When school’s out, we ALL need some down time. Kids. Teachers. Parents.
Even though most of us are pining for a good beach book, or looking forward to having fun and time to relax with our families in the sun…take a tiny bit of time (10-30 minutes) now, at the end of the school year, to do something that will make your back-to-school experience headache free!
Tip #1 SCHOOL SUPPLIES
School Supplies – Inventory Now
- Gather all your kids’ leftover school supplies when they come home from their last days of school. Teach your kids to bring home any school supplies from their locker. (You wouldn’t believe the things I see middle school kids throw in the garbage on the last days of school: binders still in good shape, metal locker pockets that hold pencils etc., locker shelves, and perfectly good pens, rulers etc.). What a waste!
- Put all the supplies your child brings home in one spot (cupboard, basket, box, drawer, etc.). Organize them, so all the glue sticks are together, all the pencils, erasers, etc. are together. This step alone will make a huge difference in September. HUGE!
- Optional: Take it to the next level by making a quick list of the supplies you’ve gathered. Example: 2 small glue sticks, 1 large glue stick, 4 blue pens, 1 pencil case, 2 white erasers, 2 1.5 inch binders, etc.
- Keep this list with the school supplies you’ve organized.
- Finally, check the backpack situation. Is your’s child’s current backpack in good shape for next year? Does it work for your child, or have they outgrown it? Maybe it worked in elementary school, but now they want to express their individuality a bit more by picking out one you wouldn’t necessarily choose for them. If the backpack still works, keep it with the school supplies you’ve gathered. If it isn’t working anymore, make a note on your list to get a new one.
School Supplies – Back to School
- As soon as you have your school supply list(s), look it over and check what you already have at home for supplies. Go back to that one spot where you stored all the supplies.
- Compare your current supplies list with your new list. Make a note of the supplies you need to buy.
- Buy your new supplies all at once, or buy them through the summer. Most stores have their school supplies a couple of months before school begins. If you wait until September, you’ll have to deal with crowds of people shopping . I’ve always felt so relieved to have my supply shopping done by early August. For you, it’ll depend on what supplies are available in your area and when you get your supply list(s). The sooner the better, in my opinion.
- Try to get the specific supplies that are as close to what the teacher requested as possible; it helps your child in the long run.
- Label all the supplies. I know this is a pain in the butt!…but when your child misplaces their pencil crayons or binder, it’s much easier for them to locate them, when their name is on it. When I find items left in my classroom, I’ll often bring them to a student, or point it out to them, because I can see their name on it. When there’s no name? It goes into a lost and found or other area for misplaced supplies. This means another student can take it. No name? No ownership.
- Pull out the old backpack that’s still in good shape, or purchase a new one, if you haven’t yet.
- Put all the supplies each child needs (the stored supplies and the new ones) into a bag that you can put into their backpack. If there are too many supplies, then you’ll need an additional bag to store them.
- Final step? Put the backpack and other bags with the supplies away in a closet until you need them. Supplies done!
Tip # 1 Benefits
There are 2 huge benefits to doing a school supply inventory when school ends and getting your supply shopping done early.
- You’ll save money. At the end of the middle school years, my daughter discovered a whole whack of school supplies in her closet. We’d forgotten about them! Each September, we’d purchased more erasers, duo tangs, red pens etc., when we could’ve pulled these brand new items from supplies we’d already bought!
- You’ll save a bit of your sanity in September, or whatever month is back-to-school for you. Aside from school supplies, there are oodles of other things to figure out at that time of year. New clothing. New grade. New school maybe. New teacher(s). New after school activities (clothing, equipment, schedule etc.), New chauffeur schedule (aka: drop off and pick up duties for parents). And so on. Take 10-30 minutes before summer really kicks in, and organize those school supplies. When back-to-school season rears its ugly head, you won’t have to run out to three different stores to get school supplies…that task will be done!
Dive into your summer knowing you’ve taken care of one of the most annoying and frustrating times for parents: school-supply shopping for back-to-school.
By planning ahead at the end of the school year, you’ll save money and frustrations later. Not only will back-to-school be easier, you can relax with your kids this summer and sit back and enjoy that cold beverage in the sun, knowing you’re ahead of the game!
Wishing you joy, strength and balance,