Preparing a child for the first day of school – especially for the first day of Kindergarten (gasp!) can be trying. Especially when you realize that you are not only now in the market for #2 pencils, primary lined paper, a 24 pack of Crayola crayons, and the coolest backpack/lunch box combo money can buy, but also enough jeans, t-shirts, and school-appropriate sneakers to make it through at least the first quarter! Not to mention those wonderful little nuances that make back-to-school shopping truly horrendous – your 5 year old has her own sense of style and has now decided she only (and I mean ONLY) wants electric blue colored clothing. So, here is an idea of how to tackle those back-to-school-for-the-first-time shopping trips:
Assess what you’ve got. Check out her closet and move any clothes that are in decent shape and “school appropriate” (this means those hand-me-down tees with handprint stains are probably out) to a section of the closet set aside from the non-school clothes. Do a check of the drawers too – are underpants, socks, undershirts, etc. in good shape? Figure how often you want to be running the washing machine this Fall (and between soccer practice and games and cheerleading try-outs how much time will you have?) and take a quick count of how many of these essentials you will need to purchase.
Look to what you absolutely need. So you know that your daughter wants is to wear dresses and skirts as often as humanly possible (and let’s face it, she has about eight in the closet that will work just fine even if they aren’t blue) so how is this going to work in Kindergarten where she will be romping around in gym, sitting criss-cross-applesauce for story time, and at times pretending to be a frog or other animal? Before summer is completely over, hit the sales and clearance racks for some shorts and leggings that will fit perfectly under those dresses! You won’t need many 2-5 pairs since she can most likely wear them multiple times with multiple dresses or skirts. Also what about sneakers for gym class or recess?
Keep the kid involved. Remember, she is finding her own style as these years pass by, so find out what she would like to have (no guarantees though, you don’t want to break the bank on her must-have fabulously hip $100 sweater!) and make a new list of just these items or ideas (like “dresses” or “blue clothes” or “more jeans with sparkles”). You could also give her a catalog from a store like Target and have her circle her ideas on outfits and backpacks/lunch boxes so that you can get a better sense of what she would like.
Look ahead. Remember those winter months creep up fast so if she is going to need a jacket or winter coat, get out the feelers now to get a good price. Check consignment stores – some even have coats with tags still on! – and department stores since they usually pull things out first for the season.
Buy double. It sounds a bit ridiculous, but buy at least two of every supply your child needs. This way she will have one box of supplies at home for homework or special sessions you may need to work on her with and one box to take to school. Right now the prices are super low, so you can get all of the random supplies that your school supplies list requires for very little cost so twice as much could still be within your budget!
Shop, Shop, Shop. Plan a day and have some fun. Maybe Grandma would like to come out for a Girls Day and remember the days of taking her daughter out school shopping. Either way, plan out your trek, keep your lists handy, and take your Big Girl out for some girl time.