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Moms Talk: It’s Time to Go Back to School

Summer's out for school

It’s almost here and some of you are surely counting down the days. 

It’s just about that time for the kids to go back to school! 

As parents, we all experience mixed emotions this time of year: the sadness that comes with a summer’s end, the excitement to get the kids back in school and back on a regimented schedule, and the anticipation of what kind of year it will be for your child. 

Some parents I know are more overjoyed than anything at the idea of getting the kids back in school in the fall.  However you feel, try to make it as positive experience every year for yourself and for your child.

Be aware of your child’s feelings and understand that most children are more anxious than excited to enter into a brand new year with a new teacher as well as knowing  that they will get to see some old friends and will have new friends to make. 

Make sure you talk to your child about being nice to everyone and to not tolerate bullying.  Help them to be understanding that every other kid they will see in school is experiencing similar feelings and every one of them deserves to have a good year.

One of the most anticipated things of the summer for your child is  finally finding out what teacher he or she  has and what friends are in that class.  Every school district releases this information differently.  Some local districts have already provided families with this information, while others have not yet.  Check out your district’s website for details.

According to www.npenn.org, North Penn School District posts bus schedules online and at schools on Friday, August 26th.  Elementary students can find their teacher online on Monday August 29th.  Secondary students will have schedules mailed home that week or can access it online Monday, August 29th.  School starts for all North Penn students on Tuesday, September 6th.

When you have a child who is new to a school, make sure you take the time to attend the school’s orientation day.  It’s important for your child to know his or her way around the building to some degree and to see a few familiar faces on that first day of school. 

If you have a child who has never ridden the school bus, but is expected to, he or she is rightfully at least a little scared. 

North Penn School District offers a “K-Day” for kindergarteners and first grade students to ride the bus with parents to get a feel for what it will be like in order to alleviate the stress on the first day of school. It is open to surrounding non-public and private schools as well. 

The remaining day of this event is next Thursday, August 25th at at 9 and 11 am. 

Not only does your child need to be emotionally ready for a new year, he or she also needs to be prepared with the necessities.  Shopping for back to school can be an overwhelming task, but the best place to start is by finding out what you need and what you already have. 

You can obtain a list of classroom materials your child will need from your school district.  North Penn, for instance, has it listed on their website by grade level for elementary and middle school. 

If your child is in a private school, be sure to find out what uniform requirements they have and if you have to purchase it from them or on your own. The same hold true for any school and their gym uniform requirements. 

Spend time checking your closets and see what you already have at home – you may be surprised at what you find.  We all probably have more crayons, pencils, pencil sharpeners, rulers, notebooks, paper, and other basic supplies than we know.  Knowing what you have can save you from spending time and money on purchasing duplicates. 

You can also typically start your child’s year off with clothing pieces they already own. A few hours of organizing and trying things on are hours well spent, even if your child is unhappy having to do it.  Make piles on your child’s bed or floor so that you can both visually see how much was hidden in the depths of that closet. 

I never start to buy until we have done this.  I also make sure to include anything I picked up for this year at end of the season clearance sales last year.  Doing this every year really helps keep things in budget, but be careful to only buy clearance items that you can reasonably expect your child to fit into and to want to wear an entire year later.  Make a list of what you have and what you still need.     

Make sure your purchases meet your predetermined budget.  There is no reason you should have to stretch beyond your limits to send your kids back to school.  So many stores have back to school sales on school supplies, clothing and shoes. 

You can find some extremely low prices on necessities in the ads for office supply store and large retailers.  And to make things easier, many stores will price match competitors prices at the register.  Wherever you like to shop, if you wanted to price match to get what you need in one stop, be sure to check that store’s policies first. 

You can often find coupons in the newspaper or online to use on top of a sale to obtain free or nearly free items.  And keep in mind, if you are able, you can always pick up some extras to donate to your child’s teacher or to one of several area school supply donation drop offs.  There are so many kids who can not afford to get what they need and your donation would surely be appreciated. 

As far as clothing goes, your child’s wardrobe should reflect his or her personality. Adding new accessories and matching pieces up differently this year can change existing outfits quickly and inexpensively. 

Hit the sales in the weeks before school and make sure to stick to your list of what your child actually needs.  While you may prefer to have your child with you to try things on, sometimes it’s best to go alone to avoid impulse buys and the tendencies to purchase overly trendy items. 

Fads change so often, I find it better to avoid buying these things when it comes to larger purchases that may be less popular or even embarrassing in a matter of weeks.

I personally like to mix and match basics and keep some smaller, more easily replaceable bits and pieces the trendy ones.  Plain binders and book covers allow kids can express themselves creatively time and time again. 

A binder with a clear plastic pocket front is ideal so that the pictures, drawings, and décor can be changed all year long.  I also am a believer in getting one higher quality backpack that will last years rather than buying new less expensive ones every year. 

LL Bean, for instance, offers a lifetime guarantee and you can get one for about thirty or forty dollars with free shipping.  You can also get a matching lunch box.  Have your child get his or her bag and supplies ready ahead of time to avoid a last minute rush and worries of something forgotten. 

Do yourself and your family a favor by being prepared.  About a week or so before the scheduled first day of school, start to help your child get ready by re-establishing school year bedtime routines and bed times.  Set their alarm or wake them up at the time they will need to be getting up and getting ready for school.  Get in the swing of things by following the expected morning routine.  This practice week will absolutely make the transition easier on everyone.

School is right around the corner.  Best wishes to all of the parents, students and teachers for a fantastic school year!

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