Summer is beginning to wane and fall is approaching fast. If you’re like me, you are looking forward to cooler temperatures, but this time of year also marks the return of a sometimes rigorous task to a parent’s morning routine. But first let us look into how to save some of the burn from those over priced school supplies. This is a hindrances that is easier to overcome than you might fear.
A Penny Saved…
The first step is to abandon your pride. You cannot be ashamed to shop at your local Dollar Tree Store or 99 Cent Center for basic school supplies such as pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, rulers, glue, etc. Take this into consideration: A pack of 10 standard-wooden No. 2 pencils at a local grocery store is $3.29. At the 99 Cent Center, they are 99 cents. And just like that, you have saved more than $2 on pencils alone. A college-ruled notebook at a local supermarket is going to cost around $2, but at the Dollar Tree Store, those notebooks are just $1. Starting to get the picture? It is like those annoying Progressive Automotive commercials with the loud lady yelling “Watch Your Savings Add Up!” More often than not hear, “I’m too good for the Dollar Store.” The way I see it, when you say that, you are saying you are too good to save money in a tight-pinched economy.
As long as you’ve abandoned your pride, a second way to save some money is to not be afraid to take hand-me-down clothing from their children and shop at thrift stores for clothes. This may seem like a cheap thing to do, but most parents quickly realize that kids out grow clothes so fast, that spending upwards of $30 on a single shirt can quickly add up. And why spend that much when something just as good can be found for $5 or $6 at a thrift shop? Most thrift stores have a mandatory policy of cleaning all the clothes before putting them out for sale; your children will never know the difference.
Cutting costs doesn’t mean you are short-changing your child, it means you are being smart. Saving money on supplies means you can spend more money on other things like Nutritious foods, which is often the first aspect of child’s daily routine to feel the pinch of a budget-strapped family.
The Morning Routine
Do phrases like “Come on, your going to miss your bus!” or “Your going to be late for school” run wild in your house? It is the beginning of the school year and you, as the parent, have the power to change the morning so it’s not stressful to something you wont dread every morning. De-stressing your morning routine will even help positively impact you evenings and sleep habits. Here are some practical ways create a stress-free environment in the morning.
• Remember to keep your voice calm, do not yell. Being frustrated only will escalate any matter and most children won’t respond well to a frustrated parent. Additionally, setting the tone for your child’s day will directly impact their ability to learn in school, so start off calm.
• Remember, your body needs sleep. If you and your child need to get up early, then go to bed early.
• Avoid over-cluttering your morning. Stuff like making lunch, taking showers/bathes, phone calls to set-up the carpool for the day, a packed backpack, etc., quickly add up in time. Eliminate as many of these you can the night before.
• In the morning, our brains are not functioning at their fullest, so try to give single instructions. Don’t say “Pack your backpack, brush your teeth, get dressed, and be downstairs ready to go at 7:20 a.m.” because that is too many commands. One instruction at a time will work wonders.
• Stemming from the last tip: Provide instructions once and only once. If you get in the habit of telling your child to do something several times, a child will get in to the habit of waiting to hear a command several times before completing a task. If you have to constantly ask a child to get dressed, to most children it translates to; “Daddy will ask me about 10 more times before he goes bezerk!” Repeated requests only send the message that junior doesn’t really have to do it now.
• Be ready to set consequences and stick to your guns. If say the car is leaving at 7:25 a.m. sharp, make it happen. Clearly you can’t leave your child behind, so leaving them isn’t an option. But humiliation can be a strong weapon at your disposal. Tell your child you will be leaving whether she is ready or not. Sending a child to school in their pajamas, with uncombed hair, and an empty belly can be the catalyst for change.
Remember, you are the parent and you can change the tone for morning routine. You need to be 100 percent committed and actively involved in all the routines of your child.
In the coming weeks, we will be looking at different areas from Shopping to pre- and post-school activities, to make this school year the most smooth-sailing one for your family.
Next week: Choosing an After School Activity fit for you and your child.