Getting Ready to Send Your Kids Back to School

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Although it seems that summer has just begun, it won’t be long before the kids will be preparing to go back to school and parents will be preparing to supply them with everything they need to be comfortable, successful and happy students.  Depending on the age of your children, you may be looking at crayons and safety scissors or name brand jeans and mathematical calculators.  You may also be wondering what you need to do to ensure your children are healthy this school year and what activities you might want to introduce to their schedules this year.  Here are some tips on making this school year the best yet!

Chiropractic

The weeks before school starts is a great time to get your kids in to the chiropractor to check for spinal misalignments, be screened for scoliosis and also have their backpack properly fitted.  “Many times, backpacks are slung over one shoulder, are overloaded with books and sag lower than a child’s waist,” says Dr. Corey Dousharm with Lincoln Family Chiropractic.  “These factors are large contributors to the growing number of scoliosis cases seen regularly.  Prevent spinal damage by following some safety tips and by receiving regular spinal adjustments from your chiropractor.  This ensures that proper nerve flow is able to occur throughout the body, keeping you and your family happy and healthy!”

Backpack safety tips include: limiting the load (carrying no more than 15% of body weight on your back); distributing the weight evenly (wear shoulder straps over both shoulders or use waist belts to shift work to your trunk and hip); absorb the force of the weight (look for features like wide, padded shoulder straps and air-filled cushions); keep the load close—the further a load is away from your back, the more your back muscles have to work; position your pack between your shoulders and hips and never let it hang more than four inches below your waist; pack it to minimize weight load using multiple compartments and look for well-designed models that ensure the backpack provides a good fit and that it is comfortable to wear.

Dental Check-ups

Even if your child is not ready for school yet, the beginning of the school year is a great reminder to take your child or children for their yearly dental check up.  According to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the first visit to the dentist should be when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age.  The American Academy of Pediatrics used to recommend that the first visit to the dentist be at three years of age.  Now, because so many children have cavities by the time they start kindergarten, the AAP states that high risk children should see a dentist six months after their first tooth erupts or before they are twelve months old.

In addition to looking for and preventing problems, an early visit to the dentist can help educate you about your child’s oral health and proper hygiene. If your child is not high risk, your pediatrician should begin oral health evaluations by six months of age. So when should the first visit be? If your child doesn’t have any risk factors for developing cavities, such as sleeping with a cup or bottle or walking around all day with a cup of juice, and if his teeth seem to be developing normally, then you can probably wait until your child is older and just ask your pediatrician to check his teeth at each well child visit.

Back to School Shopping

Depending on the age of your children, back to school clothes shopping may either be an afterthought (or something you have to do for them) or a major part of the back to school process.  If you have a teenage daughter, it’s probably at the very top of your list!  Shopping at local boutiques is not only a great way to support the local economy, but also a good way to get excellent customer service (often the person helping you at a local boutique is an owner) and ensure that your daughter won’t be wearing the exact same outfits as all of her friends as most local boutiques only get a limited number of each item.  Of course, this is also a great time for YOU to do some shopping as well!

Wondering what’s ‘in’ for fall?  Kelly Merklein with Blu Velvet says, “We are getting tops, sweaters and even some coats already!  The denim for fall has arrived and we will be getting shipments every week from now through November.  I think the Bohemian looking sweaters are very strong this year with details like fur and colorful accents on pockets and sleeves.  Vests are very big this fall in sweaters and chunky sweaters and fun shaped cardigans and shrugs will be what everyone is looking for.  Faux fur is making a big impact this season in sweaters especially.  Dresses were very strong this summer and are going to carry over into fall, with girly, frilly styles paired with western-looking boots a new trend.  Boots with dresses and leggings and jeggings will be very popular, even more than last year.  Another shoe trend is ballet flats with embellishments and then, on the other end of the spectrum, platform pumps.  Color blocking in shoes is very popular with colors like deep plum and gray being strong.”

For students returning to school, Kelley suggests buying a few pairs of jeans (including a skinny and boot cut) and pair them with flats in the fall and boots when it gets cold.  She also suggests adding a fun shrug or sweater coat to your tops and layering the items you already have in your closet.  “A new sweater, shrug or cardigan can make tops and dresses look fashion forward!”

