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Back to school!

back-to-schoolWow, it’s that time already! Say hello to the new school year! It’s time to sharpen your pencil, wear your school’s colors, and say hello to friends you haven’t seen for months. You might even be going to a new school! Here’s a checklist to help you remember the important stuff. Most of these tips apply to students of any age, but if your student is going off to college, here’s another checklist that’s especially handy for first-timers on their way to dorm life.

  • Buy your school supplies and clothing
    • Younger students should be given a list of necessary supplies by their teachers.
    • Keep an eye out for sales and specials throughout the year. When an important supply item is on sale, buy extra quantities to save for when you need it again.
    • Here’s a tip – wait until just before school starts before you buy athletic shoes for your younger child. This will ensure that they fit for as long as possible… hopefully the entire school year!
    • Buy clothing that can be mixed and matched, especially for younger children who are growing. (This is a great rule of thumb for college students on a budget, too. Check out thrift stores and resale shops like Buffalo Exchange.)
    • Fashion conscious? If the temperature is still very hot where you live, let your student continue to wear summer clothes when school starts. That gives your student some time to observe current styles, and he or she will be happier with the selection you eventually buy.
    • Here’s another tip – once your student starts carrying around books of any measurable size, we encourage you not to skimp on the backpack. This is one item that gets more than its fair share of abuse. Cheapies will disintegrate by the middle of the school year.
  • Confirm childcare
    • Confirm that after school programs, babysitters, daycare or other childcare arrangements are in place. Be sure your student is signed up and any fees are paid.
  • Clean house
    • Organize the student’s room – clean out unneeded old supplies and make room for the new items. Bag up clothing and shoes that no longer fit and donate them to your favorite charity.
  • Create a routine
    • Establish a bedtime and stick to it, no matter what age the student. We all do better when we’re well rested. Also designate hours for homework time, play time, non-school internet time, TV, and games. Don’t forget to schedule some family time!
  • Plan ahead
    • If you’re going to a new school, or if you’ll be getting there by a new mode of transportation, do a trial run at the time of day that you expect to be travelling to school every day. This way, you’ll know when to leave home to get there on time and you’ll be familiar with the transportation method and route.
    • Decide on outfits for the week and lay them out or hang them in the order you want to wear them.
    • Plan meals for the week. Pre-pack as much as possible of a week’s worth of lunches (non-perishable items, utensils, labeled lunch bags, etc.).
  • Find out the new rules
    • Call or email the school to find out enrollment requirements – you may need to show your child’s immunization record or birth certificate; you may need to pre-register ahead of time.
    • Tip for college students – many schools won’t let you register if you have any unpaid library or parking fines!
    • This is a good time to schedule check-ups with the doctor, optometrist and dentist, too.
  • Organize paperwork
    • Create a place for school paperwork that will require your signature. Put a calendar on the wall noting all of the student’s activities and outings. Post important phone numbers and email addresses in an easy to access location.
  • Forget-Me-Not-Spot
    • Choose a place, preferably near the front door, where you’ll keep things that need to go with the student. Backpack, books, lunch box, musical instruments, keys – anything you don’t want to forget.

With few exceptions, most people thrive on structure. Create good habits now and stick to them to help your student shine this year!

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