It’s almost that time of year again. The days get shorter. The temperatures get cooler. The kids grasp the last threads of summer freedom and parents gently nudge their grip loose. It is BACK TO SCHOOL!
Across Michigan, parents will be tearfully seeing their child off to the bus for the first time, loading shopping carts with various office supplies, and perhaps celebrating the trudge of their high schooler from bed and out the door at an hour they haven’t seen the past three months.
Regardless of which situation you find yourself in, the moment is nearly here and we have some tips for handling back to school in the most effective, efficient and value-friendly way possible.
Start your back to school at Meijer or similar chains. These stores will often have supply lists submitted by the school and can be picked up in advance of your actual back to school shopping day. Grab one in a trip for groceries and take it home in order to form your plan of attack. Resist the urge to start grabbing things on the list during that initial trip.
While it may seem advantageous to “get it done in one trip,” it is wise to break your list up and attack it based on categories. While many stores have back to school specials, the tried and true dollar store is an unbeatable deal for 90% of your student’s office supplies. Folders, pens, scissors, notebooks, calculators and other items can all be had in various styles & types for a fraction of what you will find at bigger box stores.
Check with the school office or even send a message to the school’s social media account to see if an open house is going to be available ahead of your student’s first day. This can be beneficial for first time students or students transitioning between grade levels or buildings. This is a great time where the students (and you) can familiarize themselves with the new environment, meet a teacher, see familiar faces and even make a couple new acquaintances with new ones.
It is certainly easier to shop for school clothes without your child present, but be aware that while we all like to think we are on the cutting edge of fashion, our student likely has a firmer grasp on the trends and styles that they would like to express in their clothing. Check with the school handbook to make sure articles are up to code, but aside from that, let their style be theirs. This will save you the time of having to return items and save them the embarrassment of looking like their parent dressed them.
Have fun! This is an exciting time of year for children and parents, alike. These days can be among the most fun memories your children will have from their school days. Relish the opportunity to spend some time with them and don’t be afraid to make a separate day of it with each child. Back to school can be an incredible opportunity to bond with your child, learn about apprehensions they might have and open up a dialogue that will be vitally important throughout the school year.