have reached the age where they can pick out their own clothes and shoes, make sure to stress to them that they are free to do so, but within their allotted budget. So it's okay if your 13-year-old now wants the $50 Hollister jeans instead of Levis, just make sure she understands that if this is the case she won't be able to get as many pairs and once the money is gone, it's gone. Knowing most kids in their early teens, this is a sacrifice they are more than willing to make for the sake of their beloved name brands! Having a clear cut budget will not only help you leave the mall without having spent way more than you wanted to, but it will also begin to teach your kids about budgeting their money and spending it wisely.

3. Get school supply shopping done a few weeks ahead of time.
Don't be the parent pulling their hair out because their child's classes start tomorrow and Staples doesn't have the right size binder or required calculator left in stock. Take a day a few weeks before the end of the summer to go out with your kids (and a list!) to your local Staples or Office Max and pick up everything you need.

4. After purchasing the supplies, organize them!
As much as that Target trip is going to make you want to toss all the bags in the corner of the living room and forget about them for your last weeks of summer, do not make that mistake! Your future self will be really mad at you for that one! The night before the first dayback to school is not the time where you will want to be sorting through dozens of folders, pens, notebooks, and highlighters to make sure everyone has everything they need. Instead, have them organized so each kid has their pile of required supplies so when school time comes they 
can just pack up their backpacks and go.

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5. Begin to regress back to the school year routine before the school year starts
A week or so before school starts, begin to implement the more structured dinner time or bedtime routines that were loosened up for the summer vacation. Otherwise, it will be too big of a change to try and go from a late bedtime and a more flexible day-to-day routine to a full day of school and an 8pm bedtime over the course of one day. If you start slowly moving back to an earlier bedtime routine and a more structured day, then it will be a smooth, gradual process come the end of summer rather than a shock to the children's (and the parents!) systems. 

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