Back to School 2012


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This back-to-school report gives suggestions and ideas on shopping for clothes and supplies, getting organized, and adjustments to transitions for different age groups.

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Back to School 2012

  1. 1. Back to School 2012ContentsCreative Clothes Shopping for Back to School .................................................................. 1How to Plan Back to School Shopping ................................................................................. 3Top Tips for Back-to-School Shopping with a Picky Teen........................................... 5Money-Saving Ideas for School Supply Shopping ........................................................... 7Making the Grade: Back to School Shopping with Your Grade School Child ....... 9Getting Ready - Top Tips for Preparing and Organizing for Back to School..... 11The Pros and Cons of Sending Your Child to Preschool ............................................ 13Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten ............................................................................ 16How Parents Can Help with the Emotional Challenges of Transitioning........... 18Middle School: Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust ..................................................... 20Adjusting to High School: How Older Siblings Can Help Younger Ones ............. 22Creative Clothes Shopping for Back to SchoolIts that time of year again - the kids are going to be heading back to school,and they need new outfits. Many times, its because theyve outgrown lastyears clothes. Other reasons include changing fashion trends and tastes.Regardless of the reasons, your kids are going to need new clothes beforeheading back to school. Are there any other options besides the traditionalretail shops? Is there a way to go about this creatively? 1
  2. 2. The answer is yes. Here are some creative options for back-to-school clothesshopping.Take StockDo your kids come to you complaining that they have "nothing to wear"? Itspretty doubtful that they really have nothing; it just seems like nothing. Takesome time to assess your kids wardrobes and really discern what they have.Chances are, youre going to find some decent clothes that fit that can be wornagain. They might even be clothes that have been so long forgotten that theywill seem new again!Break out the Needle and ThreadIf you can sew, now is the time to get your sewing machine out. (And if youcant sew, maybe now is a good time to learn!) You can recycle old clothesartfully with some well-places stitches. For example, let hems out or cut andhem worn-out pants to make shorts. If you can do some needlework, you canget creative and cover stains and small holes on clothes that otherwise fit fine.Give Old Outfits a New LookWhile you are going through the bureaus and closets of your kids, try to mixand match and put together new outfits. You can create a whole new look bymixing and matching, especially if your child has items in similar or neutralcolors. 2
  3. 3. Shop for Used ClothesWatch for consignment sales in your area, and since its the end of summer,keep an eye out for yard sales. Its amazing what you can find at these second-hand options, sometimes even name-brand clothes that kids really like. Whileyoure shopping creatively for used clothes, dont forget the internet. Yardsales are moving online these days, so take advantage of the local and largergroups selling used items online.Watch for SalesOf course, watching for sales keeps your clothing bill lower; but if you watchfor sales creatively, you can combine these events with some of the aboveoptions to create a whole new wardrobe for the school year.How to Plan Back to School ShoppingPlanning is the best way to get the most for your time and money. And when itcomes to back to school spending, the goal is often to do it as quickly and ascheaply as possible. While it may seem too soon to start thinking about backto school shopping, it is right around the corner. Planning now will save youlater.Take a Look at What You Usually SpendTake a look at your bank and credit card statements for the past few years toassess how much you usually spend. This information will help you set abudget for your children this year. Remember that school materials andsupplies should be included in the budget along with clothing. 3
