Gather your backpacks, 3-ring binders, and a giant cup of coffee. The school year is upon us yet again.
While it is nice to get the kids back into routine and out of your hair for a few extra hours, shifting gears from summer to school can be very stressful. But, when you can get beyond all the hub-bub, this time of year is a great opportunity to start fresh and set new routines. We’ve come up with a few goals to stick to that will revolutionize and resolution-ize the school year, helping you and your kids make the most of it.
I will…make budgeting a priority.
According to CNBC, families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average of $696.70 on school supplies per child. Keeping that number as low as possible will really help you and your children in the long run. Take a close look at what their school’s supplies list is and see what can be reused or repurposed from last year. Then, take the time to research back-to-school sales and compare prices. Stores may even price match on higher-ticket items like calculators and laptops.
Finally, use the annual shopping trip as an opportunity to teach your kids about budgeting. Give them their own list and see how well they check prices. While it may be tempting to spend a pretty penny on a pretty pencil case, having a strong sense of financial literacy is a much better investment.
I will….communicate better with the teacher.
This one’s a biggie. Staying in contact with your child’s teacher is incredibly important, and not just when someone gets a bad grade on their math quiz. Sure, your little angel might always be perfect in your eyes, but teachers are specially trained to look out for things you may not notice at home, like learning troubles or social skills. Remember they are on your team and want your child to succeed just as much as you do.
Every now and then, send over a quick check-in email or set up time after class to chat. And remember to be patient. Odds are, you’re not the only parent who wants to talk.
I will…hand out more responsibility.
It’s time to invoke your inner Oprah and say, “You get a chore, you get a chore and you get a chore!”
Giving children responsibility as they grow up encourages independence and builds character. It also establishes an important role for them in the home. Not to mention having a little extra help will do wonders for your stress.
Designate a chore or household task to each child, like taking out the trash or emptying a clean dishwasher. And remember to reward them for a job well done, or perhaps even set an allowance if the chore is routine. This will introduce them to the value of work and managing their own money.
I will…encourage physical activity.
This probably isn’t the first or last time you’ll hear about screen addiction. When our attention is captured by all the crazy, wonderful things in the digital world, we often forget to get up and enjoy the amazing one we live in. And it can take a toll, for kids and adults alike.
Physical activity wakes up the body and mind, helping reduce stress and boost brain activity. After-school sports teams and clubs are also a great way to build social skills, and introduce your kids to a little healthy competition. Outside of school, physical activity can be as simple as taking a walk to the park, playing in the backyard, or biking around town.
I will…make time for myself.
In the flurry of school and work, self-care often gets left on the back burner. But setting aside a little time to feel pampered and relaxed is super important for your mental state. Try some low-cost activities like hosting a movie night with friends, taking a bubble bath, or cooking your favorite meal.
If you’re in a relationship, parenting can easily get in the way of quality time. Set aside a monthly date night for just the two of you, which can be as simple as snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie after the kids have gone to bed.
As we head back into the chaos of homework, packed lunches and science projects, sticking to your resolutions may seem challenging, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Just remember why you started and what you hope to accomplish. It will help take your mind off the hoopla and focus more on the journey of seeing your kids grow up.