Think NYC is a challenge for adults? Parenting blogger Sarah Fader proves even with kids, NYC is no match for a parent with a plan! Here are tips for getting your kids ready for back to school.
What has historically been your biggest challenge with getting your children ready for the school year?
One of the biggest challenges is finding the time and the money to purchase all the back to school supplies on the supply list.
My son Ari is going into the first grade this year.
He goes to a public school and the list of supplies that he needs has been historically quite long and features items that have to be purchased at different stores.
It’s not a “one-stop shop” kind of list. Some items can be purchased at Staples (for example) while others need to be purchased online.
I would like a better way to organize getting the supplies without feeling frenetic about collecting all of them at once.
What one or two things did you discover that made that challenge easier?
I took a separate piece of paper and wrote down the different places that I might purchase the supplies.
3. Pearl Paint Art Store
Then I divided the supplies into those categories.
Once the list was complete, since I know I have a tendency to lose things, I put that paper on my refrigerator with a fridge magnet.
What are you most dreading about this school year?
Back to school clothes shopping! There’s so much involved in that process.
First I have to go through their old clothing and figure out what I can give away to charity and what needs to be thrown out.
Next I have to make a list of items the kids need for the school year.
Finally, I have to prepare myself.
Taking two children under the age of six to go clothes shopping is like taking two zebras to the movies and expecting them to sit down and be quiet during the show.
What about this school year are you most excited about?
I love buying going into Staples and letting my kids choose their own supplies. They get to pick what color folder they want or what backpack they want to rock.
I also enjoy the smell of stationary stores. I don’t know why, but there is something exciting about a new notebook.
I might have to purchase a green one (my favorite color) for myself to get organized.
What do you think is the most overblown aspect of back to school — what gets more press than it deserves?
You don’t need to buy out Target getting an entirely new wardrobe for your children during the back to school season.
Remember, kids grow quickly so buy one size bigger then they are. 5-6 pairs of pants, 6-7 long sleeve shirts, 2 sweatshirts and a solid winter jacket is sufficient.
What’s the one thing you’d caution all parents to avoid doing?
Only buy things that your children need and are on the list of supplies. Just because your son wants an extra notebook or electronic pencil because it’s “cool” doesn’t mean you need to buy it.
You can save that money for ordering pizza when you’re too tired to cook dinner after all that shopping.
What’s the one thing you’d suggest every parent do?
Make a list of the five things you want to accomplish before school starts. This forces you to prioritize what is important to you.
Try to keep the list to five items. For example here are my five items:
1. Purchase school supplies
2. Get new backpack for my son
3. Get back to school clothes
4. Read letter from my son’s new teacher
5. Plan which days my son will be in after school
What is your biggest accomplishment around back to school you want to brag about?
I have already started the process of going through all clothing to make room for the new back to school clothes.
Usually I would be dreading this process but I’m actually feeling rather accomplished!
Best of luck to all the other parents out there!
For more back to school tips, tools and strategies, check out these posts:
Sarah Fader is a parenting blogger at www.oldschoolnewschoolmom.com She also writes for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today.