  4. 4. Take a Look at Your Current BudgetIt’s quite possible that your financial situation is different than it was last year.Take a look at your current budget. How much can you afford to spend onback to school shopping this year? You may be able to spend more or you mayhave to spend less.Additionally, knowing how much you spent last year can help you make goodbudgeting decisions this year. For example, if you know you spent $300 lastyear and can only afford $200 this year, you may be able to shift a few thingsin your monthly budget to find that extra $100.Make a List of What You NeedHow much have your children grown? What clothing do they need and whatdo they want? Make a list of the items they need and start prioritizing. Askyour children to get involved in this process. They can try last year’s clothingon and let you know which items they want to keep and which items are nolonger appropriate.What Stores Will You Visit?As it gets closer to that inevitable shopping day, consider taking your child tothrift stores. Many used clothing stores sell brand name items that are in idealcondition. If your children are brand conscious, they may enjoy being able topurchase more for their money while still looking cool. 4
  5. 5. Give Them CashOne of the best ways to stick to your budget and your shopping plan is to handthe budgeted amount to each child. Children have a tendency to go overboardwhen they’re shopping. They find that one brand name sweatshirt and spendhalf of their budget on it. Then they cry a few weeks later when they’re forcedto wear the same shirt over and over again. They make much smarter buyingdecisions when they get to hold the cash in their hand. They tend to want toget more for their money – it almost becomes a game for them.Decide when to GoFinally, set the date. You can save a lot of money if you go school shoppingabout a month after school starts. Items go on sale and children are able tobuy what the cool kids are wearing at school at a much lower price. If theyabsolutely must have a new outfit for school, then buy one outfit for that firstday and then commit to taking them shopping in a few weeks when things goon sale.Top Tips for Back-to-School Shopping with a Picky TeenYou know how it is - you need to do the back-to-school shopping, but yourteen is so picky you dont know how youll get through it. Teens certainly canbe picky; peer expectations and their own personal tastes can combine tomake them hard to please. Here are some tips for back-to-school shoppingwith your picky teen. 5
  6. 6. Let Them ShopThis doesnt mean you should give your teen you credit card and drop him orher off at the mall for a few hours! Actually, there is a method to letting yourpicky teen do his or her own back-to-school shopping, and it can be a positivelearning process. Heres how it works.Go Through Their ThingsWith your teen, go through her clothes and determine what she really needs.Get rid of only those clothes that cant be repaired or are stained permanently,then work on mixing and matching whats left. Then determine what clothesshe needs and make a specific list.BudgetOnce you both understand whats necessary, you can make a budget for thoseitems. Determine what you are willing to pay for each piece of clothing, total itup, and then give your teen the money. Once its spent, no more - be firm onthis one! You may want to accompany her on this shopping trip to help pointout bargains and such, but the point is, she is in charge of planning herpurchases and spending the money.Good LessonsWhile youre doing all this, think of the good life lessons youll be teachingyour teen. Your teen will learn how to budget his money, and will get a no-frills introduction into the world of financial planning. Remember, once themoney is gone, he is not getting any more, so he will have to plan out how he 6
  7. 7. is going to divide up the money to get all the items he wants. Your teen mayalso be motivated to shop for things on sale or things at second-hand shopsonce he realizes how much the things he wants actually cost.Consider letting your teen keep any money thats left, too. Having a little extraspending money can be a great motivator to find bargains!Go for Re-SaleEven picky teens can usually find something at a consignment shop or second-hand store. Name brands are not necessarily hard to come by at these places,and if your teen has a flare for individuality, she might be able to put togethera stunning outfit with second-hand clothes and accessories.Money-Saving Ideas for School Supply ShoppingWhether we like it or not, school supplies can get expensive. From clothes topencils, it can cost a bundle to send your kids back to school. There are somethings you can do, though, to make it less financially painful. Here are somemoney-saving ideas for school supply shopping.Whats Shared and Whats NotBack when you were in school, your school supplies were yours, and usuallyconsisted of pencils, pens, notebooks and binders, and paper. The schoolprovided things like dry erase markers, paper towels, and chalk. Schools arecutting their budgets these days, though, so you may find yourself buyingsupplies that will be shared. Check your local school systems website or give 7
