Back-to-School Checklist

Transitioning out of pool parties and into school drop off is not a transition a parent or child looks forward to. Days of sleeping in and letting loose are replaced with schedules and bedtimes. Tackle that back-to-school bug head-on with tips on what to get, how to get it and where your child’s back-to-school checklist will take you.

Before you start packing snacks and carting your kids to Walmart, do a sweep of your house. You aren’t just checking items off a list. You are checking off tasks to ensure you are prepped for an A first day. You would be surprised as to how much you have left over from last year. Those 50 $.10 notebooks you bought may be hibernating in the back of your closet. Odds are there are a lot of supplies you can already have crossed off your list before you even start shopping.

You may hate us when we say it is time for a closet cleanup. It is essential to do a sweep of your kid’s closets before the school year starts. This will give you a better idea as to what your children need to have on day one of the school year and what items can be bought later.

Use an incentive to get your kids involved with back-to-school prep. Knock out those closet cleanups in one day. If you don’t, those half-done closets often get pushed to the side or under the bed. A half-done closet cleanup will only cause for a more unorganized situation later. Bag up what you don’t need, and either sell or donate those items that are outgrown or unused. You would be shocked as to how much lost merchandise is submerged in the mess. You’ll be making room for new items and everything they’ll need for a new school year. It will also give you and your children a sense of accomplishment. It is a productive way to encourage the start to a brand-new school year.

Set your child up for success. Start the new school year with a plan and a drive to make it the best one yet. We are here to help you finish that back-to-school checklist with tips anyone can get behind.

Shop Around.

It takes a village to raise a family just as it takes time to get everything together for them. Shopping around can save you a lot in the long run. Studies are finding that what you’ll spend on back-to-school essentials is higher than ever before. Parents are footing a higher bill for students of every age, every year. This is due to increased budget cuts on schools.

Be prepared to spend. The average cost of back-to-school supplies for an elementary school student is over $600. For middle schoolers, it averages $1,000, and for high schoolers, it reaches averages of nearly $1,500. Of course, all these prices vary, but there is one common fact. Preparing your kids to go back to school is going to cost you. It’s your choice to get more for your money.

Don’t forget to factor fall sports equipment into those back-to-school checklists. Days of signing up for sports isn’t limited to paying for a jersey. Due to school funding cuts, parents are spending an average of $2,200 dollars on their child’s sports.

These numbers aren’t meant to scare you. They are to encourage you to push through the chaos of taking the kids out of the house and shop around. It keeps you from having to spend a lot at once. It is a lot less painful. Of course, shopping around and taking time to compare back-to-school prices will ultimately save you money. However, there is always more to it.

For the teachers and parents adding numbers because you have more than one child, we are here to help you shop around and save where you can, so you can spend more where it is needed.

Make a List and Check it Twice.

Prepping for school can seem overwhelming. It’s expensive, and you never really know what you need. For instance, you NEED that binder, but you don’t “need” that unicorn pencil pouch/binder set. It’s important to focus on the B.AL.A.N.C.E.

Start preparing early. Compare previous school years to now. Make a list of everything you can think of and check with your child’s school on what list of items they have. There are the basics such as: pencils, pens and notebook paper. There are the organizing tools: binders, folders and files. There are the unique pieces that attract individuals who prefer the more organized, creative or productive school life such as: planners, styled notebooks and other various back-to-school supplies.

It is important to plan when you are making a back-to-school checklist. Factor in the number of your kids who are going back to school and make different lists for each of them. If you have an elementary schooler, middle schooler and high schooler, every list is going to vary... maybe even drastically. Don’t stop at the supply list.

Your children’s back-to-school list will exceed one page after you go through the specifics. It can get overwhelming. Along with supplies, you also need to factor in what clothes, shoes and essentials will be needed for the school year.

Finding clothes for independent-minded children can be a fight in and of itself. They have different unique qualities about themselves that they want to express. Their stylistic expression may or may not be school appropriate. For the more go-with-the-flow child, begging them to wear clothes that match for school is a fight you aren’t ready to have every morning. Keep your head up. You are not alone.

Keep in mind, your child is still growing, so you don’t need to go overboard on what you buy or how much you buy. Think as realistic as possible. Get the essentials. If possible, let your child pick a piece or two that speak to them. It will make the whole experience easier. Yes, they may pair that new neon jacket with everything, but you’ll make it out the door on time.

