Editors note: Though the opinions and information in this post are those of a qualified professional, the post is not intended to substitute/replace direct consultation with a qualified advisor or industry professional about your unique scenario.
Back to school time can be an exciting, nervous, or even stressful time for parents and children. We’ve teamed up with local experts to put together this guide in hopes of making the transition easier on everyone. From cost-saving tips, meal & snack ideas, over-coming nervousness and jitters, to establishing a healthy routine, and some helpful resources at the end, we hope there is something for everyone!
BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING
Cost-Saving Back to School Shopping Tips from Lindsay Plumb – Founder, CEO, and Chief Financial Coach-Ess (With The Most-Ess) at MOOLA Financial Coaches and Advisors
Back to school…aka cha-ching, right? The clothes, the school supplies, the backpack, the lunch kit, the swimming lessons, the dance classes, the scouts registration, the PAC fundraisers, the…….
We all know that the back to school season is an expensive one so let’s look at the best tips we’ve found to save you money!
- Take inventory. What supplies you already have in your house? Grab a pen and paper and write it all down. Reuse every last piece you can. If things don’t match or follow the supply list perfectly, it’s okay. This is one of those small things that will have a big impact on your kids. Buying everything brand new teaches them that what we already have isn’t good enough. Do them the favor and teach them the value of a hard-earned dollar instead.
- Buy used. Check out UsedVictoria.com, VarageSale, Facebook buy and sells groups, consignment stores, the Victoria Kid’s Consignment Sale (Oct 14th), and friend’s closets before buying new. If that seems odd or tacky, I dare you to try it! You work hard for your money, make it stretch!
- Shop for quality and guarantees. Kids are hard on their stuff, so look for brands that will stand behind their workmanship. It might cost a bit more in the beginning, but it’s worth it. Brands like MEC, Tupperware, Bogs, Walmart, Sears, and other’s follow this philosophy
- Sell their stuff. If you find clothes or supplies that are no longer suitable when you do your inventory (Item 1 above), then sell them! Use sites like UsedVictoria.com, VarageSale, Facebook buy and sell groups, etc to recoup some of that money that you spent in past years.
- Use your credit card. I know, weird advice from a financial coach. This one comes with the agreement that you only take action when (a) you can afford the purchase and have the cash on hand to cover the cost and (b) you pay your credit card bill before the due date so you don’t pay any interest charges on what you buy. The reason this is on the list is for the following reasons: (1) the manufacturer’s guarantee is doubled and (2) you can claim for loss and theft within 90 days. Make sure you check your card details before making your first swipe, each account will have different rules and coverage. And be sure to keep your receipt(s) if you ever want to make a claim!
- Budget. The expenses don’t stop here so make sure you plan for the upcoming ones like field trips, fundraisers, replacement items, etc.
- Ask the grandparents. Aren’t your kids the sparkle in your parent’s eye? Grandparents are often more than happy to help with costs of raising your amazing kids if they can afford to. Suggest they cover the cost of an extracurricular class or outfit and they are likely to smile!
- Don’t neglect what’s important. I know you want to give your kids everything, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your family’s future. Things like a will, insurance, retirement savings, RESPs, etc need to be factored in when choosing this season’s budget.
- Know this..buying that new backpack will not satiate your child’s desire for a new backpack. Kid’s are impulsive and they have little context to their thoughts, They are not the one’s leading your family or grooming them towards a future of respect for belongings and money. These life lessons will be the ones that they thank you for later!
Have fun Moms!
If you have specific questions about this or other money topics, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More info at www.yourmoola.ca, our Moola Financial FB page, or join our FB group Black is the New Red.
Disclaimer: Content is intended to be for informational purposes only and does not constitute any financial, legal, tax, investment or other advice. Please seek independent professional advice before implementing strategies mentioned in the Victoria Mom’s Blog. Moola Financial Coaches & Advisors Inc. and any of their related entities, subsidiaries, predecessors, successors, assigns, officers, directors, employees, insurers and agents and each of their respective predecessors, successors, heirs, executors and administrators are not liable for any errors or omissions in this blog or for any loss or damages suffered.
TRANSITIONING FROM SUMMER TO SCHOOL DAYS
Establishing a Back to School Sleep Routine – From Sleep Training Expert Donna at Healthy Baby Sleep Consulting
- Get back on schedule
If your child’s bedtime has been later during the summer months, I recommend taking 2 weeks before school starts to transition your child’s bedtime and morning wakeup time. Start by working back 15-30 each day towards your child’s optimal bedtime and optimal morning wakeup time. This will give your child time to shift his internal clock prior to the start of school. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 3-5 years need 10-13 hours of sleep (nap included) and 6-12 year olds need 9-11 hours of sleep.
Get back to routineIt is easy for routines to fall to the wayside during the carefree days of summer. Start to implement a consistent and predictable bedtime routine again. A recommended routine would be bath, pj’s, storytime, hug and kiss goodnight and to sleep.
Limit all screen time before bedtimeThe stimulation and bright light from screens (TV, DVD, tablets, video games) can impact a child’s ability to get to sleep. Do limit screen time at least 1 hour prior to bedtime (and this goes for moms and dads too!). Opt for reading books or quiet activities before bedtime.
Ensure your child’s bedroom is set up for healthy sleepEnsure your child’s bedroom has blackout curtains or blinds to to prevent early rising with the early morning sun and to block out the later afternoon / early evening sun at bedtime. Ensure your child bedroom is free of distractions like toys, TV’s, video games or computers.
