Hassle-free back to school season for parents and children


So the eight weeks of summer holiday just flew by… so fast. Yes, it is that time again to run around, shopping, clearing the old school bags, checking on which clothes no longer fit, shoes, new lunch boxes etc. The list grows longer and more complex as they grow older.

Parents look edgy and stressed in all malls and bookstores I have been visiting. Complains and glaring stares are exchanged between the children and parents. I can’t help but smile and sympathize at the same time. But I believe it should not be that way. Here is my take on this hullaballoo.

  1. Plan for school shopping way in advance: Each parent has a diary or an events calendar. This should be done at least one month before the opening date. Add the event to your child’s calendar as well so that he/she is aware of the event. The children usually have a list of items required for the next school year. Set an agreeable date for parent-child planning, where both can go through the back-to-school list and strike out what they have and highlight what is needed. Keep the updated list in an easily accessible place. I like pinning it on my school board.

  2. Budget: Go through the costing involved in the shopping with your child to avoid unnecessary purchases during the actual shopping day. Explain the importance of budgeting to the family as a whole. Expound on the importance of saving and give benefits such as saving for an upcoming holiday to Mexico or to Africa.

  3. Reuse, recycle redirect: If there were any writing materials left-overs from the previous year, they can be re-used, such as ruled/lined paper, graph papers, crayons, markers, paper clips, etc. Some folders can also be re-used. This saves quite some amount of money in the long run. Donate to the schools or book centres books that you no longer need. They will help another child in need.

  4. Cross-check the items bought: Ensure that your child has everything they need for the school year by- going through the list you both developed, together. This helps avoid last minute rush back to the store, only to find that the sale is over or the item is no longer in stock/sold out.

  5. Packing and organising their ‘stuff’: Teach your children how to organise their own school stuff in the designated section of the house. They need to learn and to take pleasure in having everything in order. Give them a pat-on-the-back’ for work well done and rooms well maintained.

  6. The talk: Inevitably, this is the most important part of the season. The talk. This is not what the teens are thinking about. This is about re-focusing your child to the coming school year. Discuss what is to be expected, the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright wrong. Share with them the ideal ways to conduct oneself in each scenario. Set mutual goals and really clarify your expectations as a parent. Allow the child to also give you his/her feedback. THIS SHOULD NEVER BE A MONOLOGUE. Together, write down the goals and expectations you have developed and on put them up on the vision board/School board. Put them in a strategic place where they can be seen easily. They should be a beacon of motivation for the coming year.

  7. Set Review time: I highly recommend setting goal review sessions before the end of semesters or school term. This helps the child to refocus and improve before examinations catch up. revising past papers/tests is one way of reviewing.

Finally, never forget to refill the motivation jar(Every parent should have one) with positive vibes that will see them through each day. Pray together for the new year. Bless your children and believe in them.

These are just a few of the techniques that have worked for me. What do you do differently as a parent? I would love to know. Please join the discussion below or leave me a message on Guruhellen.com. You can also follow me on Twitter by clicking the link below.

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