A large portion of the people we serve are single parents, or families who have fallen on hard times. For them, school starting back in the fall is both a blessing and a burden. They are grateful the children will be in school receiving two meals each day, but they have the extra stress of school clothes and supplies to buy when they can't even afford food much of the time. Several churches in the area offer school supplies, backpacks and more. We also have resources for free clothing in our area, which is a blessing to those in need. Here at Joseph's Storehouse, we provide food, but sometimes we also have school supplies. Be sure to ask about them if you haven't been able to go to the big church giveaways.
Joyce Wilson has written an article to give parents some tips to make back to school time easier for everyone:
Start the School Year With a Bang
As summer draws to a close and brief hints of fall float through the air, the minds of kids and teenagers all across the land begin to turn toward school. Many may be anxious as they start a new school year. Their schedules are about to become busier and they’re starting a new grade or new school. Here is a bit of advice for how parents can help their kids feel excited instead of anxious for the beginning of a new school year.
Start Off Well
Mornings can often be the roughest part of the day for kids as everyone in the family scrambles to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast and fly out the door. Starting the family’s day in a calmer, more organized manner will get your kids off to school on a positive note. To do so, make sure your kids get enough sleep so they’ll be ready to get up in plenty of time. Prepare as much as possible the night before; gather school supplies, pack lunches and choose clothes. As parents, you should get up well before your kids - if you are rushed and flustered, they will be, too. You should also set up a morning routine for them so they know exactly what to do, including brushing their teeth, making their bed, unloading the dishwasher and eating breakfast.
Schedule It Out
Remember that it will take a few days at least to get back in the swing of the school schedule and adjust to the increased workload compared to summer, so give yourself and your kids some grace. Start adjusting their schedules a week or so before the actual first day of school so getting up earlier is not such a rude awakening. They will also have to get used to homework again, so help them out by setting up a well-lit, comfortable, uncluttered place for them to do their work when they get home. Give them a snack and some downtime before making them jump right into homework every day. Make sure you’re not overcommitted with extra-curricular activities as well. Too many places to go can wreak major havoc on your family’s schedule, and you’ll need some down time to just breathe as you adjust to the reality of a new schedule.
Taking stock of what should be organized as you start back to school will also help. Start by doing a thorough cleaning of each kid’s room and closet. Go through their clothes and donate, sell or hand down anything they have outgrown. Get their homework areas clean as well. Make sure you have extra school supplies at home. Kids always need paper, pencils, crayons and more when they’re deep into homework. Set up a calendar and filing system so everyone is up-to-date on schedules and your kids have a place to put the never-ending pipeline of papers that flow to and from school.
Also think about what new supplies or equipment you might need to buy. For example, if you have a younger child who'll be playing online games or doing online exercises as part of their schoolwork or if you have an older child who listens to music while doing homework, a good set of headphones is a solid back-to-school gear investment. Many options are relatively inexpensive and a decent pair can be found for less than $100.
Following these tips will reduce back-to-school chaos and anxiety in your family. In fact, they may even help your kids start to build some excitement for the new school year. The first day of school will be here before we know it. Have a great year!