One of my favorite memories of my girl’s childhoods was getting them ready for school. My second daughter, Gracie, loved getting school supplies more than even getting new clothes! We would set aside one day and look for the store that had the best and largest school supplies available. And then I would let her go! She could shop through every aisle and every counter buying almost everything she wanted on that one day.
The reason I gave her so much freedom is because I knew that if she felt confident in having the correct school supplies, that confidence would roll over into her attitude toward her new school year (Of course, we had a budget which will be explained below!).
Which leads me to share that when children help with the planning for back to school shopping, they will be learning some life-long lessons in how to plan, how to budget and how to choose items carefully.
- 1. Set a rule that before they can buy anything for back to school, they have to clear out their closet and drawers of any clothes they don’t want or don’t fit anymore. If you have more than one child, make a contest to see who can do this the fastest and neatest!
2. Next, each child has to make a list of the clothes and shoes they feel that they need. This is a great opportunity for you to teach them the difference between needs and wants and how to budget for those things that are not in the budget right now.
3. Also, ask each child for their school supply list. Usually their school will supply this list but if your child is going to middle school for the first time, they will probably want some items for their new locker. *NOTE: First time middle-school moms, their locker is a huge thing! Do all you can to help them outfit theirs!
4. Sit down with them and on paper, show them the amount of money that is available for their back to school items. If their wants are more than their needs, this is the time for them to realize extra chores or part-time jobs will help bring in more money. The average American family with school-age children will spend $328 on jeans, shirts, other types of clothing and shoes this year, according to Parents magazine.
5. Let them help you look through the paper for any discounts or coupons that may be available. And, if your state has a Tax Free Holiday as Texas does, by all means save your purchases for that day. Yes, it will be a crowded and wild day, but if you are buying many items, you could save a lot. A complete list of items that are exempt or not in Texas may be found at: www.window.state.tx.us.
6. For your preteens and teens, let them check prices online before they shop. Once they realize they could buy more by careful planning, they will love it! Go to www.pricegrabber.com or www.dealtime.com to compare prices.
7. Another important value for you to teach your children is to be charitable. Teach them how to collect their cast off clothes and put them in bags, clean and neatly folded. Then have them go with you to a Goodwill, Salvation Army or homeless shelter where they will see firsthand how valuable clothes, shoes and other items are to those who have none.
8. Some school supplies could actually help you save money. Mechanical pencils save from having to replace regular pencils as well as saving trees. An insulated lunch bag keep food protected and keeps you from buying paper lunch bags. And buying book covers can help keep a book “like-new” rather than look used which results in more money when selling it.
9. It is also very important to create an environment that’s comforting and conducive to learning. But it is equally important for your child to help plan any changes to their bedroom or place of study. Have they outgrown their bed? Do they have an adequate desk and light source? Many studies have shown a correlation between academic achievement and an environment well-designed to facilitate learning activities. And incorporating your child’s design ideas into the room will make him feel like the room belongs to them.
10. Some children have anxiety right before school starts. Ask them if they would like to have a “back to school” party at your house. It’s easy to put together and seeing their school friends can really help them get ready for the big day.
Manna from Heaven: One of the hardest parts of being a parent is balance. How far do we go in protecting our children and when do we step back? If we protect them too much from problems, we hurt their ability to become independent. And especially as they grow older, we will not be able to be with them every second of every day. So, we need to instead prepare our children to deal with problems, because trouble will be a part of their entire lives. Thankfully, we have a promise from Jesus Himself. And their problems could be the very opportunity for them to realize that they need a Savior.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b
Worry is an emotion that all of us struggle with. There’s just so much in life to worry about! What if your child gets a bad teacher or children in the class bully him? But Jesus reminded us continually not to worry. “Do not worry about your life…look at the birds of the air…your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matt. 6:25-26
These tips might help you keep from worrying:
1. Make a worry list. Write down what you’re worried about. Everything!
2. Turn this list into a prayer list. God wants us to pray to Him! Look up Philippians 4:6.
3. Turn your prayer list into an action list. Perhaps something on the list could be taken care of by your actions.
Keeping young children on a stable schedule of activities – with consistent wake and sleep times, regular play periods and reliable intervals between meals – can make them less anxious about new situations and environments as they grow older. This came from a new study led by Timothy Monk at the University of Pittsburgh.
He found that babies who had more dependable routines at were less likely to be anxious at age 10. He thinks the reason may have to do with both physiological factors – like the levels of the hormones cortisol and melatonin, which help regulate sleep and eating – and environmentally influenced ones like sociability, which is encouraged in children who feel secure in their daily routines and interactions with their parents.
I hope this week’s blog will help you and your family have a great back-to-school start!