The back to school season is one that is both hectic and exciting for parents and kids alike. Getting back into the routine of the school year is a difficult feat, especially as a single mom or dad. As you start shopping for supplies, planning out schedules, and balancing extracurriculars, it’s important to prepare for all that lies ahead. Consider the tips below as your guide to prepping for back-to-school as a single parent.
Utilize Tutoring Programs
For most solo parents, especially with multiple kids, finding the time to help with homework can be challenging. Whether you know your child struggles in a particular subject, or your kids simply don’t get their work done unless you’re breathing down their necks, utilizing a tutor program can be a huge help. This fall, consider looking for after school options for your kids. While they may not need to have a tutor or homework mentor at the beginning of the year, it’s always good to know your options in case their grades start to falter. These programs are often free, and are of huge help to single parents who are always on the go and have little time to help with classwork.
Practice Smart Shopping
It’s no secret that shopping for back-to-school supplies and clothes can add up quickly. Relying on one income as a single mom or dad means that as the school year begins, practicing smart shopping is a must. Be sure to check out upcoming sales and coupon options well in advance of your child’s first day of school, and go through all of the items their teachers require for their classes. When it comes to specific books to buy and even new clothing, consider shopping at a local thrift store to save even more on items you need. You’d be surprised how many curriculum books you can find in consignment shops for less, and you can even find name brand name clothing online with thrifting sites like thredUP. You’ll be able to get your teen’s favorite pricey name brands like Lululemon activewear for half the price by buying used. However you choose to shop, shop smart by making sure you’re never paying more than you have to for your back-to-school must-haves.
Get To Know The Teachers
It’s easy for single parents to feel a bit disconnected when it comes to what’s going on at school, because the fact of the matter is, single parents are doing double the work all on their own. The best way to stay in the know about your child’s schooling is by getting to know their teachers. While parent-teacher conferences night might not be at the top of your list in terms of commitments, making it a priority will not be something you regret. The educators of your children will be spending a significant amount of time with them, so it’s important to make your presence known, and remain on the same page. From asking them questions about the curriculum to making them aware of things when it comes to any learning quirks your child may have, always remember that teachers are your allies when it comes to the education of your kids. Taking the time to get to know them will set the foundation for a great year ahead.
Find Other Single Parents
One of the great things about technology in today’s day in age is that there is almost always a Facebook group to join for everyone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed as a single parent about the school year ahead, try taking the time to find other single parents to link up with. Whether you go supply shopping together to split the cost, or you develop a friendship with another solo parent to share an understanding and experiences with; connecting with others in the same situation as you will be incredibly beneficial. Other single parents are in many ways the best resource you can go to as you prepare yourself and your kids for school.
Start The Routine Early
Getting your kids ready for school in the morning is a time consuming and stressful experience, and as a single parent the process becomes even more difficult. The best way to prepare for the busyness of the upcoming change in your schedule is by starting the routine earlier than the first day of school. Have a week of practice with your kids before the year begins of setting their alarm clocks, preparing breakfast along with a to-go lunch, and organizing outfits the night before. This will help your household ease into the routine, and help you feel more prepared as a solo parent.
Try Meal Prepping
One of the most challenging aspects of single parenting is staying on top of preparing meals for the whole family. As you get ready for the school season, try practicing meal prep and crock pot recipes that are just as easy to make as they are delicious. With meals already in mind for the school year, you’ll spend less money at the drive through, and hopefully be able to offer more nutritious options for your kids as well. Try to also allow cooking and meal prep time to be a time of solace as a parent, a time of peace and quiet to yourself as you get dinners ready.
Take A School Tour
Most schools offer a day to get re-acclimated with the locations of classrooms and confusing hallways. If you or your kids are nervous about making it to class on time or schedule navigation, school tours and even walking through the halls on a class by class basis can be very beneficial. This will help you feel more on top of your child’s first day as a parent, and hopefully leave your kids feeling more confident as they walk through the doors for the first time.
Though it’s easy to let the approaching school year cause you stress as a single parent, utilize the tips above to relieve any anxiety you may have. Stay organized and prepared as you never know what the first day of classes is going to throw at you. From getting to know the teachers, shopping smart, and beginning your school year routine early, there are so many ways to stay on top of this busy time as a solo parent.