How to Make Back to School Shopping a Fun Event

school bus

It's that time of the year that kids dread and parents have been counting down to since June. Back-to-school is around the corner. And that means back-to-school shopping.

Which, frankly, can be a drag. Your kids are having fuuuuuun. They don't wannnnna go back to school! Dreading it yet?

It doesn't have to be that way, Mom and Dad. Try to make the shopping trip about the kids, and they'll actually ... wait for it ... have FUN:


1. Make a list and share it with them. The worst part of school shopping when I was a kid was the inevitable fight over something I wanted that my mom didn't want to (or couldn't) get. So cut that off at the pass. Make a list before you leave, and show your kids what is on it so there are no surprises when you hit the shops.

2. Give them some control. Most schools provide a list of items that need to be purchased, but they give you some leeway on exact products. So ask your kids to help you pick. A folder in their favorite color or a notebook with their favorite character can go a long way toward making them happy. The same goes for the clothes. Even if you're sticking to a price range, a little freedom of choice can be the difference between a pouting kid and one who is soooo proud of her new sneakers. It's called picking your battles. Are the pencils you think are cool really worth it?

3. Make a day of it. This is one of the last big "kid/parent" moments before they get back on a bus, so make it count. Eat out at their favorite restaurant, or hit the park on the way home where you actually play WITH them to make up for your, ahem, elation over their impending return to school.

4. Buy for someone in need. Do you have a local homeless shelter? A domestic violence shelter? Maybe you attend a church where the pastor can give you tips on a family in need? Buying a few extra items to help make another child's first day of school special is easy, and it will make your kids feel empowered while teaching them a lesson about helping others.

Have you started back-to-school shopping yet?


Image via John Picken/Flickr

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