1. Do you have any first day of school “rituals” like pancakes for breakfast or a special song you sing?
The first day back to school is an exciting time for both children and parents alike. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in everyone’s life and another step forward for our kids. Some families celebrate this transition with photos of the kids with their new clothes and backpacks, others by going out to breakfast to talk about their day and their expectations. One of our experts plans a back to school pool party with new school supplies as favors. How fun! No matter what your “ritual” is, try and keep the morning calm and hassle free. Prepare lunches the night before and have backpacks ready to go so that no one is searching for items that morning. Get the kids to the bus on time and send them off with hugs and good wishes.
2. What two items should every high school student have in their backpack?
Every high school student you know would probably give you a different answer, and some might say they need items not necessarily required for school (pillows, iPods, the entire contents of your refrigerator, etc.). When asked, our experts had some simple suggestions like pens and pencils. Notebooks and agenda planners were also high on the list. Some other things that you may not think of but can be quite useful are hand sanitizer, a brush or comb, and money. Also mentioned were gym clothes if needed as well as the ever-present cell phone. Now that might be the one thing that no teenager ever forgets!
3. As a parent, how do you transition your family from school and work during the day to evening activities and family time?
Changing gears in the afternoon/evening can be a challenge for even the most organized of family. Kids are returning from school, sports, after-care, or clubs, while parents are transitioning from work mode to “dealing-with-the-kids” mode. Most of our experts suggested having dinner as a family as a good way to transition. This gives everyone an opportunity to catch up and talk about their day. Have a designated homework time, whether it is prior to dinner or after so that the kids know what is expected of them. Once everyone has completed their assignments and dinner, go for a walk together or enjoy a movie as a family.
4. Is there a good way to calm the nerves of a child who is attending a new school for the first time?
Changing schools ranks as one of the most stressful things a child can do. New friends, new teacher, new surroundings can get their nerves firing, give them stomach aches, and cause great anxiety to some children. If at all possible, try to get your child a tour of the school before they start. This will ease the stress of knowing where to find classrooms and allow them to meet some of their teachers. If you have moved to a new area, get the kids involved with activities in the community. Sports teams, dance classes, and church events are all good ways to let your child meet some of the kids from their new school. If they know at least one person on that first day it can make a big difference. Reassure your child that this is a new adventure and that you will be there to support them.
5. Where can you find the best back-to-school bargains on clothing and supplies?
A bargain is always fantastic, but when so much is needed prior to school, the bigger the bargain the better. A great suggestion is to get together with neighbors or friends and buy school supplies in bulk from BJ’s or Costco. As always the big box stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Big Lots offer great selections and low prices. Check out the dollar store nearest you and don’t count out consignment stores like Wellspring in Peachtree City and Red Door Consignments in Tyrone for great deals on clothes. Keep an eye out for newspaper ads for back-to-school sales and don’t forget about tax-free weekend prior to the start of school.