Back-to-school guide 2021: For you and your child

Are you and your kids ready for the upcoming school year? Get organised with these handy tips.

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Is your child ready to go back to school? For parents, it's hard to tell for certain because each child is different. Some kids may seem more ready than others, but some might be a bit nervous about what lies ahead.

School readiness is about more than just being able to count or read and write. It's also about being able to take on the different challenges of going to the school head on. Readiness involves being able to be socially and emotionally capable of dealing with other kids, learning to share and resolving conflict. In this article, we'll give you some tips on how to ease your child into schooling.


parents with kidsTips for your child's first school year

  • Talk regularly about school. Prepare your child by regularly reminding them about going to school. Encourage them to talk about how they're feeling so that any fears can be addressed early on.
  • Prepare and eat packed lunches at home. This might seem like a small thing, but some children do worry about eating away from home. Show them what their packed lunch would look like so that they will get used to it before the term starts.
  • Create a school schedule. Children need routines, but as soon as they start school, their old routine will need to change. Write out their new routine and discuss what they can look forward to.
  • Arrange a play date. If you know other kids who will be in school with your child, arrange a play date with them. Seeing a familiar face can help your child to feel more at ease in new surroundings.
  • Do a dry run. Get your child ready for his or her first day at school by doing a dry run a couple of days before school starts. Wake them up early, prepare a packed lunch and let them dress in their school uniform. It makes the concept of schooling become clearer.

Finally, it's important to note that adults can also experience a certain level of distress over sending their child to school, particularly if your child is going for the first time. This reaction is normal and should be expected.

You can minimise this worry by getting to know the school staff and other parents. Take heart in the fact that your child is now exploring the big and exciting world of learning.

Tips for going back to school

  • Buy school supplies early. Bookstores are usually packed at the start of the school year. Avoid the rush by buying all the necessary school supplies early. Use a checklist to make sure that you've got everything your child needs.
  • Re-establish routines. During the summer break, your child most likely had no strict mealtime and bedtime routines. It can take a week before your child gets used to the school routine, so start waking up early before term time.
  • Buy clothing essentials. Be sure to buy uniforms, socks and shoes early. This lets you avoid panic on the day before school.
  • Set the alarm clock. Being on time is the best time to ensure that your child understands the importance of running to a schedule.
  • Create a meal plan. Start being conscious of your health by creating a meal plan. This enables you and your child to have a balanced diet throughout the year.
  • Use a checklist. Having an "assignment notebook" is a must for any student. It ensures that your child won't forget their homework assignments in math, science, English and other subjects.

Back-to-school shopping guides

Prepare your child by stocking up on everything they need for the school year with the help of one of our handy guides:

Cheap school supplies

It might be nice to send your children off to school with shiny new things, but for many families, it's not always possible. Fortunately, there are ways to get great buys at low prices. Here are some tips on how to get the cheapest school supplies:

  • Look around your home. Unless your child is starting school for the first time this year, there are bound to be "leftovers" from the last school term. Do their markers and pens still have ink? Do your older children have old books that can be passed down to a younger sibling? You'll be surprised by the items you already have.
  • Shop online. Use the Internet to your advantage by using promo codes and taking advantage of exclusive deals. An additional benefit to doing your shopping online is that your kids won't be distracted by attractive items and potential purchases in the stores.
  • Stick to the list. It's easy to go overboard and purchase colourful markers, expensive gel pens and a 132-pack of crayons. Making a list keeps you and your child focused on the necessary items. It's a proven way to help you keep to your budget.

