Tag Archives: back to school

Back to School

Hard to believe the summer is slowly coming to a close. For some, school has already started. For others, it’s coming up in a week or so, and for most of us in New Jersey school starts in September. Since school is creeping up on us, I thought I’d take time to share some things that have helped me get lunch prep for school days easier.


One thing I have learned is that preparation is key. Nothing beats reaching into the freezer and pulling out a ready-made lunch. One of the best things I do is purchase bread and lay the slices on the counter. Half get peanut butter, the other half get jelly. Into a zip lock bag they go and get stacked in the freezer. Sure, you could buy those Crustables, but why spend the money on something you can do yourself, and you can control the health of it too (whole wheat bread, organic natural peanut butter and organic jelly).

The other thing I do is to break down a bag of snacks into individual portion sizes. I will take pretzels, organic popcorn and package it so that when I prepare lunches the night before all I have to do is grab a bag.

ImageOne of my most favorite “tools” for packing lunches are these Fit to Fresh sets (I buy mine at Home Goods). They have freezeable packs that fit into the containers. I will pack sandwiches, fruit, pepperoni and cheese, whatever needs to stay cold in these the night before. In the morning, I slip in the freezer pack and throw in the lunch bag.

Another thing I have purchased are the re-usable sandwich and snack bags. I purchased these white and purple ones at Target (similar here). You can wash the insides and even throw in the washer.

I also know, one of the hardest things is trying to come up with lunch ideas to keep things interesting. Who wants the same boring thing in their lunch? The following blogs have some great ideas:

50 Lunch Box Ideas

10 Ways to Switch Up Your Kids Lunch

I would love to hear any tips or tricks you have to make mornings easier.


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Breakfast Ideas To Ease The Morning Rush

Let’s face it, mornings are crazy in general, but even more so when you add the school rush to the mix. You want to make sure your kids are eating a healthy breakfast (and don’t forget, it’s the most important meal of the day!) before they run out the door for a full day of school, activities, and more. Here are 20 breakfast ideas that are nutritious and easy to make in the morning rush.

Taken from parentingsquad.com

The American Dietetic Association found that children who eat breakfast have better concentration, problem solving skills, and hand-eye coordination. As a result they are more alert, creative and less likely to miss school. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of time in the a.m. Breakfast doesn’t have to take hours. Read on for 20 breakfast ideas for busy families.

1. Green smoothies —  Imagine how great you’ll feel after having 4-6 servings of fruits and vegetables!

2. Fruit smoothies — Hesitant about going green? Start with fruit smoothies!

3. Whole wheat English muffins smeared with almond butter and topped with a sliced banana

4. Homemade trail mix — Simply toss dried fruit, raw almonds, and mini-carob chips in a bowl.

5. Greek yogurt — A super source of protein.

6. Toaster waffles — My salvation on hectic days. Choose whole grain.

7. Sliced apples with peanut butter

8. Leftovers! — Pull whatever is left from last night’s dinner and enjoy it all over again.

9. Crockpot oatmeal — Start cooking it the night before, and wake up to a delicious meal!

10. English muffin sandwiches — Egg, English muffin, and cheese.

11. Homemade granola bars

12. Crudités and string cheese — Super easy to eat on the go!

13. Breakfast burrito — Stuff a whole wheat tortilla with scrambled eggs and cheese.

14. Cereal and milk — An oldie, but a goodie.

15. Whole wheat bagel topped with spinach and egg

16. Fruit salad — Just mix bite sized pieces of seasonal fruits in a bowl.

17. Sweet bread with almond or peanut butter — Hawaiian bread or Portuguese sweet bread is amazing when lightly toasted.

18. Sweet potato hash — Toss shredded sweet potatoes and diced ham in olive oil, and sauté until soft.

19. Nuts and berries — Fill a container with seasonal berries and your favorite nuts.

20. Microwave omelets — Toss your ingredients in a low bowl and microwave for approximately 20 seconds.

Eating a healthy breakfast is certainly the right way to start the day! Be sure to set a good example for your kids by eating a good breakfast on your way out the door.

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Easing Back To School Jitters

Taken from scholastic.com

Going from long, lazy summer days back to the rigors of a classroom can be a bumpy road for your child. It’s normal for her to experience a range of emotions about returning to school. In fact, school tops the list of worries for kids ages 7 to 12, says Carol Falender, Ph.D., a psychologist who has worked for over 20 years with children and their families.

Your first step to addressing these fears, says Dr. Falender, is to try to bridge the gap between summer activities and the new school year. If your child read a lot over the summer, remind her that “all that reading is really going to help you with your assignments.” If she spent the summer swimming laps, you can say to her “your new strength will really help you during after-school sports.”

Though each child responds to going back to school differently, you can take steps to address jitters and make the transition time smoother. Could one of these issues be causing your child’s fears?

