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Get started now on back-to-school tasks

The first day of school is a couple of weeks away and you've yet to receive the school supply list that can pack a wallop to your wallet. Still, there are things you can tend to now that can help set the tone for a successful school year and perhaps save some money in the process. Go ahead and pace yourself, but consider tackling a few tasks now you're not so overwhelmed during that first week of school.

• Take an inventory of what school supplies you've already got. Check around the house for leftover paper, rulers, pens, markers, erasers, crayons, folders — anything that can be recycled for this year. Sharpen pencils. Check the batteries in the scientific calculator to see if they need replacing. If it's still usable, wash out last year's lunch box with baking soda and water.

• Do the same sorting of clothes and shoes. Clean out those closets and drawers and figure out what can be used again and what should be tossed or passed on to others.

• Go ahead and shop for things that you know that will be needed: filler paper, science project boards, plastic assignment covers and folders. Be sure to check fliers for what's on sale.

• Label, label, label. This pertains mostly to younger children who will need their names written with permanent marker on their clothes, lunch boxes and backpacks.

• Create a place to hang or store your child's backpack and lunch box so they are readily available on school mornings.

• Set up a quiet study area — away from the television — complete with paper, pencils, pens, markers, dictionary, thesaurus and any other supplies that might be needed for homework assignments.

• Gather up those emergency contact names and numbers. Write them down and make extra copies so they are handy when it comes time to fill out those forms on orientation day.

• Got a cell phone? Add your child's school telephone number to the address book.

• If your child is to be given medication at any time during the school day, get the required note from the doctor now.

• Make sure your child is up-to-date on immunizations.

• Purchase a file or find some kind of organizer to keep important school papers: field trip permission forms, notices for the upcoming school events, those extra copies of your emergency contact numbers, your child's school bus number. Keep it in a handy place.

• Create or make use of a calendar — for the fridge or wall — so you can see at a glance any important activities and appointments coming up.

• If your child has schoolwork due that first day, check that it's done or near completion.

• Get your child a library card.

• Take a gander at this year's Sunshine State Readers list for elementary and middle school students. Consider getting your child started on one or more of those selections. For first-timers, check out the many first-day-of-school books at the local library or in bookstores.

• Start easing your child back into the school-year bedtime and wake-up routine.

• Talk up the school year. Be positive but address any fears your child might have.

Get started now on back-to-school tasks 08/02/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 3, 2008 8:59am]
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