Back to School sMARt Tips

After a lazy, hazy, crazy summer of dubious bedtimes, vacations, and loose schedules, the transition back to school can feel like a gut punch.

Avoid tantrums: Gradually make bedtimes earlier by 10 minutes each night a week or two before the first day of school. Bedtimes should be back in line by September.

Create an Inviting Sleep Area: This is a good time to freshen up the kids sleeping area. The focus is always on new clothes, but restorative sleep is even more important than new kicks. Replace old worn mattresses, mattress pads, sheets, and pillows. An inviting, cozy sleeping place sets the stage for a great nights rest and maximizes school performance.

Get a Plan: Now that everyone is primed for the fall transition, make a basic outline of how mornings and evenings will proceed. Make chore lists, AM and PM routine schedules, etc. Get input from the kids. Color-code everything. Share the outline with everyone. A plan sets expectations early on, minimizing inevitable morning confusion and overall grousing. 

Tip: Never underestimate the motivational power of a simple timer. Set it for 10 minutes. When it beeps, it’s the timer telling the kids to get up, or start homework, etc., not wonderful you!

Get Back to Business: At the same time you are pushing bedtimes back in line, you should dust the cobwebs off books and summer work. Hopefully, your child has been chipping away all summer on reading assignments and working on math. If not, this is the time to freshen up stale study skills. Think about the workstation as well. A bright, organized space with new desk and chair can be very inspirational.

Take Inventory for Targeted Shopping: Like a scythe through a wheat field, go through drawers and old backpacks. Ruthlessly toss or donate anything unusable. Make a list of what supplies and clothes will be needed. Keep it to basics you know work. This is not the time to experiment with the kids’ style. Don’t forget to save the donation receipts in a file for tax time.

Save Money. You’ll Need It: The start of school can be a big money pit with (teacher supply purchases, field trip money etc.,) but it doesn’t have to be. Look for coupons and cash back sites online before buying anything. Sites like:

  • Couponcabin
  • Cashback
  • Fatwallet
  • Ebates

Tip: Store cards, like Old Navy or Gap, can be big money savers. The promotions and cardholder deals are unbeatable. Limit store cards to one highly used card.

Give Back: With all that’s going on, you can lose sight of the basics, like supporting the school that supports you. One simple way to help is to look for sites that give a percentage of your purchase to your school. Like:

  • Local grocers (Stop & Shop)
  •  eScrip
  • Onecause