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Organizing for Back to School: Shopping Tips and More

Posted by Matthew Turton on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 @ 11:45 AM

Getting ready for back to schoolAs we find ourselves at the start of the school year again, it can feel overwhelming to consider all of the things that have to be bought, done and scheduled before you can send the kids off on the yellow bus. However, the back to school rush doesn't have to be chaos. If you start organizing and shopping ahead of time, you should be ready in plenty of time for when the kids head back.

One of the biggest preparation steps in many minds is the shopping for new school supplies, books and clothes. Not only does this feel like a big, time-consuming task, but there is the pressure of budgeting to be able to afford what your children need.
  • Know what you need. Many schools hand out a list or have one available
    TIP: Looking for big savings? Talk to the teacher to find out what's required and what's optional on the list. Often supply lists are created by the school board and not the classroom teacher. This will delay your back to school shopping but can save you up to 50%!
    online of what your child will need for the year, depending on what grade they are in. If your school does not do this, you can often find a generic one provided by school supply stores or posted online. Use this as a guide to what you will need, and to keep you from buying things your kids will never use. 
  • Reuse supplies from past years. Take a look around your home to see what supplies you still have around. Paper, notebooks, pencils, crayons, calculators, protractors and more may be found still hanging around in a drawer. Give the pencils and pencil crayons a nice, new sharpening, and wipe calculators and protractors etc. with a little windex to disinfect and clean for a bright "newer" look. 
  • Budget for the back to school wardrobe. Shopping for clothes may be one of the most exciting preparations in the kids' minds, so make sure to establish a budget for clothes, and sit them down before you shop to discuss it with them. This will help give your kids responsibility for their choices and instill budgeting skills in them as well.
  • Shop around the sales on school supplies to make sure you're getting the best deals. Check in the flyers and online to plan which stores to hit ahead of time.
  • Prepare for the lunches. While out doing some shopping, feel free to hit the grocery store to pick up some healthy snacks and treat foods to slip into kids' lunchboxes.

Adjusting to Back-To-School
While shopping can be a major hurdle, there are other things besides shopping that you can do to get ready for school to make the transition easier.

  • Get your child back into a school schedule. Give them a bedtime and start waking them up around the same time that they would have to get up for school, in order for them to get used to the change in hours. This way, they'll be ready to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed come the first day of school!
  • Find out what your child will be learning this year. Go over the year's syllabus so you can feel connected with what your kids are up to in school, and talk with them about what they will learn to help them get excited about school.
  • Organize the family's schedules as well. Plan who is going to take the kids to school and keep school in mind when scheduling any events on the calendar.

Getting the kids back to school can feel like a big job, but once you have organized the shopping and schedules, you will find things feeling much more under control. Kids will be excited to head back, see their friends and learn new things, and don't forget to foster this excitement! And remember, once the first day of school starts, the hectic feeling will calm down, and everyone can settle into the new school year!

TIP: If your child isn't excited to head back to school, have an open and honest conversation with them about what they are feeling. If either of you are concerned they may struggle in school, download our free Warning Signs Checklist to identify any areas of concern.

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