Friday, July 31, 2015

10 To-Dos Before School Starts

Okay, so the back-to-school commercials were out before the kids here in the Northeast were even OUT of school (and, by the way, Halloween merchandise has been in the stores around here for at least two weeks). But with tomorrow being August 1st and many institutions of higher learning starting before Labor Day, it may be time to turn a tiny portion of our parental brains toward the first day of school because many things will not wait until that fateful day. 

So here are 10 suggestions of things you might want to handle on sooner rather than later:

  1. Scheduling the kids yearly physicals and eye exams. If you haven't made an appointment with your pediatrician, you're behind the curve already! According to my doctor's office, phone calls started flooding in back in Spring, so bite the bullet and schedule one for your child today. I usually wait until Fall anyway so I can get the kids their flu shots with their physicals. Eye exams tend to be less pressing, so I never have trouble getting them in to see our beloved optometrist; the problem then becomes fitting the appointment in with the kids' busy schedules.

  2. Check your school supplies closet/drawer/basket – whatever. I've wasted plenty of money buying supplies I already had (what am I gonna do with 50 Office Depot erasers). Make a list of what you already have so you can bring it when you go back-to-school shopping. 

  3. Clean out last year's backpacks. In June, my children gleefully throw their backpacks into the closet and don't want to see them for the next two months. Sneak a peak and see if you can salvage any old supplies. I grab any notebooks containing blank paper and I use them for my writing and lists; pencils and pens go into pencil cups around the house; markers are placed in Ziploc bags for arts and crafts projects; and old smocks get washed for use next year. As for old, broken crayons, there are thousands of websites on the Web with ideas for how to re-use them (ThriftyFun is one), but even if you're not crafty, you can send them away to the Crazy Crayons where they'll be recycled and not wind up in landfills.  Oh, and if you need guidance on how to choose a backpack for the upcoming year, read this.

  4. Inspect old backpacks and lunch sacks. I bought these reusable sandwich/snack bags (see below) at Walmart last year. They're washable and can be used from year to year. Similarly, unless a lunch sack has last year's favorite TV character or band, see if you can sell your kid on the concept of re-using it by updating, perhaps by letting them draw on it or adding a glue-on patch. Honestly, with my kids living in their backpacks throughout the school year, their old backpacks aren't usable from year to year, BUT they do make great library bags, gym bags, and can be hung in their rooms to hold stuffed animals, etc. 

  5. Take look at their Fall clothes. In my area, it's HOT the first few weeks of school. No matter what the commercials on TV show, they do not need new sweaters on the first day of the academic year. Sure, I'll buy both kids new sneakers (because they ALWAYS need them) and will buy Diva one new shirt just to make her feel special, but otherwise, they're not getting new outfits unless they really, truly need them.

  6. Make any before-chool purchases you need to. Sometimes you need to pre-order lunches and supplies. Check your school's website for information.

  7. Send any musical instruments out for tune-ups (pun intended). My son plays the clarinet and every year we have it sent out for cleaning. That way it's pristine for Band in the Fall. Oh, and if your child will be starting to play an instrument, now is the time to shop around for the best rental price.

  8. Document the Summer while it's fresh in your mind. If you're waaaay behind in your scrapbooking like I am, make a list of what the kids did this summer so you can remember when you finally do get around to ordering your photobooks (or doing it by hand like I do). It's too easy to forget the nuances of the Summer.

  9. Stock up on anti-lice shampoo and/or conditioner.  Kids come back from camp with those critters and even if your kids haven't gone, there's ALWAYS a lice outbreak every fall. I swear by Fairy Tales conditioner! My daughter has long, lush hair and even when she was exposed to lice by a neighbor's kid who literally had bugs crawling in her hair, Diva never contracted it. Fairy Tales smells like amazing; it contains rosemary, citronella, tea tree, lemongrass, peppermint, sage. School nurses SWEAR by this stuff and so do I!

  10. Stock up on clothes and footwear for next Summer. This stuff is on sale now to make way for Fall and Winter merchandise. If you have a sense of how much your child will grow over the course of the year (the Teen is a crapshoot), now is the time to buy flip flops and bathing suits in a bigger size.

And, of course, enjoy the rest of the Summer!  Your children will never be younger than they are now. All too soon, they'll be out on their own. Have fun with them while you can and cherish almost all the moments (because, let's face it, not all are rainbows and lollipops) with your kids.

Happy Rest Of Summer! 
Thanks for reading!

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