Be a role modelHealthy sleep for children begins with parents who value healthy sleep for themselves. Be a role model and ensure you maintain a regular bedtime and achieve those 7-8 hours of sleep for yourself too!
I am super passionate about helping children (and moms and dads!) achieve the healthy sleep they deserve. If you have any questions about your little one’s sleep please contact me for a complimentary 15 minute consultation. www.healthybabysleepconsulting.com
MEAL & SNACK IDEAS
Nutritious On-The-Go and Delicious Meal and Snack Ideas – From a Mom and Foodie Enthusiast Benny Martin, Senior Leader & Consultant at Epicure
- Egg cups – sauté veggies, mix whisked eggs and bake in silicone muffin tray for 20 minutes at 375 degrees (make a big batch and eat all week).
- Protein Waffles – make a double batch of your favourite homemade protein waffle or pancake recipe on the weekend and freeze the rest to toast during the week.
- Smoothies – add yogourt or a good protein powder, fruit and water, blend and have a fast on the go breakfast with a piece of toast with seed or nut butter
- Overnight Summer Berry Oats
- Meatballs and marinara dipping sauce – Make extra meatballs for dinner and put with a marinara sauce to dunk
- Rice cake with seed butter, topped with banana
- Mac and cheese bites – make homemade mac and cheese, bake in a silicone muffin tin to have bites for lunches
- Chicken Caesar Bites
- Roasted Chickpeas – drain chickpeas, season with spices and olive oil and bake until crispy for a high protein snack
- Popcorn with seasoning or salt for an easy snack
- White Bean Hummus and Pita/Veggies
- Burrito Bowl – Rice, beans or ground meat with seasoning, avocado, tomato in a bowl with lime
- Veggie noodle Pad Thai – trying using half rice noodles and half carrot and zucchini noodles made by a spiralizer to get more vegetables in your life.
- Crockpot fajitas – chicken, spices, onion and peppers in a crockpot for busy nights
- Asian Lettuce Wraps
NEW SCHOOL YEAR JITTERS
Helping Nervous Kids Head Back to School – From Sarah Bourdon, M.Ed., Registered Clinical Counsellor at Calm Kids Counselling
As a school counsellor, I see many nervous and excited kids at the beginning of the year. It’s a time of massive transition, and kids take time to adjust. As school staff, try as we might, it can be a challenge to convince kids that school is a safe, caring environment. So what can you do as a parent when your child experiences anxiety at the beginning of the school year?
- Talk to your child.
Ask questions about the school day, encourage your child to name his or her emotions, and respond with empathy. Leave lots of room for your child to approach you when feeling distressed or overwhelmed. Be patient if the first few days or weeks are challenging.
- Connect your child with at least one caring adult in the school.
This can be a teacher, youth worker, counsellor, education assistant, or administrator. Pick someone who your child likes and is comfortable approaching. If your child can’t identify someone he or she knows and trusts, foster a new relationship; seek out the school counsellor or a youth worker and help your child get to know that person.
- Find a peer mentor or reconnect your child with a trusted friend.
Safe social connections can be a great way of drawing a child back into the school environment. Ask your school if there is a friendly older student or a familiar classmate who would be willing to help.
- Create a visual schedule.
For younger children especially, it can help to see the shape of the day and know what to expect with regard to routine, transitions, and when he or she will be picked up. Sit down with your child to make this schedule together, either by hand or on a computer. Colour and laminate it so that your child can keep it in his or her backpack and refer to it for reassurance.
- Put daily notes in your child’s backpack or lunch box.
Attachment is key for children who are feeling insecure about going to school. By giving the child a personal note that he or she can look at throughout the day, you maintain connection and remind your child that you care. Write a new note daily so that the child has something new to look forward to at school each day.
5 More Transition Tips to Consider
- Pack lunches the night before. I knooow…the best thing about Friday evenings is not having to pack lunches. But if you stick to it during the week, this will not only save you time in the AM, but you sanity too!
- Start the year out healthy Ensure you stock your cupboards with healthy options to avoid grabbing for junk when running out the door or getting home from school needing a quick fix until supper.
- Let your kids help! Give them some responsibility for helping at night and in the morning in preparation for the school day. Kids tend to love feeling self-sufficient. Start them young to help out so by the time they are “it’s-all-about-me” teenagers, they’ve got the system down pat.
- Talk to the Teachers. As far as children focused jobs go, they really to deserve all the medals…20+ children to 1 AND getting them to stay focused enough to learn lessons…’nuff said. They are there to work with us as parents. I view them as a support source in the upbringing of our kids. So if you have any questions or concerns, from unique learning curve needs your child may have to the school supplies list, initiate a chat with them.
- Make the most of the rest of summer! Check out our Summer Events & Festivals for Families Guide for things to do!
School Supply Lists
- Greater Victoria SD61
- Sooke SD62 (The 2016/2017 school supply lists were still displayed on their website at the time this guide was published. Please double check directly with your school to find out if your 2017/2018 list has changed)
- Saanich SD63 (you can click on each school for their supply lists or supply programs)
Before/After School Childcare
It happens! Here are some tips and info for dealing with it should it happen:
- Lice do not fly, jump or hop; they crawl from head to head.
- Avoid head to head contact – the most likely way to spread lice!
- Teach your children to not share hats, jackets, combs or hair accessories. Studies have shown lice are not as likely to be spread this way, but better to be safe than sorry and further prevent the chance of spreading lice!
- DO A WEEKLY HEAD CHECK – The wet combing method is recommended. Contact your public health unit for complete instructions on the wet combing method.
- For more information on the prevention and treatment of lice, visit HealthLinkBC.