Well, it’s just about time to get the kids back to school and I know you savvy mamas are busy prepping. This has the potential of being a high-stress time, but with careful planning, confidence in your mama-abilities and patience with your kids, getting them back to school can be a breeze. Here’s how I handle it:
- Plan before going shopping. Avoid impulsively picking up supplies when you see them unless they are on sale for an incredible price. I plan ahead and apply my grocery shopping strategies to my back to school shopping. Never pay more than you have to and always buy on sale.
- Shop for supplies without the kids if you can. Find out what they want by looking at things online or in ads while you’re at home. If you must bring them, make sure they’re fed and well rested. Those back to school sales can be crazy–you don’t need anything to add to the stress.
- Let your kids express themselves with their fashion choices. I set boundaries for my kids and then leave them to make their choices. Sometimes that’s hard since I’m certain matching colors is no longer a factor when it comes to fashion. My tween daughter rarely matches, but as long as she’s fully dressed, I leave her to her idea of style.
- Buy clothes that can be rotated. If I left her to herself, my daughter would have item after item of clothing that she could only wear in one outfit. I’m teaching her about finding items that she can interchange. This saves me money and saves room in her closet.
- Don’t over spend on uniforms. I realize #4 and #5 won’t matter to some of you because your kids wear uniforms. When my kids needed them, there weren’t a whole lot of reasonably priced options. Now it’s easy to find quality uniforms at an affordable price, and Bealls is one of those places you can shop for uniforms online. If you find a good sale, grab some items in the next size. This will save you a bit later on in the school year when your kids have grown a bit.
- Relax on the first day of school. If you’re stressed on the first day, the kids will pick up on that. I’ll do my crying before the kids wake up so they’re not distracted by my sadness as they go off to middle school and first grade. I’ll face it with a huge smile and say nothing about my daughter’s knee high boots, excessive accessories or vintage floral shirt (that’s what she’s into these days). I’ve learned that if I relax, they usually will too.
So, how about you? What are your rituals for keeping back to school shopping stress free and facing the first day of school? What’s on your kids’ list of must-haves and what do you flat out refuse to buy? Leave me a comment and let me know if your little boy is as into Captain America backpacks and Skechers Z-straps as mine is. And, please reassure me that my daughter isn’t the only middle schooler with an it-doesn’t-have-to-match-to-be-trendy mentality. I’d love to hear how you’re navigating the back to school waters and I hope some of my little tips help a bit.