It's hard to believe that summer is almost over and it is time for kids to head back to school. For many of our clients, this means either getting kids ready to return to grade school, or perhaps even sending them off (or back) to college. While the relatively relaxing days of summer are winding down, and the stress of homework is quickly approaching, here are a few quick thoughts on how to help manage the transition for you and your family:
- Take a tour of the school- this can be especially helpful if your child is going to be in a new building, heading off to kindergarten for the first time, or starting their freshmen year of undergrad. Allowing them to become more acclimated to their new surroundings should help reduce any stress they feel as the school year starts. Touring the school can even be combined with meeting their teacher, helping to put "names and faces" together, and so you get an opportunity to see who will be teaching your child as well
- Take a shopping trip together to get all the right supplies- this applies to both older kids and younger kids, as having a good laptop/tablet for college (or high school) or having the perfect notebooks and favorite color of pens, can help kids feel more prepared.
- Connect with friends from last year. If your kids are returning to the same school as last year, and they have some classmates they already know, taking the time to schedule an opportunity for kids to play together and "catch up" on their summer vacations can help younger kids especially feel excited about returning to class.
- Encourage older kids and help younger kids switch from a "summer routine" into a "school routine" of either going to bed or waking up, a little earlier (or a combination of both might be needed!) a week before school actually starts. This can help them realize what they need to do in the morning in order to get on the bus, in the car, or to class on time.
Finally, if your kids have not quite reached college yet, now is a good time to consider opening up a 529 college savings account to help save for their future higher education expenses. Even putting a little away now and allowing for more time for the potential for your savings to grow, can go a long way to helping pay for college or vocational school in the future. Having a game plan on how to approach your back to school preparations can go a long way towards helping reduce stress for both you and your kids and help to move life forward for you and your family.