The lazy days of summer are coming to a close around the nation, and a new school year is just around the corner. While many kids will be excited, some will also have back-to-school jitters. It’s completely normal for kids to be nervous about a new school year, but these tips will help you ease this transition and make back-to-school more exciting than stressful -- without putting any additional stress on your finances. That might sound impossible, but with a little planning and some smart shopping, you’ll have your child on the right track in no time.
Set Them Up for Success
Getting the right supplies and staying organized is key to back-to-school success -- for you and your child. Do your best to prepare your child with adequate and appropriate school supplies. Skimping here may cause undue anxiety. That said, purchasing school supplies can result in a big price tag. Keep your own anxiety low by remembering a few simple shopping tips to keep the costs down. Shop for back-to-school specials and buy in bulk where it makes sense. Search online for coupons, cashback opportunities, and promo codes before making a single purchase. For example, a quick online search results in three ways to save on Amazon purchases: promo codes through JoinHoney, cash back through Ebates, and coupons through Coupons.com. By saving on upfront school purchases, you can save cash for items your child might need later in the year.
Make a Smooth Transition
One of the hardest things about a new school year is adjusting to so many changes. Try easing into the changes so everyone can get used to being on a schedule. If bedtimes have crept later, US News recommends moving them back in 30-minute increments. Start encouraging better sleep habits overall too. Make sure kids are getting plenty of physical activity during the day and doing quiet activities in the evening to settle down when it’s time for bed.
As the school year gets underway, keep communication open so you’re aware of your children’s anxiety levels. When they seem anxious, ask open-ended questions about what’s going on. This approach will make it easier for them to let you in on what’s causing their stress.
To help kids handle the school workload, set a scheduled homework time in the evenings. Stay involved in homework time by looking over any papers they’ve brought home and being available to help if they need it. Consider setting up a dedicated workspace for your kids to give them a separate space for work, free from distractions and unnecessary screens (reduce costs by taking advantage of Target’s weekly ads and cash back opportunities). And do your best to make sure the school year isn’t all work and no play -- leave room in your schedule for fun activities and general downtime.
Start Each Day on a Positive Note
When you start the day on a positive note, those good vibes can carry you throughout the entire day. Start each day right by literally giving kids a positive note, using Mom Junction’s thought of the day quotes for kids as inspiration. Post the quote in a family command center or send a note with your child to school to give them something to look forward to every day.
Another way to start school days smoothly is to develop a routine that eliminates the stress of the morning rush. A good morning routine actually starts the night before. Each evening, help kids pick out their outfit for the next day, pack backpacks, and start preparing lunches (take advantage of cash back options and promotional codes from retailers like Walmart to put together some fun meals for your children). Think about issues that made mornings stressful last year and plan around them. That way, you can get ahead of any potential problems.
Whether your child or teen has a mild case of butterflies or higher anxiety, a little preparation and organization make a huge difference. Let kids be involved in picking out supplies to build excitement and confidence. And start practicing routines ahead of time so that the new school year already feels more comfortable when the first day arrives.
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Joyce Wilson is passionate about teaching and loves using her writing to help teachers, parents, and students. She is a retired teacher and enjoys sharing lesson plans, resources, and teaching tips on TeacherSpark.