Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just Around the Corner

I can't really believe it. In fact, I'm in a semi-state of denial that summer is almost over. Of course here in Central Texas, the heat will hold on for at least another couple of months, but school starts in less than two weeks. Are you ready? Here are a few tips and resources to help you and your kids prepare to head back to school!

School Supplies and Clothing: One thing I try to do with my kids is take an inventory of what we have, what still fits, and what needs mending or stain removal...before I buy anything new. Anything that doesn't make the cut goes into a bag to be donated to charity, and then we go shopping. Now just this morning, I heard about some families that actually do an exchange. They gather the clothing, shoes and accessories that they no longer want or need and exchange them with their friends. This way your kids can have something that is "new" to them without you having to spend lots of money. Another option is to skip the department stores altogether and shop at thrift or consignment stores. In our neighborhood, the Lake Travis Thrift Shop will gladly take your donations (that support several local charities,) and you might even pick up a "new to you" outfit for significantly less than a department store. You can also take your gently used children's items to Sweet Peas Consignment Store. The store owner will assess the value of your items and either give you cash or store credit once the items sell.

Another back-to-school savings idea is to take advantage of the sales tax-free weekend on August 21 - 23. You can check this link to see the items that qualify: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html

Re-establishing a Routine: If your family is like mine, we've been taking advantage of the long summer days and staying up late and waking up really late. So that it's not such a rude awakening when the alarm clock rings on the first day of school, we start easing back into our school year bedtime routine. About a week before school starts, we begin moving bedtime up in 15 minute increments each day until we reach our normal bedtime. We also start setting the alarm clock for a morning wake up call. Hopefully within the week we are settling into our school schedule. When setting your child's bedtime, remember that most children and teens require 9-10 hours of sleep for proper growth and development.

Getting Organized: Every school year I vow once again to be organized. I know that starting out organized can certainly help my child have a successful academic year. I also know that I need all the help I can get in this area! This summer I discovered http://www.familyeducation.com/. This site is an excellent resource for parents who want to help their children thrive in school. You will find tips, strategies, and tools to get your child's - and your life - in order. The site is categorized by age groups to give specific tips for doing homework, encouraging reluctant readers, and reviewing math skills as well as healthy nutrition and exercise information.

Ready or Not, here it comes! I have to admit that I'm not quite ready to give up my late nights and even later mornings, flexible schedule, and spontaneous fun, but the first day of school is just around the corner. It's time to get ready!