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Prepare to Go Back-to-School

A mother lets her son pick out a new shirt while shopping after school.

As summer comes to an end, the transition back to school can be stressful for both kids and parents. But don’t worry! We are sharing some helpful tips to make the back-to-school experience smoother.

Start Shopping
Before you hit the stores for supplies, new wardrobes, and must-have accessories, think about these money-saving and convenient tips.

• Search for bargains all summer — back-to-school sales seem to begin before the school year even ends!
• Look for state “tax-free holidays”, often held in the slow retail days of summer, to save on clothing, electronics, and supplies. Connecticut’s Tax-Free Week is August 20 – 27 this year.
• Hold a swap party with friends and neighbors — last year’s barely used supplies or lightly worn clothes in your closet may be brand new and exciting for someone else.
• Check out consignment shops — sell last year’s stuff; get a bargain on this year’s stuff.
• Stock up on basics for the whole year — paper, pencils, glue sticks, folders, etc. Grab extras when they’re on sale and stash them away for later in the school year when supplies run low or items need refreshing.

Establish the Routine
A smooth transition from the lazy days of summer to the regimented school routine begins with a plan. Here’s what to consider to start the new year on the right foot.

• Begin a bedtime routine at least a week before school starts. Even if the kids aren’t falling asleep earlier, they can be in bed reading a book or doing another quiet activity at the same time every night.
• Are your kids used to sleeping in? Beginning a week or two before school, set the alarm for an hour later than it will go off when school starts. Each day (or every other day), set it for 10-15 minutes earlier so the kids learn to wake up when they will need to during the school year.
• Make a list of tasks that need to be done every day — who needs to do them and when. Be sure to involve all parties — young children and spouses too — when creating the list. Then break it down into individual tasks for each person. Practice this new routine beginning a few days before school.
• Prepare the night before. Do as much as you can at night to avoid unexpected changes in routine in the morning. Make lunches and snacks as you’re cleaning up after dinner. Pack backpacks before bed, perhaps when homework has been completed. Place instruments or sports equipment that need to go to school with the backpack. Lay out clothes the night before. Think through the morning and prepare as much ahead of time as you can.
• Stay organized. Have a folder, slot, clipboard, or other designated item to hold together all like-information that must be kept: announcements about upcoming events, permission slips, birthday invitations, etc. You decide if you need one for each family member or if you categorize by type of information. The important thing is that info that needs to be saved can be quickly retrieved.

Ease the Stress
Consider the two big changes kids are facing with a new school year: a more regimented routine and new environmental factors (new classroom, teacher, friends, etc.). Children don’t always know how to articulate their stress and uncertainty, so help them to picture every step of the new school year.

• Describe what will be different about the new school year. Consider the changes they will be experiencing: new teacher, classroom, lessons, and routines. They may also have a change in routine that involves transportation — riding the bus, carpooling, or walking. Many children don’t know how to articulate what makes them nervous so help them find the words to talk about it. Give them the opportunity to ask questions and point out the exciting aspects and benefits of the new routine.
• Talk about the new routine in detail. “We’ll wake up at 6:30, have breakfast by 7:00, and be out the door by 7:30. We’ll pick up Jenny and I’ll drop you both off at school by 7:45. You’ll walk to your classroom…” This will help children picture the routine before they are expected to follow it. It will also prompt them to ask questions.

Start Thinking About Student Banking
Is your child heading off to college or starting their first job? Maybe they have a goal they want to save up for. Chelsea Groton Bank can help teach them the skills needed to manage money and reduce risk! Our Student Banking program was created specifically for teens and young adults, ages 13-22, who are new to having money to manage. With the products, services, technology, and educational opportunities associated with our Student Banking program, you’ll learn all the basics. Topics include how to use a debit card, save for a goal, and the ins and outs of earning good credit. Learn more about Chelsea U Student Banking.

With a little advanced planning, thoughtful communication, and loving attention, the transition from summer to a new school routine can be peaceful for the whole family.