It seems that as soon as the calendar flips to July, some stores start holding their back to school sales and switch out their red white and blue decorations for Halloween candy.  Commercials flood our TV’s, reminding us that summer is just a temporary break from the chaos and confusion of another school year.  While this end of summer can bring some stress and tears, there are some things parents can do to smooth the transition back to school and the chaos it can bring. 

                According to most studies, parents spend between $700 and $1000 per child on back to school supplies and outfits.  While that may seem impossible for many families to handle, there are a few ways to mitigate the costs and make it easier to handle such an expense.  First, before you buy things, check around the house to see what you already have.  The odds are that you may already have many of these supplies laying around.  Secondly, consider swapping supplies you don’t need with another parent.  Parents may have extra supplies from a grade that isn’t needed anymore.  Thirdly, check consignment shops, dollar stores, and thrift shops.  When it comes to school clothes or uniforms, many stores have great back to school sales, but, if you can wait, prices are even cheaper in October, after the school rush.  You can also check to see if your child’s school has a uniform exchange. 

                As school gets closer, and you have picked out a new backpack and an outfit for the first day, the time comes to prepare the kids for those early hectic mornings.  Preparation for crazy school mornings starts the night before.  About a week before the first day, start getting kids to bed a little earlier each day.  Don’t start with putting kids in an hour early to return to school bedtime. That will only lead to issues.  Start with 5 minutes for a few days, then 10 for a few more.  Slowly pushing their bedtimes back to their school levels can eliminate the tears and yelling that can come with waiting to start that adjustment.

                The last thing that you can do to ease into the school year is to practice your morning routine.  This is probably the most hectic time of your day, and the one where practice can make the most difference.  Wake your kids up a little earlier on the days leading up to school, and rehearse your routine.  This will make them tired earlier (helping put them to bed earlier) as well as getting them used to the routine and time crunch of eating, dressing, and getting off to the bus.  Make sure to eat breakfast, students who do have higher scores in school, and simulate the times when kids will need to be ready by.  If you work on this ahead of time, those first mornings might be slightly less chaotic and a little easier to manage. 

                While these tips won’t alleviate all of your headaches during the first weeks of school, a little bit of preparation ahead of time can help.  Spread out your spending over the summer and look for deals in places you might not normally think of.  Start your kids going to bed earlier and getting them up earlier in order to get them a little more used to things.  Also practice that morning routine so that you don’t miss the bus or your ride to work!  With a little prep, this can be the best start of the school year ever!

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