  8. 8. them a call and find out what supplies will be pooled and which ones willbelong to your student.Save on the Shared ItemsIf you know an item is going to be shared with the whole class, such as bindersor dry erase markers, skip the fancy ones. Go with the more generic, cheaptypes.Speaking of Sharing...Consider buying items in bulk with a group. Find other parents and familieswho can go in with you to purchase supplies. They tend to be much cheaper inbulk, and buying large amounts and dividing them up can help save somemoney.CouponsLook for coupons on manufacturers and retailers websites, and check yourlocal newspaper. Combine the coupons with existing sales, and be willing tomove on to the next retailer for the next sale rather than buying all your itemsat one place.No Sales TaxMany areas have a "no sales tax" day when you can buy items without thisadded tax. This is a good time to buy anything big, such as a small fridge for 8
  9. 9. your college student, or electronics. The bigger the item, the more you save onsales tax. (This is another good time to buy in bulk with friends and family.)Dont Forget the Dollar StoreDo you have a store where "everythings a dollar"? If so, go there! You mightbe able to find a lot of school supplies for a fraction of what youd pay at amajor retailer.Start EarlyThere are a couple of advantages to starting your back-to-school shoppingearly. For one thing, you are more likely to get the supplies you want and needwhile stock is still plentiful. Another advantage to starting early is the saleprices. May stores have school supplies discounted early, while its still in themiddle of summer.Making the Grade: Back to School Shopping with Your Grade School ChildIts that time of year! Your child needs school supplies and clothes. Where doyou start? How do you pay for it all? Here are some tips for making the gradewith your grade school kid this year. 9
  10. 10. Dressed for SuccessYour grade school child may not have the picky tastes of a teenager, but he orshe is going to need some new clothes this year. Go through last yearsclothing and find out what fits and what doesnt. This includes shoes, socks,and underwear, too. Grade school kids can grow really fast! Here are somemore ideas for clothes shopping with your grade school child.  Plan your shopping trip for a day when you dont have to rush, and when you dont have anything planned the night before. Being rested and ready helps everyones mood, and so does being able to take your time.  Call the school where your child will be attending and make sure there arent any changes to the dress code. If your child will be attending this school for the first time, then find out what the dress code is.  Keeping it simple helps a lot. Depending on his (or her) age, he will be better able to dress himself as the year goes on. Having easy-to-fasten clothes can help a lot to facilitate this process. Tough buttons (or lots of buttons), lacings, belts, and small head-holes can make dressing a frustrating experience. Go for clothes with large head-holes, zippers, and easy (and few) buttons.School SuppliesMoving on to school supplies - like the clothes, its a good idea to check withyour school and teacher to find out what specifics might be required. Someteachers specify brands, colors, and so forth. Here are some other tips forshopping for school supplies with your grade school child. 10
  11. 11.  Go generic on writing items like pens and pencils. Getting fancy, unique writing implements only leads to competition in the classroom and the possibility that your childs fancy pens will get stolen. Unless the teacher requires otherwise, go with standard #2 pencils.Markers should be water-based, and crayons are usually needed in packs of16. Consider a box to store and carry these small, easily-lost items.  Erasers are always needed in grade school. A large, pink eraser like you had in school is a good purchase. Some erasers that fit on the ends of pencils are inexpensive additions, too.  Your childs school may not supply paper like they did in the old days. Find out from your teacher/school if you need to supply ruled (lined) paper, which will differ from teacher to teacher and grade to grade.  Notebooks come in many forms. Your grade school child will probably need some spiral-bound ones as well as some binders. Think slim and trim so the notebooks fit in your childs desk, no matter what type is required.You also might want to purchase some dividers or pocket folders to help yourchild stay organized.Getting Ready - Top Tips for Preparing and Organizing for Back to SchoolMaybe last year, you got a little tired of books and papers all over the place.And perhaps the kids werent getting their homework done before bedtime. 11
