Top Ten Back-to-School Survival Tips for Parents!

school-girl-busIt’s time to think about school again! A little planning can make the back-to-school shopping less expensive and can reduce stress and last minute emergencies, too. Save money, save time, and even save the day with our tips for a smoother, happier first week of school!

1. Plan to save. Before shopping for school supplies, check out sites like Coupons.com and your favorite store websites and print off coupons and sale info on the supplies on your child’s list. (Most schools have the list on their websites if you misplaced it. Staples stores make an effort to have supply lists for schools close by, too.)

2. Before clothes shopping, have a fashion show at home. Buy only what you need: Have your child try on school clothes from last year to see what needs to be replaced and what still fits. If you toss the discards in a bag as you go, you can toss the bag in your car and donate the too-small clothes on your way to shop for new. Decreasing clutter and getting a tax break all in the same shopping trip!

2. Tuck all that back-to-school paperwork into one folder for each child. You can easily see what you still need to sign or pay, and you’ll have what you need for registration/first day, without a frantic search. Keep the folders for the papers that come home all year, too!

2. Update your calendar. Check your school website or parent letter for the academic calendar, and enter the important dates NOW for the whole year. Whether you use a paper calendar or your smart phone, you’ll be in-the-know about upcoming events all year!

3. Plan to attend your school’s first PTA/PTO meeting. Important details are discussed and new information is given out…and your child’s principal will remember you as an involved parent!

4. Bring your calendar to Meet-the-Teacher and the first PTA meeting. Ensure there won’t be a conflict with that class party or fundraiser you might volunteer for. Plus, those volunteer dates will be in your calendar for a much-needed reminder months from now!

5. Update your contacts or phone list. Add important contact info into your phone list, computer, or cell phone as it comes in. Principal, PTA president, class mom, teachers; all of them are people you’re likely to contact throughout the year. Never search wildly for missing phone numbers again.

6. Review or create an emergency phone list for your child. Even preschoolers have used these numbers to save a life! Place emergency numbers in your child’s phone, near your home phone, or on the fridge. Write down phone numbers for Mom, Dad, Grandma, the neighbors, police, fire, pediatrician, and poison control. Double check that none of those numbers have changed from last year.

7. Make a cheat-sheet for codes, passwords, and other school related info. Add EVERYTHING to the list that you or your child might forget; locker combinations, computer passwords, parent portal passwords, payment website user IDs and passwords, and lunch codes should all go on the list. Since none of the information is top-secret, store it on an index card or in your computer or phone. You’ll be the hero when that homework code or locker combo is forgotten!

8. Buy or pre-make heat-and-eat breakfast items for week one. Even if you’re a die-hard home cooked oatmeal family. Adjusting to new start times, school schedules, and bus schedules is stressful. Make mornings easier and happier for everyone that first week.

9. Do a test-run with backpacks. Help your children load up their backpacks two days before school starts. When your child realizes her calculator has gone missing over the summer, you’ll know early enough to replace it!

10. Consider cheating on the photos. First day of school morning rush is not always the best time to take back-to-school photos at the bus stop or mailbox. Stories of missing the bus and heading to school in tears are common. Getting dressed up and taking the photos the day before allows for a calmer, smoother first-day-of-school morning for everyone!