Handling Your Kid’s School Supplies When on a Tight Budget

School supply lists for children, regardless of the age, has expanded from the basics of pencils and paper to much more. When money is tight at home, it can be frustrating to figure out how to obtain all of the required supplies, especially when a family is on a very tight budget.

Treasure Hunt – Find Existing School Supplies at Home

Before heading out to the store, a family should have a treasure hunt to find any school supplies that may already be at the home. This can become a fun activity for the family and everyone can participate. Make sure everyone who is helping with the treasure hunt is given a list with two to five items as well as the quantity needed for each.

Encourage everyone to look around the house and consider all possibilities (i.e. items from previous school year that was not used or rarely used, items purchased in September on clearance, etc.). Put all found items in a sack or box.

Smart Shopping – Best Deals for School Supplies and Stationery

Smart mons plan ahead when buying school suppliesOnce a family has determined what is already available on-hand, the next step is to find the best deals for the school supplies that still need to be purchased. Listed below are some ways to find the best deal:

  • Check weekly sales ads from all stores that sell needed items (i.e. grocery stores, department stores, pharmacy stores, dollar stores, hardware stores, office supply stores).
  • Purchase items when on sale and stock up (hint: many stores such as Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, even Menards will have excellent deals).
  • Buy school supplies when the family’s state has a sales tax holiday (remember not all states participate in a sales tax holiday).
  • Use store coupons (i.e. Target, Staples, Office Max, etc.).
  • Use manufacture’s coupons.
  • Combine manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons.
Get Assistance to Buy School Supplies

No matter how many school supply items are found around the home, families still struggle with purchasing the rest of the required items. For some, it’s a decision between buying school supplies or putting food on the table. In this situation, families can ask the child’s school, church, and/or other community organizations for help. Never be afraid to ask for help.

There are many ways to stay on budget and yet purchase school supplies for children. From having a treasure hunt at home to buying supplies on sale with coupons, school supplies can be obtained and keep a family on a budget. It can become quite an adventure to search for needed items in which the entire family can help with.

Dealing with Children & Teens who Talk Back

All children will backtalk at some stage in their lives. Backtalk is a normal stage of development in children. They are still learning to deal with conflicting emotions inside of themselves and assert their independence. They want to be assertive yet not get into trouble but are unsure of how to do it. The easiest way seems to be talking back to their parents! For parents, the key to dealing with backtalk is to have patience, understanding, and self-restraint.

Rude behavior in children must not be toleratedManaging Children who Backtalk

In dealing with backtalk, it is essential that parents model the behavior they wish to see in their child. Children always learn behaviors from someone. By establishing a relationship with children based on respect, parents can nip backtalk before it gets out of hand. Here are some steps to try to end the habit and have respectful relationships with your children.

Set clear rules: What is most important to you? No put-downs, muttering or condescending gazes? Be firm in your tolerance and announce the rules to everyone in the household. Post them in the kitchen for reference.
Decide not to take it: Always follow through with consequences of undesirable behaviors. Parents who refuse to tolerate rude behavior have children who are not rude. Of course, this works two ways – treat your child with kind and understanding behavior.
Explain it: Help your child express his emotions more acceptably. Discussing negative emotions and feelings with your child helps him to accept them, release them and understand why he feels them.
Establish a code: For times when you are in public or when friends are around, let your children know they are nearing the disrespectful zone with a prearranged signal. This could be a phrase or a gesture. Follow through with consequences for misbehavior.
Don’t get in the act: As tempting as it is at times to say something rude back to your child, don’t. By practicing patience and understanding you are setting an excellent example instead.

Teach Respect to Children

Never forget it takes two people to argue, your children cannot argue by themselves. Choosing your battles goes a long way in teaching respect to your children. State your case once and allow your child to state his and set the consequence or walk out of the room if need be. This shows children your word is “final” and will not be changed, though you value their opinions. The result is respectful children and adults.

Keeping Healthy Kids with Exercise Disguised as Playtime

Children enjoy play and find every chance possible to get physical. When too many hours are spent in front of computer and television, health suffers. With diabetes fast becoming an epidemic, it is sound advice to get moving.

