What happened to summer? Not only does it feel like summer was way too short, but we’re unprepared for the new school year to start. My kids are in Los Angeles Unified School District Schools, which means that they start next week, but some of you still have weeks of summer left. Either way, we’re here to help you get ready. I asked some Los Angeles mom-friends if they had any tips to help get us all get ready to go back to school.
- Get Your Kids Back Into a Routine – Even if your kids have been in summer camp, they are likely not getting up as early as they would during the first day of school. Sarah recommends getting the kids into their school routine a couple of days before so they aren’t overwhelmed on the first day and then doing a dry run the day before. She gets her boys get up and ready for school – just like the first day – but instead of going to school, they go out to breakfast.
- Create a Budget – This is the best advice I’ve ever heard for dealing with kids going back to school. When my older son started kindergarten, I spent so much money because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know when I wrote the first check that there would be many more to come. Alma from Field Trip Mom suggested creating a budget at the beginning of the year and sticking to it. “I look at the school website calendar and look ahead to possible monthly expenses for each child. I then estimate the monthly expenses up to 3 months. This includes classroom donations, teacher gifts, school t-shirts, PTA expense, jogathon donations, in school after-school program, yearbook, pictures, school activities like harvest festival, Thanksgiving donation and December food, classroom donation and so on. I do use excel. It’s easy to overspend when you don’t track the expenses.”
- Wash It First – Get everything that your kids used last year – backpacks, lunch boxes, PE clothes, shoes – and wash them to see if they’re salvageable or still fit, says Mary Kay of Daily Hot Guy. One of my boy’s lunch boxes looks like it was dragged behind a truck so he’ll be getting a new one, but my other son’s now looks like new.
- Read Your Email – I know we’re all busy and have a thousand emails coming through our inboxes, but if one comes from your kids’ school, read it. Especially at the beginning of the year. Kim of Agoura Hills Mom and former school PTA president says to mark your calendar with all the important dates so you’re not surprised when there’s a random day off or early dismissal.
- Procrastinate – My tip was hotly debated with the people I know, but I stand by it. I think it’s best to wait until school starts to buy anything. Teachers give out their class lists and some have very specific items that they want their students to bring to class. This is especially true in the older grades. Plus, my boys always have a growth spurt right after I buy them clothes or shoes. I buy clothes and shoes a little big and get them right before school starts.
- OK, Maybe Don’t Procrastinate – Desiree, author of The Funny Mom Blog and mother to 4, says that there are some things that you definitely can’t leave to the last minute like school uniforms. If you wait too long, there might not be any left. Also, it’s worth it to do a Google search before you head out so you know which stores are having a sale.
- Speaking of Sales – Our friend Brigitta makes the most out of a sale and she’ll stock up knowing that teachers will always ask for more paper, pencils and other supplies throughout the year.
What are your favorite back-to-school tips?