It’s that time again, parents… Back-to-School time!
And guess what?!? It doesn’t have to be stressful! There are several ways you and your child can stay engaged to make this time of year more fun and valuable.
Communication and language are important components of our daily routines. Here are some ways to add these two components as you and your child head out to do some back-to-school shopping!
Tips for Back-to-School Shopping:
1. Make a List
Have your child generate a list of items they think they’ll need for school. In some cases, a list is already provided, but there are usually additional items that your child may want. Will they need a backpack? A calculator? A stapler? If your child has trouble generating a list, help them by asking questions like these.
Once completed, review the list with your child. Decide together what are needs and what are wants. Prioritizing together will decrease some of the stress related to shopping.
Want to take it to the next level? Determine a budget and guide your child through that process to encourage independence and responsibility.
2. Discuss & Ask Questions
Now that you have your list together, talk about these items! Categorize, discuss function and use, location, color, and preference to build language around these school supplies. Using these concepts will not only encourage your child to use language in a more abstract way, but also guide them to make choices for themselves.
Guide your child through the decision-making process using “wh-” questions like these:
“What color do you want?”
“What character is that?”
“What design is your favorite?”
“Where is it?”
Encourage your child to make notes on their current list including attributes, updates and location in order to find their items faster.
3. Don’t go it alone
You’ve made a list, you’ve asked good questions, and now you’re child should be prepared to navigate the store. It may be tempting to go alone – to get in and out before the crowds – but bring your child along with you. You’ve prepared them for this moment!
Similar to when you grocery shop, have your child check off them items as they’ve been acquired. Pair down the items into categories of the store – search for writing utensils, then paper and notebooks, and finally, socks and shoes.
This shopping experience can be exciting for your child – it will give them greater confidence and independence. Their hard work will have paid off!
4. Give Choices
As the school year starts, there is an explosion of the latest and greatest – new colors, sparkles and the latest characters from the summer movies. It can be overwhelming! Sometimes your child knows exactly what he or she wants, and sometimes they need more encouragement.
When your child has difficulty answering, give them choices!
Show them two items at a time to make the decision easier. For example, you could ask, “Do you want the backpack with the polka-dots or with the stars?” Remind them of their budget to assist them as they make their choice. You could ask, “Do you want to spend $5 on those markers or $3 on these markers?” Review your list of wants and needs. Ask a question like, “Is that something you will use every day, or is it simply something you want?”
Now your child knows exactly what they’re looking for and where to go in the store to find the supplies on their list. Have fun shopping while you make learning fun!