Fun Exercise Ideas for Kids

The first step toward fun, physical action is to take the idea of work out of the equation. Banning the additional word “exercise” might also be beneficial. Focusing on a play is what will get and hold a child’s attention. Below of suggestions for getting started.

Allocate time – Just like anything else, physical fitness can be scheduled in. An early morning walk with the kids especially when summer might allow for a relaxed schedule is terrific. Grab a stopwatch and time younger kids as they run from one point to the next. Note their improvement with each passing day.

Replace the unhealthy – Shave just a half hour off television and computer and replace it with some form of exercise. Label it “fun time” and watch the kids join in enthusiastically. With younger children, a dance hour with hip-hop music is well received.

Weekly silliness – Once a week have a water balloon fight complete with chase or a hula contest. Encourage kids to come up with ideas and even incorporate games where a timer is used. A simple 10-point list can be a starting point, use the one provided and add on over time.

  • Helping kids lead a healthy and active lifestyleFrisbee/Frisbee Golf
  • Hide and Seek
  • Relay Races, sack races, timed racing
  • Skipping
  • Touch Football, flag football or soccer
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Skateboarding, rollerblading, scooter
  • Hiking/Camping
Safety Precautions and Kids’ Physical Activities

Many parents worry about injury with active kids, yet physical fitness is, in fact, preventive medicine. Heart health begins with kids exercising the muscle through aerobic activity and play is the remedy to the onslaught of many potential future maladies. Developing a love of hiking, camping or swimming at an early age encourages a fit, active adult. Obvious precautions should be taken when kids are involved in activities and noting the tips below can help.

  • Never swim alone
  • Hike with a buddy
  • Wear appropriate protective gear, especially helmets
  • Teach children how to use 911
  • Get CPR certified (this is a wonderful family undertaking for older kids)
  • Follow all safety rules
  • Walk/run against traffic but bike with the flow of traffic
  • After dark, don reflective attire
Parents Set the Example

Active kids find life easy when a parent is a leader. With many adults in dire need of more exercise, setting a good example for children should be paramount. Skip filling time with empty computer and television and get involved with the kids. Grab a basketball and shoot a few hoops if running is too strenuous or take a short walk. Parents and children can partner in a quest for a healthier lifestyle, and the outcome may well be fewer medical bills and better quality of life.

Revealing Divorce to Your Kids

Loss and separation, leaving, and disruption, all spin nightmares into the very being of children. How does a parent disclose this life trauma to a child? A style of disclosure depends on the age of a child. How one communicates to a seven-year-old, is much different than disclosing to a seventeen-year-old. For this, we will primarily focus on revealing to adolescents and upward in the age range. If there have been family meetings as part of the norm, then a family get together would not be too unusual.

Breaking it to the kids can be a harrowing experienceI am an advocate of everyone getting together and being honest and truthful about the marital conflict, and the decision to leave. Children are usually very observant and wise. Yes, they will be hurt and upset however all too often it does not come as a huge surprise. When parents are honest, you are role modeling integrity, try to at least have that instead of possible infidelity, or other dishonest behavior.

Allow children to express, consider their feelings to a fault. Do not make this about you. Do not criticize your spouse or try to achieve emotional sides with your children. They will eventually be wise to this ugly manipulation, and it will backfire. Be prepared for emotional distance from them.

Please be very clear that each of you will be there for them for emotional support, financial support, school support, and medical concerns. Whoever is leaving home write letters or emails, to let them know you are thinking of them, they may not be ready for a phone call. Give them time.

Explain to them using analogies of their peers. How sometimes there are conflicts between two individuals that cannot be resolved. It is important to let them know there was an attempt at resolution. Not only are you disclosing a loss to them, however, but you are also teaching them a life lesson. Do not minimize the impact, yet reassure that all life traumas get better with time and BOTH of you will be there for their needs.

Be aware of your own selfish needs and your feelings of guilt. Do not let that spill onto the kids. The children come first. Make that a reality.

Disclosing divorce to children is painful, has long-lasting effects, and usually has some fallout down the road. On the brighter side, children are resilient and bounce back from life traumas; their relationship can flourish with a parent more positively. It does take work, dedication and showing up. Yes, show up for them with all their activities, and life events. Show your children that despite the divorce you will be there for them. Talk is cheap, now show it in behavior. You will not regret it.