I don’t know about you but is Summer 2015 really winding down? It feels like it was only yesterday we woke up in a panic to the reality that we needed to find activities to keep the kids busy. Be it camp, visiting relatives, family trip, summer job, volunteering or staying home and raiding the refrigerator each and every day, the hazy lazy days of summer are in their last hoorah. If you live in a southern state, the school bus may have already come rolling down your streets.
Whether the student is starting school for the first time or starting that last year of college, this is a stressful time for the entire family. Before breaking out into a cold sweat, stay calm and plan. For the first timers, have fun. There will never be another “1st day of school”. For returning students, we’ve done this before. Considerations for a new school year include:
- What is on that school list?
- How much money will we need?
- Have they outgrown everything in their closets?
- Do any medical records need updating?
- Will they make new friends?
- Will we like the new teachers?
- How much did they forget over the summer?
- Will I be able to take/get time off for the move into the dorms?
- What’s the roommate situation?
- How much will textbooks cost?
- Will they really be able to stick to the budget or call often asking for an extra $50?
The most important thing is for our families to discuss the casual summer schedule is ending and the family will be moving into more structure. Everyone will be adjusting schedules, even our beloved pets. To start, if younger students need to start going to bed early, don’t delay, start them on the routine. Start limiting television, playdates and time with all the electronic gadgets. For the students who will be going to school alone or with a group of friends for the first time, start practicing the route. For the older students who may be moving to campus, treasure these remaining days. Talk and not lecture these young adults about expectations while living on campus.
Do not tackle the “we need” list without first taking inventory of what we may have from previous years that are still useable. Make a list. Make a budget. Stick to both. Maybe start with some of the basics for the first two weeks then add items during the next coming weeks. When it comes to clothing, all the new clothes for the entire school year do not need to be in the house before the first day of school. Our kids have the entire year to wear new clothes. Chances are what they needed to wear in September will not be in style by November. Pace the new looks for our fashion forward scholars.
Ask about renting textbooks. Some publishers even have textbooks available for download. Check out the dollar stores but compare the prices against retailers for basic school supplies (i.e. pens, pencils, notebooks, rulers). Shopping retailers at this time of the year may be a better value. Look at the store circulars. Check on-line for coupons, friends and family events or saving passes. Is there a tax-free shopping holiday? Is your community organizing any back to school events? Finally, do not wait until the last minute. Take advantage of everything. The new school year does not have to break the bank or break you!
Each new school year brings its share of fears, challenges, tears, victories, laughs and memories. Our kids may not admit it but they too are anxious about these changes. Parents/Guardians, the reality is, each new school year brings us closer to having that empty nest. I can feel the collective smiles but we will miss them. It goes by fast. It’s the 2nd grade quickly becomes it’s senior prom night. Take it all in. Take it all in.
All the best for the new school year 2015-2016!