Back-to-School Shopping Made Easy

© Chef LalaHave kids starting school for the first time, changing schools, going to summer school, summer camp, or back to school in the fall? Some parents find it to be a stressful time because there is so much shopping to do which takes a lot of time and money to accomplish, but rest assured there are a few things you can do to make it fun instead of fatiguing.

First, make a list of everything you need for each child, keeping in mind any instructions you may have received from the school or camp for things like jackets, sunscreen, supplies, snacks etc.

Next, think about some of the items on your list that you can hand down from one child to the next, even from one family to another. Many kids like clothing and other items older friends and family have used which will also help you save money on items you don’t really need to purchase and you can help others by giving away or donating items your kids no longer need.

Now it’s time to get out and shop! Whether shopping at your local resale store, your favorite chain or boutique, make shopping fun for your kids and you by involving them in the process of choosing the items they will use. This will make them excited about going to school or camp with them and help them learn to make decisions, an important life skill. Be sure to give them a budget up front so everyone stays on target and there are no melt-downs in the store. Don’t expect to finish everything in one shopping trip if you have a big list.

Once you have all the items you need, don’t forget to purchase some fun, wholesome snacks they are able to take with them and replace worn lunch totes and ice packs to keep food fresh on the go. Be sure to keep some snacks waiting at home too that will keep them satisfied but not ruin dinner. If you have a busy schedule and are worried about your kids snacking on candy and cookies, most supermarkets have pre-packed fruits, veggies, yogurt, cheese sticks and whole grain snacks ready to go. Keep lots of bottled water, sports drinks and juice boxes handy to keep the kids out of the sodas and remember that if you have healthy snacks your kids will eat them. Be sure to keep bananas, apples, granola bars and similar items for kids who like to eat on the run or have a tendency to skip meals.

Finally, take a deep breath and enjoy!