  12. 12. Was studying getting done? Did everyone make their appointments andscheduled extracurricular activities? Were your kids prepared for the first dayof school last year?Chances are, you can see room for improvement in your preparation andorganization for the school year...and your kids probably agree. Here are sometips for preparing and organizing for back to school that may help.Get Ahead of the GameYoure reading this article, so youre probably already ahead of things! Stayingthat way can help a lot in preparing and organizing for the upcoming year.Look out for school supplies when you are out doing your regular shopping -pencils, pens, notebooks, etc. often go on sale as stores clean out theirinventories in preparation for the upcoming year. Go ahead and buy them atthe discounted price and keep a school supply stockpile.While you are getting ahead, think about clothes. Grab good deals for out-of-season clothes as you are running your regular errands. A lot of getting aheadis a mindset - just always be on the lookout for back to school stuff, even whenits June and you arent in the mood!Take InventoryLike the stores, now is a good time to take inventory of what you have. It canbe quite an eye-opener when you realize how many school supplies arealready around your home. Pens, pencils, paper, and notebooks are oftenhiding in various places in your house. Pull them all out and throw out whatcant be used, and reuse what is still in good condition. 12
  13. 13. You can do the same thing for back to school clothes. Take inventory of yourkids clothing and see if anyone can wear hand-me-downs, for instance, or ifyou can mix and match clothes. This helps avoid paying for clothes you dontneed, and helps you focus on what you actually do need.Change of ScheduleGoing back to school is often a schedule jolt - sleeping late and staying up tomidnight (or after) has to give way to the school years early mornings andearlier bedtimes. Try to ease into this schedule before school starts to helpeveryone prepare for the upcoming change. Go to bed and get up a bit earlieras the school year approaches.The Pros and Cons of Sending Your Child to PreschoolYour child is getting to be that age, and you may be wondering whether or nothe or she will benefit from going to preschool. You also might be feeling somepeer pressure or pressure from family as to whether or not you should sendyour child to school at so young an age. To help you make your decision, hereare some pros and cons of sending your child to preschool.ProsHere are some of the positive things about sending your child to preschool.1. Mommy time 13
  14. 14. Lets face it - when you send your child to preschool, you have some time toyourself during the day. This is not some "selfish" desire, but a much-neededbreak. It could also be your chance to start a project that youve been meaningto get done, or even just time to run some child-free errands.2. Easier transitionWhen it comes time for "real" school, your child may find it easier to go if hehas been to preschool. Basically, preschool helps kids get into the "school"mindset, and helps prepare them for this type of schedule that will dominatetheir lives for the next 12 years or more!3. Social timePreschool can provide your child with some socialization and time with othersher age. Preschoolers may benefit from being with others, participating in age-appropriate activities that help them form friendships. Whats more, thesefriendships may help the later transition into grade school, when some ofthose same friends may be heading off to kindergarten with your child.4. Preparation for learningA good preschool will set your child up for success in school. This is achievedmainly through age-appropriate activities that work on reading readiness,hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. These activities are primarilypreparatory, but thats the point. 14
  15. 15. ConsHere are some of the potential negatives to sending your child to preschool.1. Separation anxietySome children find it very difficult to separate from their primary caregiver inorder to spend the day (or part of the day) at preschool. This can be anemotionally draining thing for the both of you, and you may decide its notworth it. (And this is okay, by the way!) Watch, too, for persistent anxiety andreal fear about going to preschool - it could mean the care there is not optimal.2. Different ideas on disciplineNot being in agreement with the preschool teacher(s) about discipline can bea big con. If you dont want your child to be spanked, but you know thepreschools in your area employ physical punishment, then you may decide toforego preschool for your child.3. IllnessPreschools are germ factories, and for some families the hassle and hazard ofrecurring illnesses can be significant. Constant illness getting passed to familymembers - especially if someone has compromised immunity - can be a realdrawback. 15
  16. 16. 4. Not so socialDespite the social "pro" above, some studies indicate that starting preschooltoo early (and for your child, the "right" age for preschool may still be tooearly) actually inhibits social development. This may be because kids throwninto a group too soon dont have the proper social skills and their brains aretoo young to develop them, so they may cope by shutting down or acting out.Preparing Your Child for KindergartenYour child is growing up! He or she is getting to be that age when its time tostart kindergarten. What can you do to help prepare your child forkindergarten? Here are some tips to help you out.Read!All kinds of sources agree that reading aloud to your child is very importantfor preparing them - not only for reading on their own, but also for school ingeneral. Old-fashioned nursery rhymes have been shown to be helpful inteaching children about language, phonics, and rhyming. So go to the libraryand stock up on some age-appropriate books and get to reading together!Clay LettersPlay with clay and show your child how to form letters out of clay. If you like,start with a word he really likes, such as his own name or the name of afavorite pet or toy. This hands-on, tactile activity helps reinforce the conceptof forming letters with the hands, and may help prepare your child forhandwriting. 16
