5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Navigate Back-to-School Disasters

Please welcome our guest blogger of the month, Janice Russell.  Check out her Parenting Disasters blog!

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Your 5-year-old has been talking about nothing but starting kindergarten all summer long. Now that the day is here, however, anxiety and shyness overwhelm your little one. Or, maybe your older child is starting a new school and is worried about fitting in. Perhaps your kids are all teenagers, and trying to keep up with the trends of high school is breaking your budget in ways you couldn’t have imagined — or prepared for. Whatever your situation, back-to-school stressors and disasters can happen at any time and at any age. Here are five ways to help your kids (and your bank account) manage these challenges.

Use Coupons for Clothes

Your teenager will likely go through many styles during his or her high school career. While this can be fun and adventurous for them, it can be a financial challenge for parents as it’s not uncommon for a teenager to change their look from minute to minute. You can manage these costs by checking out online coupons and promo codes for retailers like Old Navy.

Practice the First Day Routine

For a shy or anxious child, take time to practice — maybe even more than once — how the first day of class will go. Start the whole morning off the way you would on that first day. Let your child help pick out his or her outfit, and have a lunch and a backpack packed and ready to take. Even get in the car and drive to school. You can park and walk up to the front door. Be sure to explain that some things will be different — there will be more buses, cars, and kids. However, just going through the motions will help your child (and you!) feel more confident on that first day.

Get Savvy About School Supplies

Kids need a lot when they return to school. From clothes and pencils to crayons and calculators, the supply list seems to get bigger the older they get. Being savvy about supplies can save you big bucks. You can save a bundle with clearance sales and money-back opportunities from one-stop-shop stores like Kohl’s. If you have multiple kids, be sure to save the items the older ones used for when the younger children advance to that grade. Also, buy in bulk whenever you can, especially common supplies that get used every year.

Set Up a Special Homework Space

Few kids are excited about homework, but working on assignments at home is a natural part of going to school. You can help your kid feel more inspired and motivated by creating a special school workspace just for them. Outfit the area with a desk and an ergonomic chair so they are comfortable and not cramped. Be sure to get good lighting, and take advantage of natural light when you can. If your child works well with music, you can even set up a bluetooth speaker or, if they need total silence, grab some noise reducing headphones. Save on furniture and accessories by using promo codes and discounts at retailers like Macy’s.

Ease the Transition

Transitioning from summer to school is hard for most kids, regardless of age. They go from feeling the freedom of limitless days to the confines of a school desk without much buffer time. For some parents, this can make waking up your kids in time for school seem like moving a mountain. You can help ease the transition from summer to school by getting your kids up at the time they would need to for school about a week early. You can also provide a bit more structure in the day by limiting video games and television and encouraging them instead to read a book. Also, if you know the time your child will be eating lunch at school, eat lunch at that time over the summer whenever you can.

Back-to-school stressors can feel like a disaster to both kids and parents, especially when money is involved. Establishing a good daily routine is a key element in prioritizing your whole family’s mental health. It’s important that you pay attention to times when you or your child might be struggling, and schedule in a few mental health breaks. This will not only help your child relax and unwind, but it will also bring your whole family a little bit closer.

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