Back To School Tips And Tricks

By the end of the summer, your kids are probably looking forward to going back to school and seeing old friends, making new ones, and learning new things. You’re looking forward to the return of the school year, too (it’s alright to admit it). After all, you might feel like you need a little break, too! While you are putting the last photos of family fun and your young one’s first Little League home run in the scrapbook, you are also thinking about everything that needs to be done to get ready for everything that needs to happen before the first day of school.

Gearing up for back to school means supplies, school clothes, possible medical check ups and vaccinations, and decisions about whether your kids will be riding the bus or walking to school and who will be their walking escort (if they are young), or if you and other parents will be taking turns carpooling the children to classes.

The last couple of weeks before the beginning of the school year can be pretty hectic. It’s important that you plan ahead so that you’re not losing your sanity at this time. One big concern these days when it comes to back to school is making sure your kids have the supplies and clothing they need without breaking the bank.

Kids grow quickly, so the clothes they were wearing even last spring may not fit. For the sake of saving money though, you should go through their existing wardrobe to see what does still fit and is usable.

Assuming that your kids aren’t required to wear a school uniform, take stock of your budget and what you can realistically afford. By July, fall clothes are in the stores, so you can begin shopping early.

School clothes shopping is something you should tackle fairly early. Don’t wait until a week before school starts to get your youngsters outfitted. Hit the early sales and make sure they have the basics – jeans, t-shirts and sweaters or sweatshirts. Pick up some socks and underwear, and a new pair of shoes. This will give them a good start that you can build on. If your child is old enough, let him or her participate in the shopping process.

If you are really frugal, you can take a look at the local resale shops for gently used clothes. This is a great way to save money, and most kids are pretty open to the idea. You can teach them the concepts of bargain hunting, and recycling and reusing all at the same time.

School supplies such as pens and pencils, backpacks, notebooks and other items usually are on sale for about four weeks before the start of the school year. Schools often send lists out of items that your child will need. You can wait for the list, or you can make some educated assumptions and head out to the store before the list arrives. If your child wants to participate in the process of supply shopping, set aside an afternoon to get everything.

Again, try not to wait until the last moment, and definitely take advantage of sales. If your child needs vaccinations or a medical exam before starting school, this can be scheduled and gotten out of the way well in advance.

And if your kids are walking to school or being driven by car, get in touch with neighbors and friends who will want to participate in a rotating shuttle or walking escort program. You can start working on this very early in the summer.

With back to school preparations, the key is not waiting until the last minute to do things. A few well-planned afternoons will get your kids outfitted for their return to the classroom, and save you from feeling overwhelmed and grouchy during the last few days of summer use those days for a final outing to the beach or park instead.

Now that you have the supplies and your child is back at school it is important to engage witht them daily and monitor their behavior. Some of us remember the pain of being bullied at school. Bullying can range from name-calling and teasing to physical violence. Most children find themselves the victim of name-calling or teasing at some point, and this can be quite devastating.

Other kids may actually find themselves being shoved, hit or worse. Being bullied can stick with a person into adulthood, and cause feelings of anger, shame and helplessness. Most schools take bullying very seriously and will discipline bullies up to and including expelling them from school.

But what can you do to help your child? What if the school isn’t doing enough?

First, if your child tells you that she is being bullied, believe her. Don’t overreact, but do take her complaints seriously. Tell her that she should let you know if the bullying continues. Explain to her that (unfortunately), she is not alone – that bullying happens to lots of kids – this isn’t to make it seem less important, but to let her know that it has happened to others.

Try to find out who the bullies are and details of what happened and when, and how your child responded. This way you can determine how severe the problem is. If the problem is considered severe or unlikely to resolve itself, you might consider teaching your child to be more assertive in handling the bully. You can talk to a counselor to get some assertiveness techniques. You can also take steps to help her build self-esteem. Often learning a new hobby, making new or more friends or taking up positive outlets such as martial arts or team sports can help.

Tell your child to stay in groups of other kids. In the human world as in the animal world, there is safety in numbers. She should try to avoid the bully. Also advise her to keep calm in the face of the bully. This isn’t easy, but it takes away the bully’s power. A bully wants to see that they can upset someone. Explain that the bully has a problem and may need help.

Explain to your child that if the bully doesn’t stop, you may have to report him/her in order to protect your child and other children and to get help for the bully.

Do NOT encourage your child to fight back. This could lead to serious injury.

If the school is not aware of the problem – make them aware. If they are aware, but seem to not be taking steps to help, talk with the Superintendent or the School Board if you must. The school has a vested interest in protecting its students.

Signs that your child is being bullied are:

  • suddenly becoming moody or withdrawn
  • developing “mystery” illnesses or reasons to stay home from school
  • depression
  • losing interest in school work or activities
  • unexplained bruises or clothes that are dirty or torn
  • difficulty going to sleep
  • waiting to use the bathroom until they get home
  • asking for extra lunch money
  • wanting to carry a form of protection

While these signs don’t definitely mean your child is being bullied, they are strong warning signs of a possible problem. Don’t hesitate to search for the truth and to enlist the help of your child’s teacher, the school, counselor and even the law.

With these tips and tricks I hope you have a smooth back to school experience and your children are able to have an amazing school year without any issues!