Life Changes
Academic Challenges
Social Worries

Life Changes
Starting at a new school can present an especially daunting challenge. Similarly, if your child has recently experienced an upheaval at home, such as moving or divorce, he may be especially susceptible to feeling stressed about returning to school.

If this is the case for your child, “keep your eyes and ears open and really listen,” says Adele Brodkin, Ph.D., a child development consultant and author. Asking open-ended questionscan give your child the space to figure out his own feelings. If he expresses a specific worry, you might say something like: “What makes you feel that way?” and see where the conversation leads.

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Academic Challenges
A new grade brings new challenges. Perhaps your child will be expected to do homework or write a research paper for the first time. With fears of not measuring up academically, the best defense is a good offense. Getting organized and establishing reassuring routines can go a long way to making a child feel competent.

With a young child, help her to:

• Review where the school bus will pick her up or how she’ll get to school

• Visit the school grounds and if possible, make an appointment to tour the inside

• Write an introductory letter to her new teacher

• Calmly review safety procedures such as how to cross the street and avoid strangers

With a child of any age, encourage him to:

• Lay out his clothes for the first day

• Help prepare a tasty lunch (then tuck a secret note inside for him to find)

• Gather supplies and pack his backpack a few nights before school starts

• Set up an organized study area at home

Rumors of a particularly hard teacher may fuel fearing or disliking a new teacher. Do help your child keep in mind that one person’s dreaded teacher can be another kid’s favorite. While it’s okay for your child to express her dislike of a teacher, she should be expected toremain respectful. You can encourage her to be open-minded and approach this as an opportunity to help her learn how to deal with a person she finds difficult. Listen to her issues and plan to attend parent-teacher night to get your own take on the situation.

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Social Worries
A new class roster can mean adjusting without friends who have provided a social base in previous years. Try to present this as an opportunity for your child to widen his group of friends, rather than a tragic loss of familiar faces. If possible, get the class list and set up a play date before school starts, so that your child will have a new friend to look for on the first day. Establish time for him to catch up with old friends too.

A new school or classroom may spark concerns about finding friends at all. An outside class or hobby such as ballet or a sport can provide a conversation starter and the opportunity to meet kids outside your child’s usual circles. Talking to her about other challenging situations that she successfully navigated also boosts self-esteem.

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Getting Help
If your child’s anxiety impedes his day-to-day life, Dr. Brodkin recommends asking yourself two questions:

• How much of a change is this behavior from the norm?

• How long has this changed behavior been going on?

Most back-to-school anxiety is anticipatory. If the level and type of anxiety seems a marked departure from your child’s usual behavior and lasts well past the beginning of the school year, consider seeking outside help. Start by talking with his teacher. Next, a school counselor or psychologist can provide valuable tips and resources. Anxiety disorders do affect children, notes Dr. Falender, and are often overlooked because such children do not tend to act out.

Be Supportive
It is normal for every child to react to going back to school in her own way. This can make it tempting to apply your own experience to your child’s life. Although harkening back can provide insight, don’t forget that your child is not you. Be calm and matter of fact. Listen and provide reassurance, but try not to heighten anxiety with old memories and good intentions.

In the end, the most important tool you can use is to know your own child, “and most parents do,” says Dr. Brodkin. Observe the situation, but also try to keep it all in perspective. For most kids, back-to-school jitters will melt away as easily as summer slips into fall.

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Back-to-School Buying Lessons for Children


NEW YORK — Shopping for back-to-school items for your elementary school children, but afraid of a fight in the jeans aisle?

Parents who hope to keep a lid on spending can soften the edge by planning the back-to-school budget with kids, shopping together and teaching them how to separate needs from wants — and how to tell what’s a good deal.

“You need to involve them in the process so they understand the value of money,” says Lori Mackey, president of Prosperity4Kids Inc. in Agoura Hills, Calif., which offers material to teach kids about finance. “These are life lessons that children will need.”

Here are five personal finance lessons that back-to-school shopping can teach:

1. Spend within your budget
Parents should start by working with kids to set a limit on how much to spend on clothing and supplies. Jacob Gold, a certified financial planner in Scottsdale, Ariz., recommends using a debit card or cash so kids see how quickly the money disappears.

“They have to learn to live within the certain threshold,” said Gold.

2. Know what you have
Go through your child’s closet to find out what fits and what doesn’t — and what needs to be repaired or handed down. Maybe that jacket just needs to be patched or the shoes just need resoling. Consider recycling last year’s backpack if it’s still in good shape.

3. Separate wants from needs
Children may want five pairs of super-skinny jeans in different colors, but parents should get children to ask themselves each time they want to buy something: Do I really need that? Start by coming up with a list — before heading to the mall — of what’s necessary in the way of school supplies, shoes and clothes. Phil Heckman, director of youth services at the Credit Union National Association, suggests letting children buy something extra with money left over after they buy those necessities.

Continue to full article HERE.

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