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      Mommy Monday: Back to School Tips for Parents

      A lot of you sent the kids off for their first day on Monday.

      Parenting expert Shira Stein, the head representative at PishPoshBaby, put together some tips to help you get prepared.

      Back to school clothes shopping can be overwhelming, but Stein suggests you buy five pants, skits, and mix and match tops so you can stretch your budget by mixing and matching outfits.

      Then organize the closets and drawers to avoid any morning hassles.

      Get rid of anything your child has outgrown or just doesn't wear anymore.

      That way it's easier to choose outfits.

      As for the food, Stein says you can save time by preparing healthy snacks and lunches the night before and leave them in the fridge labeled with the kids' name so you can just grab and go in the morning.

      For bus routes, make sure your child knows where to get on and where to get off.

      Stein says you can even take your child on the route in your car to familiarize them with what to look for.

      Here is the full list of Stein's tips:

      o School Supply Shopping - Don't put off shopping until the last minute. With back-to-school sales beginning in mid-July, tardy shoppers have a tough time locating needed supplies among September's Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations. And once you are at it, make sure to shop well! Come prepared with your school's supplies list in-hand, so you buy just what you need. Make sure you get your little ones a backpack or book bag, choose one that's easy to clean, not some oversized bag that will weigh her down. Shop early to get the best selection! If you have a pre-schooler or kindergartner, you may consider purchasing a nap mat to make rest time more pleasant. And, if you're sending your baby out to day care, make it easy on yourself and their day care provider to invest in an organized and durable diaper bag.??

      o ?School Clothes - August is the second biggest sales month for clothing retailers. Yet the back-to-school sales begin as early as July. Why not get a head start with your children's back-to-school wardrobe while the stores are relatively calm. You will find the sizes you need and the styles that your children (and hopefully you) like, minus the headache. To make your budget dollars go further, purchase 5 pants or skirts and 5 mix-and-match tops. Don't forget gym shoes and everyday shoes. Things will start to cool down in the fall, so have the kids dress in layers with sweaters or light jackets.

      o ?Organize closets and drawers - This may not be your definition of summer fun, but you will be well on your way to avoiding hassled school mornings. Go through your child's clothes and get rid of anything he's outgrown or worn threadbare. It'll be so much easier to choose outfits if there is less of a clutter. Do a thorough cleaning of his room and study area as well.shhhh!, I won't tell them you threw out some of their papers and, may I say, junk! Homework and studying will be a breeze in a clutter-free environment.

      o Car Seats - If your child is graduating from kindergarten to 1st grade, it may be time to upgrade the car seat to a less cumbersome restraint system to recognize your child's passage from pre-schooler to school- aged child.

      o Uniforms - If your child plays sports or is a cheerleader, don't forget to get their uniforms and gear ordered. These can take several weeks to arrive and you'll want them to be prepared for the first game!

      o Instruments - If your child plans to participate in band or orchestra, check out the local music store early for the best variety of rental instruments.

      o Lunches and Snacks - If you pack lunches or snacks for your kids, a hip lunch bag will make bringing homemade lunches cool! Lunch bags come in many different themes, designs and colors, so let your kids have fun picking one that suits their personalities. Save time by preparing healthy snacks and lunches the night before and leave them in the fridge labeled with the kids' names, so in the morning you can just grab-and-go.

      o School / Sports Physicals - If your kiddos will be entering school or are playing sports, they will need to get a check-up before school starts. Schedule your appointment early so you don't get caught in the last minute rush, especially if your child needs immunizations.

      o Read Together - Take time throughout the summer, especially as the summer draws to an end, to read together and engage in structured play. Role play, by cooking up something special in your play kitchen with you child and give your baby some more tummy time on her play mat. Do activities with your children that will increase their concentration and get them thinking and developing to ease them back into the school/daycare focused mode.

      o Bus Routes - If your child busses to and from school, take your child on the route and walk through the process of where to catch the bus and where they will be dropped off. If this is a new experience for your child, explain how many stops will be made and how to know the correct stop when coming home. If you have the opportunity before the first day of school, introduce your child to the bus drivers so he will be a familiar face.

      o Class List - If you are able to obtain a class list, invite other kids over for playdates so they have friends before school actually starts. This will make transitioning to school easier for kids who are starting school or are going to a new school.

      o Locker / Class Assignments - Don't miss the opportunity to go with your child to pick up his locker and class assignments. Take time to walk the halls to help him become familiar with their new class schedule and find any shortcuts when navigating the halls.

      o Shift Your Schedule Early - Don't wait until the last day before school to get your kids back into schedule. The lazy, unstructured days of summer with getting into bed late and sleeping in are great. However, as school approaches, start shifting their schedules back to a school-day bedtime and waking them up closer to the hour they'll need to rise.

      With all of that said, enjoy your summer to its fullest. Make the most of the short summer season, because before you know it you will be back to the routine daily school year schedule. Yet, schedule in the time to prepare yourselves properly so that you will embrace the school year with smiles. Happy New School Year!