Back to School Tips

Just when it seems like you have gotten into your summer groove, it’s time to get back into your school routine, which can be cause both relief and stress at the same time for parents and students alike. Even if your kids are fairly adaptable, big changes like heading back to school after a summer of limited scheduling can be stressful.

Below are some helpful tips and hints to ease the upcoming transition.  Please take note that Improvement Zone will be closed on Monday, September 3 for Labor Day.  Stay safe and enjoy the final vestiges of heat before we welcome the cooler weather.

5 Tips for a Smooth Back-to-School Transition
(Family Features)

Head off potential problems as you transition into the busy back-to-school season with these family-friendly tips to get everyone back on the school-time track:

Set a Family Schedule 
Rather than rushing into school season all at once, try to plan your schedule ahead of time. Easing into school season can make for a much smoother transition. This means gradually tapering off later bedtimes and enforcing an earlier wake up call. If meal times have gotten lax, it’s also a good idea to start working back toward your school-time schedule.

Pack Easier
Getting everyone up and on their way can be one of the greatest challenges on school days. Serve breakfast, pack lunches and make it out the door with a cup of still-hot coffee with an option like the Chinet Comfort Cup insulated hot cup. It’s designed to help keep drinks the perfect temperature while remaining cool to the touch, and with the snap-and-go lid, you can avoid messes during busy mornings.

Stay Organized
From weekly meetings to extracurricular activities and weekend sports, try using lists and charts to stay organized. Especially as kids grow older and their activities lists and school deadlines expand, keeping track of everyone can become a real chore. Find a place in the house where you can post calendars and lists that everyone can see. Try color-coding by child or type of activity (school, work, sports, etc.) for extra organization.

List Family Goals 
Have each person in the family list out his or her goals for this school year. They can be small or challenging, but it can give everyone something to strive for. It’s also a good way to remind kids about family values like encouraging one another and making time to support everyone’s individual interests.

Buy Supplies Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to search for school supplies like notebooks, pencils and paper or the bigger ticket items like backpacks. Seeking out necessary items ahead of time can alleviate the stress of not being able to find what you need, and spreading out purchases over time can eliminate a major one-time hit to the family budget.

5 Back-to-School Shopping Tips to Buy More Time

(Family Features) It's that time of year again. Parents are preparing for the rush of back-to-school with a seemingly never-ending to-do list. As you run around to purchase school supplies, uniforms and sneakers it can be a busy and expensive time of year.

Tackle back-to-school season with these tips to save money and maybe even help you buy back a little time before the school bell rings.

Get the kids involved before you leave home. Jumping in the car and hoping for the best as you travel from store to store isn’t likely to net much more than a headache – especially with the kids in tow. Instead, get them involved before hitting the shops and have them browse online retailers and catalogs. With a list in hand, you can plan your trip before you leave the house or take advantage of free shipping or in-store pick-up offered by many retailers.

Shop early and often. The back-to-school season seems to get earlier every year and many retailers offer deals each week on everyday school supplies and electronics. For those looking to save, shop early and often during the 3-4 weeks leading up to your child’s start date and subscribe to retailer newsletters online for deals delivered directly to your inbox.

Check sizes before you start. You may know there are three good pairs of jeans in your child’s drawer, but the first cold morning of fall is no time to discover that they’re now an inch too short. Before you shop, try on what you already have to determine whether it’s time to size up and get a better idea of what needs replaced.

Anticipate the need for (more) new shoes. One inevitable truth about kids: they grow, seemingly overnight. All the hours you spend shopping can feel futile when your child needs a new pair of shoes just weeks after school starts. To save time and money, be ready when your kids hit their next growth spurt with subscription services like EasyKicks. Delivered on-demand, it offers the latest Nike and Converse sneakers for preschoolers through teens. When kids are ready for a new pair, simply swap them for a new size or style and return the old pair in a prepaid envelope to be donated or recycled. Sign up and learn more at easykicks.com.

Double-up on everyday supplies. If possible, buy back-up school supplies while you’re making the rounds – especially if you spot a buy-one, get-one-free deal. If your school supply list asks for one box of crayons, buy an extra set and put it aside in a designated drawer at home. Without fail, kids will run out of notepads or pencils at some point during the year, and you can send in fresh supplies without another trip to the store.

Armed with these tips, your time spent back-to-school shopping should be shorter and your stress levels – and credit card bill – lower.

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