Shoes are no different. Don’t go overboard. If your children are growing at a rapid rate, keep that in mind when parading the shoe aisles with them. They’ll need some gym shoes, some dress shoes and shoes for their extracurriculars. Backups are great, but how long will they be in their current size? For the middle schooler, you may be guaranteed around half a year. It truly depends on the rate your child is growing.

Along with those room, house and supply sweeps, consider a supply swap. There are plenty of parents out there in your exact position. Some you may be close to; others may be in your area. You can even hold a supply swap party. Invite people in your area, or if you are a teacher, consider hosting one for other teachers. Where you may be overloaded on packs of paper and low on pencils, another parent or teacher may need packs of paper for their kiddos. This can also work for those closet cleanouts. Consider adding clothes into your supply swap, or you can always hold a multi-party yard sale at the school or in your driveway.

Time to Buy.

You have made a list. You have checked it twice, and you have made your way around several company’s websites for price comparisons. Now to divide and conquer. Stick with your main shops and supplies first. You can even follow them on social media for sales promotions. You have already done your sweep and swap. What is left on the list?

Walmart’s back-to-school supply aisles are typically located in front of the store. This is often a great place to start or finish. Along with Walmart, the top shops to get school supplies at the best prices are CVS, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, Office Depot and Sam’s Club. Consider Amazon if you want an option of staying in your pjs at home.

Make a game of back-to-school shopping. Go to thrift stores and consignment shops! See who can pair the best outfit together. It is like a game of scavenger hunt. It will get the kids involved. They’ll start filling their closest, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. You’ll be surprised at the gems they find.

Shopping on the Sales Tax Holiday will also help with shopping smarter. You just need to be able to deal with the crowds. Ultimately, it doesn’t save you that much, but it does save you money. There is one important concept to go over when back-to-school shopping. Just say no. When it comes to buying all those back-to-school essentials, it is ok to say no when you know something is not realistic and an additional buy. Your child doesn’t need those $150 sneakers on top of everything else. If they say they can’t live without it, make them work for it. It will give them a better understanding when it comes to the value of a dollar. If they choose not to, it wasn’t that important to them in the first place.

If buying everything on their list poses to much of a hassle, only buy what they need for the first day of school and knock out the rest of their lists while they are at school. It is hard to think straight when back-to-school shopping because your kids are whining about doing it in the first place. When you are making progress is when those overly expensive items catch their eye.

It All Varies.

It is important to remember that every year of back-to-school shopping is going to be different. College students are going to have a much more in-depth back-to-school list. It will be less about pencils and pens and more about living essentials. However, the approach is still the same.

Break down what it is they’ll need and go through and compare prices. Take advantage of those graduation parties. Request items for the dorm as gifts or put the money they received into a dorm fund. They get to choose what they want, and they will also get a better understanding of how much everything costs before going off to school.

Fact is fact. Finishing those back-to-school checklists is expensive. It all varies, but the overall cost is relevant to any age and any school. Part of back-to-school shopping is back-to-school preparations. Prepare for the first day with everything you need. That is not limited to what is in your child’s backpack or classroom.

Part of a successful school year is a successful introduction to the school and teacher. Surprise those teachers on the first day of school. Make a good first impression with a back-to-school gift. Teachers are nervous, too and often feel overwhelmed at the chaos of it all. Due to the lack of funding in schools, parents are asked to contribute more and more school supplies, but parents, you aren't alone. On average, teachers are spending $500 a year on supplies. Many spend closer to $1000 of their own money on those supplies, food and day-to-day necessities for their students. Teachers are sacrificing much of what they earn to ensure their students are successful, fed and happy, just like you do. Why not let us help make a special thank you gift to kick off the school year right?

All the pencils are packed, and all the clothes are folded. Remember, this wasn’t an easy process for your kids, either. Make their smiles shine a little brighter and give them the confidence they need to take on their first day back to school. Our flower arrangements can be delivered straight to them with a card you can personalize to say what they need to hear. You got through the chaos together, and their smile is well-worth all the sacrifices you make for them daily.

Consider letting our florists at [Wild Strawberry & More] in [Mason, MI] help create that perfect gift to encourage your child on their first day back to school. Let them know they are thought of and appreciated. What better way is there to finish your back-to-school checklist than by leaving your child feeling loved?

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