Parents want their children to be ready for the first day back at school – but are we overdoing it? As far as school supplies go, it’s wise to wait on some things, notes Sandra Martin of Today’s Parent.
“I think the feeling is that you have to be completely prepared,” Martin tells CityLine.ca. “That’s really not necessary. You can end up overspending because you bought too much of one thing and not the things your child actually needs.”
The parenting expert recommends buying the basics that they’ll need for the first day – a backpack, lunch bag, perhaps a new pair of shoes if they need them. You’ll get an idea of the more specific items needed after they’ve been back a few days.
“What I would recommend is waiting until the end of the first week of school. Often teachers will send home a list of what your child will need. Some schools are ahead of the ball and they’ll actually post online a list of what kids need. But most aren’t there yet,” she says. “So by the end of the first week you’ll have a good idea whether you need 24 coloured pencils, what kind of other supplies are necessary, what projects are coming up.”
Another factor is what grade your child is going into. And keep in mind that gone are the days when schools provide notebooks, pencils, and markers.
“My older daughter is going into Grade 3 and when she started Grade 1 I was really surprised by how many things we had to supply,” Martin recalls. “It’s no longer all supplied by the school. That’ll vary from board to board, but most parents are telling us at the magazine that they’re responsible for a lot of the school supplies.”
“You’re probably not going to get the best deals out there if you load up on everything right away,” Martin says. “If you have multiple kids you can also go to a warehouse [store] and pick up the big multi-packs of pens, pencils and markers and all the stuff they need.”
Back-to-school shopping can help get your kids in the right frame of mind for what’s to come in September, Martin remarks.
“It is important to get kids excited for school by involving them in the process,” she says. “But you don’t have to do it in a way that’s onerous to you in terms of time commitment or that’s going to cost you a lot of money, all at once.”