  17. 17. IdentificationTalk about the names of colors and shapes when you are out and about (oreven at home) with your child. Tell her the names of shapes of familiar objectsand name the colors. You might play a game of "I spy" to help reinforce this ina fun way. In this game, you say something like, "I spy something red andround," and then let your child guess what it is. Then your child can choosesomething and let you guess.Visit the School and Meet the TeacherFamiliarity can really help your child adjust to kindergarten. See if you canarrange to tour the school and meet the teacher, and hopefully more thanonce. Let your child see the playground, classroom, and cafeteria of the school.IndependenceSee what you can do to foster independence in your child before kindergarten.Practice tying shoes (its understandable if your child doesnt master this rightaway, but it helps to have a start), dressing himself, and using the bathroomalone. If separation is an issue, practice some separations with caregiversbefore the big day arrives.ScissorsWe all know not to run with them, but cutting with them is an importantschool-age skill. Do some fun projects with your child that involve cuttingvarious shapes and lines, from straight to wavy. 17
  18. 18. Get a Check-UpBefore going to kindergarten, its a good idea to visit with your pediatricianfor a check-up. Also make sure your child is up-to-date on his vaccinations,and find out what your childs school requires in this regard.How Parents Can Help with the Emotional Challenges of TransitioningLife is full of transitions - from preschool to kindergarten, middle school tohigh school, and many times they can be very challenging. Parents can helpwith the emotional challenges of transitioning, but sometimes its hard toknow how to help. Here are some tips on how you can help your kids makethose important transitions.Preschool to KindergartenHere may be one of the first big transitions in your childs life. The emotionalchallenges of this age involve separation anxiety and social readiness (or un-readiness). Here are some tips.  Tour the school with your child over the summer before he or she begins kindergarten. Familiarizing her with the teacher, classrooms, playground, and overall layout of the school will help a lot.  Understand her feelings, say experts. Parents may get impatient with separation anxiety and tears, but if youre going to support your child, its a good idea to understand where shes coming from. Talk about how she feels, and help her put words to the feelings (that can be hard at this 18
  19. 19. age). This helps her identify the feelings which may make them less scary.Grade School to Middle SchoolThis can be a big one. Its an emotional age at this point, so parents would dowell to prepare themselves. Some of these tips may help.  Understanding feelings is important at this age, too, but its not the same as going from preschool to grade school. Obviously, your child doesnt need words to identify what hes feeling. As a parent, you can help by recognizing the priority shift your child will have. His emotions are more focused on peers and the opposite sex than they were in grade school.  Asking questions without judgment can help parents connect emotionally with their kids during transitional challenges. Try to find out what your childs concerns, fears, and apprehensions are, as well as the things he is looking forward to and is excited about.Middle School to High SchoolKids start feeling independent and "grown up" about this time. Here are sometips on dealing with this transition.  Help them solve their own problems. At this point, calling the school for every complaint may not help your child. The transition may be smoother if you can offer some problem solving skills and strategies to 19
  20. 20. help your child help herself. This is an opportunity to help your child come up with a plan to help solve the issues at hand.  Go to orientation if its offered. If its not, tour the school. Find teachers and advisors who can talk to your student about her fears and concerns, which will help alleviate some of those concerns. Many times, kids fear high school for reasons that really arent realistic.High School to CollegeSending your child off to college is a big step! How can parents help theirincreasingly-independent child with this transition? Here are some tips.  Validate your childs feelings about this big change. It may be tempting to blow off their problems - they dont have "real problems" grown-ups may think - but remember your college-aged kids dont have the life experience and frame of reference that you do. Being patient with their concerns can help make their transition smoother. Let them vent!  Keep in touch with care packages and special gifts at key times (like final exams or his birthday). This helps support them more than you may know!Middle School: Tips for Helping Your Child AdjustMiddle school can be a trying time. This is that age when children start tochange from little kids to adults, and they have something of a battle going oninside them. Peers start to mean more, and parents may feel they are losing 20
