August means many things to us as Texans. It brings the promise for cooler weather just around the corner. August also represents our last chance of the summer to take the family out on the lake or perhaps load everyone up in the car for an across the state road trip. For football fans, August means pro football training camp and the start to the college season. And, of course, August always means back to school.
If you’re like me then right about now you are wondering where summer went. Even though it feels like the kids got out of school just yesterday, it is now time to get ready to send them back. Like many other proud parents in our community, I am excited to see this school year start for my daughters, but the preparation has been lagging. If you find yourself in this same situation, here are some tips for getting your family ready to go back to school.
First, familiarize yourself with all of the back to school requirements for your child as set forth by your local school district. Make sure you know what school supplies your child needs, what immunizations are required, any physical fitness clearance they may need to play sports, and other necessities. Also make sure that you and your child are familiar with the school campus itself. This is very important if your child is moving to a new campus. Get a map of the campus beforehand and see if you can schedule a time to walk through the new surroundings before your child’s first day.
Along similar lines, ensure that your child knows and uses the safest route to school. Whether they will be biking, walking to school or simply walking to the bus stop, practice the route with your child before their first day back. Make sure they know to stay off the streets, where the crosswalks are located and that they are not to engage with strangers. If possible, use the buddy system and arrange for your child to travel to and from school with a neighborhood friend.
Stocking up on school supplies and buying new clothing items are obviously a big part of getting ready to go back to school. However, if you shop smart, it doesn’t have to place a big dent in your pocket book. This past legislative session, I authored successful legislation to move Texas’ tax free holiday to a weekend in August that is most convenient for parents and their families. This year Texas’ sales tax holiday weekend will be held from August 8th through August 10th. During this 3-day holiday, most classroom supplies and clothing items can be purchased tax free. Coupled with the historic sales that retailers offer, it is a tremendous opportunity to save on your back to school shopping. For a closer look at what items can be purchased tax free during this weekend, please visit www.TexasTaxHoliday.org.
Next, get your children ready to go back to school by starting their back to school routine a week before classes begin. If your child is well adjusted to their new sleeping schedule and the associated changes to their day to day, then they will have a much easier transition from their summer break back into the classroom. It is also important to plan healthy meals for the school weeks, both breakfast and lunch. Statistics have proven that children who have access to balanced, nutritional meals for breakfast and lunch are more engaged in the classroom and earn higher grades.
For more information on successfully getting your kids back to school, please visit http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Back-to-School.shtml. I hope that your family enjoys a safe and fun back to school season. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives, and I welcome your feedback on this and any other critical state issues. If you would like to share a thought with me, please feel free to contact me at my Capitol office at 512.463.0688 or by e-mail at [email protected]