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Monday, August 1, 2011

School Bell: Before School 1

Ok, school supplies are back at the "seasonal" aisle of the drugstores, and sales at the box stores are everywhere.  Now is the time that, ready or not, kids start thinking about school. They can't help it with all the ads and displays.  For some it is a event they look forward to eagerly, some with anxiety, some with sadness, but they can't escape its approach.
For the next few weeks I will give some hints to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Today: Make school supplies fun.

* Think of a theme to make it interesting. Maybe look for supplies in your child's favorite color.  [If you have more than one child, color coding may seem obnoxious, but it is a godsend at keeping possession arguments at a minimum.] If money isn't tight, maybe think of a hobby theme or character theme. These tend to be more expensive, but another alternative is to decorate plain supplies [notebooks, folders, etc. ] with less expensive stickers of there theme or choice.

* Give each child a box for their room to start gathering their own school supplies. Decide together what they need.  Sort through the piles in their rooms, the desk drawers, the cubbies. Are you drowning in erasers? Do you have enough rulers to supply the whole street? Did they never use the dozen glue sticks that have now dried to concrete?  This will help you and them shop and plan more realistically.

* Take them on a window shopping tour but NOT in a store.  [That will likely lead to whines and frustrations.]  Use the Sunday paper's flyers and have them circle the things that they like. That gives you an idea of what they like. If they circle everything... give them the chance to go back and put a star by their 5 favorites. You will have plenty of ideas of surprises and treats to reward good behavior with and also start filling their school boxes.

* Personalize some of their supplies. On rainy days, use some craft time to personalize some of their things. This is particularly fun on spiral notebooks, pocket folders, and pencil boxes. Check back to my blog entry last December


Parenting Tips: Personalized Gift of Communication

for directions on personalizing folders or notebooks. The same ideas can be used for pencil boxes or other flat surfaced supplies.  [After school starts you can do the same with grocery bag book covers to make them more fun.]

* Shop specifically. When you go shopping with them, have a plan ahead.  Know what the goal is... and keep it small and limited. Maybe tonight you are looking for pencils, pens and folders.  The next time a binder and notebook. Decide ahead the $ range and bring a notebook for writing down ideas you see and things they want on their school "wish list."

* Splurge small with the sales. Every once in a while [based on the sales] slurge on something small.  Maybe colorful paperclips instead of plain ones. The difference is pennies this time of year and it can be fun to make something ordinary a little bit special.

Next week:  Easing School Anxiety

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