  21. 21. their influence. But there are some things you can do to help make it easier.Here are some tips for helping your child adjust to middle school.Talk to Your ChildHave you tried asking your child some questions about his or her concernsabout starting middle school? Try having a conversation where you dontjudge or show big reactions, and see if you can discern some of the thingsshes concerned about. Try to phrase things positively, putting yourself in theposition of helper not critic.Remember Where Your Childs Mind IsYou may be thinking only of academic performance and how this new stagewill affect it, but did you stop to think about what your child is thinking aboutmost? Do you remember what you were thinking about the most when youwere in middle school?Most kids this age are thinking about their friends, their looks, and boys/girls(whatever the opposite sex is). In other words, they are really much morefocused on the social scene and what others think about them than they areabout grades. This doesnt mean you should let grades slide; it just helps youunderstand why their mindset seems to be changing. It is!Tour the SchoolJust like for younger kids getting ready to start Kindergarten, your middleschool student will be attending a new place with new teachers and 21
  22. 22. classrooms. He will have lots of teachers - a different one for each subject -rather than one teacher all day.So take your child for a tour of the school before the first day to help him getoriented. It can be overwhelming to change classes for the first time, trying tofind the right classroom, the cafeteria, and so forth. You can help take some ofthe edge off by touring the school first.Dont Change EverythingThis is a time of big upheaval for your child. Try to keep some of thosecomforting family routines and rituals in place as the middle school years rollaround. Your child may not act like she values these traditions, but they canreally help keep her secure and grounded in the middle of all the change.Adjusting to High School: How Older Siblings Can Help Younger OnesAn older sibling can be a big help in facilitating their younger siblingsadjustment to high school. After all, younger siblings tend to look up to theirolder brothers and sisters. But how? Maybe youre wondering how this couldwork. Here are some tips and ideas for how older siblings can help youngerones adjust to high school.Comparing NotesIf siblings are in high school together, the older one likely had some of thesame teachers and classes that the younger one is now working with. Theolder sibling can help the younger by going over his notes from last year (orlonger ago) with the younger sibling. This doesnt mean the younger sibling 22
  23. 23. isnt taking notes; it is just a way to get more information and enhance whatthe younger sibling has already taken down.Tips on TeachersAn older sibling can give the younger some good tips on how to succeed withparticular teachers. "Ms. Smith really hates it when you are late," for instance,or "Mr. Jones gives really hard tests so youll need to study." These tips can behelpful for the younger sibling trying to adjust to high school.In-House TutorSometimes siblings dont share the same academic strengths, and the youngerone may be struggling with a class or subject that was a breeze for the olderone. If the younger sibling is not self-conscious about it and if the older onehas the time, he (or she) can tutor his younger sibling in the subject and sharetips and learning strategies. Maybe there is a study chart he used, and can helpthe younger sibling develop a similar chart.In-House EditorWhile you dont want to burden the older sibling, he can be a big asset as aneditor of essays and papers. The older sibling may be able to check over theyounger ones homework and note spelling and grammar mistakes, or givetips as to what the teacher expects in that class. Again, the older sibling is notdoing the younger ones work for him; this is just helping the younger with hisown work. 23
  24. 24. Dont Recycle Projects or Other SchoolworkThere are some "donts" here as well, and this is one of them. Make sure youryounger sibling is not pulling out past projects of your older childs andpresenting them as his own. This is a definite no-no! Besides, the teacher islikely to recognize it and give the younger sibling a failing grade.Brought to you by http://www.oldfashionedhomemaking.comThis special report may not be redistributed or sold. 24