“Bold statement accessories will be huge in the fall such as printed scarfs and big or long dangling earrings,” adds Lindsey Bellows with beyourself boutique.  “Necklaces have been getting longer and chunkier which makes a bold statement, as well as layering big cuff bracelets and bangles.  The bohemian style will be big in the fall for accessories as well.  You will see a lot of fringe and suede details along with great prints.”

A great way to save some money on back to school shopping is by shopping at used clothing stores.  “We have a huge selection of Husker t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets and coats at a fraction of the cost that you would find them anywhere else,” explains Jane Powell of A Cause for Paws.  “These are perfect for kids going back to college.  We also have many household items for those college kids who are moving into the dorms or into their first apartment.”

She goes on to say, “For both college age and younger kids, we have a great selection of name brand clothes including t-shirts, jackets, skirts, jeans, shoes and purses.  Jeans, especially, can cost $100 or more these days and we have the same name brands that have been donated and in perfect condition anywhere from $15 to $30.  We can help parents and college students on a budget get more for their money as well as help them put outfits and accessories together.”

Planning Activities

“Parents are often looking for what’s best for their child as they go back to school,” says Jeff Dousharm with Tiger Rock Academy. “Generally these parents are divided into two camps:  1) the let’s wait on everything until our kids get “settled” in school, and the  2) we need to get moving so we can get enrolled in any/all activities to get our kids involved.  Waiting until a child gets settled sounds good in theory, but in practice it is often these activities which help establish the routine and the normalcy, and so waiting simply sets up another pattern to interrupt their weekly schedule.  We highly recommend that kids get involved by the time they start school or better yet—before they start school.  Parents have a number of activities to choose from.  The key is then to evaluate what they really get out of each one.  If they are just looking for something to take up time, then nearly any activity will do, but there are definitely some that have more return on investment.  Tiger Rock Academy offers programs for kids that are not only fun, but deliver real benefits that help them improve at school and at home.  These lessons include improved focus, listening skills, improved social initiative, skills to deal with bullies, healthy lifestyles, reduced fear of failure, and more.  University studies have proven the effects of Tiger Rock Academy’s curriculum and national program.  Best of all, their schedules are flexible to accommodate other activities.  Students can train Monday-Saturday at Tiger Rock Academy and it’s recommended to train two times a week.  This leaves plenty of time for other obligations but ensures that they get the skills they need to do better at school.”

Music lessons are also a wonderful activity for kids during the school year.  “Music lessons are a fundamental part of the musical development in a child,” explains Nissa with Nissa’s String Studio.  “The knowledge received through the public system is simply not enough.  Lessons, as opposed to classes, offer personalized, one-on-one instruction where the teacher is fully focused on the student.  Most of the lessons we offer take place after school hours and late into the evening as well as weekends, so they fit perfectly with school schedules.  We also have mornings available for adult students and young children who have not been enrolled yet in school.”

“Music training develops children’s intelligence in areas like exact science, memory and language,” Nissa continues.  “It is also an excellent tool to develop important aspects in life such as discipline, responsibility, creativity and accomplishment.”

Nissa concludes, “Don’t overwhelm children with lessons and activities to the point that they don’t have time to be kids.  A healthy balance of after-school activities, homework and leisure time is encouraged.  Also, don’t try to impose an activity on a child for which he or she shows no interest.”

Transportation

Depending on the age of your children, you might find that transportation is an issue.  Do they take the bus?  Do you need to drop them off before work?  Can they ride with a friend?  Buying a bike for your child might actually be the best solution to the transportation dilemma.  When you take into consideration the cost of gas and the amount of time it takes to drop your child off and pick him or her up each day, you’ll probably find that investing in a bike is a very good use of money.  It also gives your child much-needed exercise, which is especially important if your child tends to spend more time on the computer than outside playing with his friends.  If this turns out to be a good option for your family, make sure you invest a good quality bike and get it from a shop that can really educate you on the different choices and help you choose the best one for your child.

Insurance

If your child is older and will be going to college, it’s very important to meet with your insurance agent to talk about renters insurance.  Whether they are living in a dorm, an apartment or a house, it’s likely their belongings are not covered and that they could lose pricey computers, stereos or other possessions should there be a break-in, flood or fire.  It’s quick and easy to broach this subject with your agent, costs very little, and could end up saving you and your child thousands.

There are a number of issues that parents need to think about when fall rolls around.  Make sure to start planning early, work with the proper professionals and have everything prepared before your child walks in the doors on their first day back to school.