Shopping mistakes to avoid before school starts

  • Using the wrong credit card. Don't pay more than you have to. If it is really necessary to use your credit card to make a purchase, use one that has the lowest interest rate and offers the most reward points. You might be missing out on rebate opportunities, so check the latest promotions offered by credit card providers.
  • Taking out payday loans. Because parents have back-to-school expenses only once a year, a lot of people forget to save for this throughout the year. The result is that they fall short of cash at a critical moment and take out payday loans. Avoid payday loans as much as possible. No matter how cool that backpack is or no matter how your child whines about getting a new pair of sneakers, it does not justify the risk of getting into a financial hole.
  • Don't shop when you're rushed. It's easy to make impulse buys when you feel rushed or distracted, which can cause you to end up paying too much money. If you haven't done the shopping yet, try to order these necessities online. That way, you can shop in the comfort of your own home.

How to come up with a back-to-school budget

The back-to-school season is always an expensive time for parents. The cost of items such as backpacks, uniforms, school supplies and books adds up. If you are on a tight budget, it may be a good idea to follow the 50/20/30 rule. Basically, it works like this:

  • 50% of your income should go to essentials such as housing, groceries and utilities.
  • 20% should be allocated for retirement accounts, university funds, emergency savings and debt payments.
  • 30% can be spent on non-essential items and one-off expenses. Your back-to-school budget should come from this percentage.

It is recommended that you come up with a specific amount you can spend on back-to-school supplies. Your kids can help in this process by deciding which items are "needs" and which ones are "wants".

Below are other tips that can help you stick to your budget this coming school year:

  • Compromise on nonessentials. Every parent wants their child to have the coolest and the best things for school. However, your budget can only go so far. It is important to teach children the value of compromise. They can have a few cool things but that should mean that they have to go cheap on another item to fit the budget.
  • Use your creativity. Who said you need to buy everything brand new? Use your creativity to create new notebooks from the unused pages of old notebooks. You might even find other parents who are willing to give you used books in exchange for your children's used bags or backpacks.
  • Watch out for sales. It seems that every school supplies retailer charges full price when the back-to-school season starts. But the truth is, there are still some retailers that have the traditional yearly sales. Also, check the retailers here at finder.com.au for promo codes.
  • Compare prices. You can save a lot of money if you know which stores offer the best deals. Doing your research and looking at different offers stretches the value of your dollars. It is particularly important to do some price comparisons for big-ticket items such as electronics.

Being prepared for school before the term starts will have a significant impact on your child's confidence, attitude and performance once the assignments start rolling in. Remember that going to school can be fun but stress is almost unavoidable no matter which level your child is in. So follow the tips outlined in this article to give your child a head start in class.

More ways to save money

  • Prepare affordable lunch meals. Think of the type of lunchtime meals you will prepare as early as now. This will save you a lot of stress, hassle and money in the future. Determine whether a hard lunchbox or brown bags would be more suitable for your situation. Both have pros and cons, so the choice depends on what is convenient for you and your child.
  • Buy quality writing items. There are a lot of cheap pens and pencils. However, these are usually of poor quality and you'll end up spending more than you have to. It is generally recommended to get a set of high-quality pens that will last for at least half of the school year.
  • Consider buying an ebook. If your child is already attending secondary school, they will be required to read classic novels and other literature. Buying an ebook reader might provide you with better value for money compared to paperback books. This is because many classic novels can be downloaded for free on ebook readers.

Latest deals on back-to-school essentials

MyerMyer

Myer

Up to 50% off: Stocktake Sale

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Deal ends

MyerMyer

Myer

Up to 50% off sale

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LenovoLenovo

Lenovo

Up to 53% off: Back to School sale

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David JonesDavid Jones

David Jones

Extra 30% off: The Designer Sale

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LenovoLenovo

Lenovo

Up to 34% off selected idea pad and Yoga Pcs

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Deal ends

Popular Myer coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
18 Jan 2021 Up to 50% off: Stocktake Sale ********
18 Jan 2021 Up to 50% off sale ********
18 Jan 2021 Up to 53% off: Back to School sale ********
9 Oct 2020 Extra 30% off: The Designer Sale ********
18 Jan 2021 Up to 34% off selected idea pad and Yoga Pcs ********

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