School savvy moms share back-to-school tips
Real moms share their tips and tricks to make back-to-school time a whole lot easier.
Get them back on track
Kids can slide backward, losing several months of knowledge over the summer. Try to avoid the summer slide by offering plenty of educational toys, taking part in cultural events and activities, and encouraging summer reading. If your kids have slipped a little bit, it's not too late to get them back on track.
"Though I let my kids have plenty of fun in the summer, about a month before school starts, we start to get serious," says Veronica Garcia, Texas mom of three boys. "We eliminate screen time during the week to a 30-minutes-a-day maximum and we require daily reading for everyone — that includes mom, dad and the kids."
Take advantage of tax-free shopping
If your state offers a tax-free holiday, it's a great way to save a little extra on your back-to-school shopping.
"Tax-free weekend is awesome," says Florida mom Caryn McMichael. "But don't let it suck you into buying things that you don't need. Make a list of school supplies and clothes that are must-haves and stick to it."
The rules and limits for tax-free shopping vary, so be sure to check the details from your state's Department of Revenue or other authority.
Start the back-to-school routine early
If you let your kids slack off a little in the summertime, it's important to try to get them back into their routine a few weeks before school starts.
"I admit, I let my boys stay up a lot later in the summertime," says Crystal Davis, Dallas mom of 13-year-old twins. "We don't really set a bedtime in the summer, and last year, I really paid for it at the start of the school year. It was almost impossible to get them out of bed. This year, we are starting a few weeks before the school year begins — set bedtime and wake up time, healthier breakfasts... the whole works."
Don't wait until the last minute for their physical
Doctors offices are booked up with parents trying to get physicals, immunizations, flu shots and wellness visits for their kids before the school year begins. Plan early and book your kids' appointments well in advance.
"I have a kid in preschool and one leaving for college, and they both need their physicals," says Marcella Montez, San Antonio mom of two. "We scheduled their appointment two months in advance in order to beat the last-minute rush."
Spend a little extra on a good backpack
Backpacks are a great way for kids to carry their books and supplies. However the wrong backpack can cause back and shoulder pain as well as other issues.
"Invest in a good backpack," says Texas mom and nurse Sylvia Duran. "Look for a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a waist strap to carry load more evenly. You'd be surprised the aches and pains that can be caused by an overloaded backpack or one that isn't worn properly."
Kids should always use both shoulder straps, pack heavier items closest to the center of the back and never over-pack their backpack. Check out more tips on backpack safety.
Let them pick a lunchbox
Many moms are encouraging their kids to eat more healthfully by packing their lunch. Packing lunch isn't just more nutritious, it can also save money.
"My kids were very against switching from cafeteria lunch to a packed lunch," says Monica Montana, Chicago mother of four. "Last year, I let them pick out their own lunchboxes and it made a world of difference. Carrying a lunchbox they love made them much more likely to eat what's inside."