Back to school shopping is an annual rite for many that can bring up memories of getting new shoes and clothes as well as school supplies. While stores seem to start putting out their school displays earlier and earlier each year, the first time this is done as a divorced parent can be challenging both emotionally and financially. There are a number of areas that can cause stress, so here are some strategies for gracefully adjusting to your new reality:
- Be smart about cost: Do not try to compensate by overspending. Shop at the end-of-summer or back to school sales. Think ahead and buy in multiple sizes if there is a great deal on shoes, hoodies and other pieces of clothing that they will wear all the time.
- Make a list: And stick to it. Schools often provide a specific list of school supplies, but it is a good idea to make a list for clothing and other things.
- Let the kids “borrow” your office supplies: Like notes in their lunch, this is a great way to provide reminders to kids of their importance in your life by sharing mom or dad supplies. It can be as simple as a pen from work. Kids can also take your plain folders and other supplies and personalize them.
- Use one supermarket for as much as possible: Clothes may be tricky for that tween, but try and consolidate your time by using one place rather than running all over town.
- Host a back to school swap: Kids will wear out specific things, but there are many other pieces of clothes or supplies that will be just like new.
- Plan lunch: Most kids thrive on consistency, and so do stressed parents. Have a lunch of the day or simply just map out (after consulting them) what you will pack for them over the course of a week.
Newly divorced parents will have to make adjustments in practically every part of your life. However, few or none is more important than doing your best to ensure that your kids have a smooth transition, particularly during milestones like the beginning of a new school year. The right parenting plan is important, but it’s also these seemingly small (but actually very important) details like shopping for the right things at the right time that can help them and you adjust.