It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the end of another school year and had a long and glorious golden summer stretching infinitely out before us. While it is still technically summer, we’ve officially entered another season — the “back to school” season.
Not only does this season mark the oncoming death of summer but also it can be quite costly, stressful and busy.
When you take into account the clothes, backpacks, school supplies, sports equipment, lunch money and all the other costs associated with returning to school, it’s enough to make most parents cringe. Even though just about every supermarket and department store circular is screaming about “unbeatable” back to school deals, this season is bound to leave a hollow sort of ache in most parents’ wallets.
Not only is this an expensive time for parents, it is also incredibly busy. As parents, we have a lengthy list of responsibilities that go well beyond simple back to school shopping. We have to take our little learners to the doctor for yearly physicals and immunizations, ensure that summer reading and any homework is complete, fill out an onslaught of forms and paperwork and, the hardest task of them all, get the kids back into a routine.
However, no matter how busy we are, as parents, we must take a moment or two out of our busy schedules to consider how the kids are feeling about returning to school. Sure, there will be the obligatory complaints about a return to bedtime, but many kids will also experience a slew of deeper emotions. For some there will be pure excitement about the new experiences on the horizon including new friends and challenges. For others there will be anxiety about a new environment, new people and potential obstacles.
To help ensure your child is more exhilarated than intimated about returning to school, indulge in some fun yet educational activities. For example, for little ones try a printable coloring page and for slightly older children try a back to school themed word search. These activities will not only give you the opportunity to talk to your child and gauge his or her feelings but also get them back in the mindset of learning and focusing.
While parents have plenty to worry about during the back to school season, if they can find a moment to spare, they should give at least a passing thought to their child’s soon-to-be teacher. During this time of the year, teachers are equally as busy. They are striving to prepare their classrooms, write lesson plans, finish welcome back to school letters and much more. If the opportunity arises, introduce yourself, whether it be face-to-face, by phone, or via email, to your child’s future educator. It’s important to form a partnership with the teacher early on so that you can work as a cohesive team to help your child reach educational goals and milestones throughout the school year.
It is all too easy to be consumed with the limitless list of tasks necessary to get your child ready to head back to school; however, take a few deep breaths and try to enjoy this exciting time of year. This is a transition that marks the growth and development of your little one. It should be celebrated…not dreaded. In addition, don’t forget to indulge in the final days of summer.
Freebiefindingmom.com has been helping people save money and make savvy financial decisions since 2010. Kelli Bhattacharjee, the proprietor of the site, is a former investment professional with nearly 10 years of experience.
Freebie Finding Mom is a monthly column focusing on helping parents make savvy financial decisions.