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Top tips for back-to-school season

Max Yorke is excited to be starting “big school” this September at KCA in Kentville.
Max Yorke is excited to be starting “big school” this September at KCA in Kentville. - Contributed

KENTVILLE, N.S. - It’s hard to believe how quickly the summer has flown by and now it’s time to get ready to head back to school. Here are a few tips to think about to make it a bit easier, regardless of how old your children are.

Sort out back-to-school clothes early.

Nicole Veinotte, Port Williams, says during the last two weeks of summer, she gets her children to start trying on clothes that they haven’t worn since school.  She then gets rid of whatever they won’t wear or doesn’t fit, before school starts, thus giving her an accurate picture of what they have before she takes them out shopping. 

“It is easy to get caught up in the back to school sales but when you already have items that still work at home, it is a waste of money,” she says.

Cathy Drennan, of Cambridge, says you can start even earlier getting clothes ready and saving more money.

She advises people to get their gas at Fast Fuel in Coldbrook, where you save your 3.5 centre per litre cashback receipts. Then, bring them into Sobeys and buy gift cards for any store you wish.

“I have $125 in Winners gift cards since Jan. 1 that I will use for back-to-school clothes and maybe even Christmas presents too,” says Drennan.

Practice routines.

If it is your child’s first time to go to school, you might want to practice. A few days before the first day of school, get up early and go to the bus stop with your child wearing a backpack. This will help you know how long it will take to get ready and out the door.

Even if it’s not your child’s first time going to school, Breanna MacIntosh, of Port Williams, says to start the back-to-school bedtime and wake up routine weeks before school starts.

“Getting back into school morning routine is hard enough,” says Veinotte. “If they are overtired and cranky it is worse.”

Veinotte also plays happy music in the morning to start the day off on the right foot.  Nobody has to talk right away, she says, but they may swing their arms or start moving to the music a little and that all helps

Label your children’s items.

Many families use Mabel Labels to put stickers on everything the child owns. This makes digging through the lost and found piles at school so much easier and increases the likelihood of the item being returned home.

Shop Early for Supplies

Erika Sheen, of Kentville, says although she doesn’t always follow her own advice, she suggests not leaving school supply shopping until the last minute.

“Because if you do” she says, “when you go to get everything on their list, it’s either all picked over and not a lot of selection left or sometimes the item is completely sold out.”

Plan School Lunches.

Veinotte says to ask the kids to come up with healthy snacks and lunch items they would like to have in their lunches and suggests maybe even grocery shopping together with a list made by them. This may increase the chances of them actually eating it.

Each September, Drennan gathers with friends for a back-to-school cookie exchange. Instead of exchanging cookies at Christmas, they all make items for school lunches.

All you have to do, she says, is make one kind of sweet like cookies, squares, muffins, etc., and you get back same amount you made but in all different varieties from all the cookie exchange guests.

“So, if you bring six dozen muffins, you would bring back six dozen of sweets but all different kinds. This saves you from baking a zillion different things,” says Drennan.

Celebrate with other parents.

Every year on the first day of school, many parents gather with friends to celebrate the first day of school, or “the yellow bus of joy” as one mother calls the school bus.

Celebrate surviving another summer, or as Gillian Yorke, of Kentville, whose son Max will be starting school for the first time this September says, “celebrate new milestones.”

However you celebrate, take lots of pictures. These school days will be over in a blink of an eye.

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