1. Clean out closets first. Not you, your children. Give them simple instructions—clothes that don’t fit are giveaways, the rest go in drawers: undies/pjs, shirts, pants, misc. Use a large kitchen garbage bag for the giveaways. This step alone may take several hours—that’s fine. Those hours can be spent by you reading, bathing, or daydreaming, as children are gloriously occupied in their room.
2. Make a list. Not you, your children (is there a pattern here?) They list what they HAVE, then you circle a number next to it of what they need. When shopping, you or your child simply looks at the circled number and knows how many shirts, pants, or jackets to buy.
3. Give them a budget. You, not them. Choose a reasonable budget that won’t make you cringe. Then give them a buy, meaning one item that you’ll pay half on that you usually wouldn’t endorse (think trendy bling bling jeans). That makes children feel heard (“But everybody is wearing them”), makes you look good, and keeps the budget from exploding while giving them an actual wardrobe for the school year.
4. Let them pay for their own. My children know if they want anything outside the budget, not a problem (as long as it’s appropriate), but they pay their way. Even my seven-year-old did chores to earn extra money (a solid ten dollars) and used it to buy a necklace which I know will be lost within three school days. But she’s learning on small lessons how to earn, save, and wisely spend her money.
5. Shop using a schedule that works for you. Not them. I prefer taking everyone at once and getting it done all at once. This may sound like a great recipe for Xanax but actually, it works for our family. We recently did our shopping in two hours and had a ball to boot. Either way, do it the way that works best for you, not them, because the momma is the one most exhausted. If you have younger children, perhaps go alone and bring home “surprises,” or enlist your hubby to be with the other children while you shop with one child for a special night out. Of course, you could skip these steps and just do the online pick and pay, but there can be the hope-they-fit factor, depending on the site (been there, done that).
6. Celebrate the experience. You and them. I still remember our family tradition of my mom and sisters going to the half-yearly Nordy’s sale for back-to-school clothes. Then we’d do the family fashion show of look-what-I-got, with the unspoken contest of who could create the most outfits on their budget. One thing I’ve added is to organize the clothes right after said fashion show. Now my kids put their new clothes in a tub until school starts. This ensures that on the first day of school we can still find the clothes and supplies and that they are intact.
Whatever way you work it, enjoy the back to school shopping experience. It’s a once-a-year rite of passage marking the end of a carefree summer and the start of a promising fall. Feel free to email me any suggestions you have for a simpler, better shopping experience. I still have a few more back-to-schools to go.
JOIN OUR FIT & FAB CHALLENGE! It’s coming, just in time for the start of school. If you’re ready to jump start a fit fall, join us for an 8-week challenge to help you succeed. Motivation, prizes, and solid know-how, you can do this! Look for more details in the next newsletters:)
CHECK OUT “A Mom’s Sacrifice for an Unseen Olympian”, my post for KSL’s Motherhood Matters blog Enjoy!
EDUCATION WEEK AT BYU-UTAH! It’s coming, 20,000 women gathering to feel and live better! I LOVE Ed Weeks, and having just spoken at BYU-Idaho Ed Week and being with those amazing women, I can’t wait for this one. I’ll be speaking on Balancing Womanhood and Motherhood, Creating a Life Vision, Getting Fit & Fabulous, and more. Register at BYU Education Week 2012. Come say hi if you visit my class!
Have another fabulous week and enjoy setting your sights on a stellar fall.