Save Money on Back-To-School Shopping for Twins

Tips for Twins, Triplets and Multiples

twins-in-school.jpg
Twins in School. Fuse / Getty Images

It's that time again! Say goodbye to the lazy days of summer and hello to the school day routines of bus rides, backpacks and hitting the books.

Here are some tips to help your and your children adjust to the transition. School days can be particularly chaotic when there are multiples in the family, so I've compiled some strategies for saving money, time and sanity too. Here's to a successful school year!

Don't Break the Bank

Shopping for school supplies and clothing is expensive enough, but it can break the bank when you're buying for two, three or more. Parents of singletons can hand down clothes and accessories from one child to the next, but multiples all need the same size at the same time. Look for bargains all summer -- don't disregard yard sales, consignment shops and even other multiple families as sources for good quality used clothing.

Sales on supplies are abundant beginning in late July. Look or "Buy one get one free" items -- for once, having doubles can pay off! Consider which homework supplies can be shared by your multiples, so you don't buy more than you need. Check dollar and discount stores for the best price on pencils, crayons, and markers. Look to bulk buying stores and office supply stores for fair prices on paper and notebooks.

Browse newspaper ads for special bargains, but don't run all over town trying to save thirty cents on a pack of paper.

Many stores will match sale prices if you ask respectfully and provide proof of their competitor's pricing.

Don't buy willy-nilly without a plan. Many schools provide a suggested list of supplies for each class or grade. Some stores even keep the lists handy for shoppers in case you leave your list at home.

If you don't know your children's specific supply needs, you'll have to do a little bit of scouting. Talk to parents with children a year older than yours, and ask about their experience last year.

Finally, take advantage of Tax-Free Holidays. During designated time periods, states will suspend the sales tax on certain items, such as school supplies and clothing, allowing you to save money.

School Daze: Calm the Chaos

Getting back into a daily school routine can be tough after a relaxing summer, especially if you have twins or other multiples. With two or more kids in the same grade, the need to stay organized is even more critical. Here are some tips for establishing routines and calming the chaos.

Start establishing a regular bedtime and wake up time about two weeks before school actually starts.

Restful sleep is important. If your multiples share a room, they may have difficulty settling down at night. The temptation to play is great when their twin is in close proximity! Consider putting them to bed in separate rooms and then returning them to their own beds later in the night.

Review and establish priorities for morning tasks -- getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, etc. Once school starts, get a jump on the morning by doing as much as possible the night before.

Decide on outfits and lay out clothes for each of your multiples. Set out non-perishable breakfast foods and set the table. Review homework and paperwork and assemble backpacks. Pack lunches. The more you do the night before, the smoother the send off in the morning.

Keeping school stuff organized will prevent a lot of last minute stress on school days. Consider creating an individual station for each child.

Designate a specific place to store his or her backpack, lunchbox, jacket, and paperwork. Locating the stations near an entry door reduces the chance that stuff will get waylaid and misplaced. Some families rely on file organizers or stacking trays to keep track of each child's individual paperwork, such as homework assignments, class lists, permission slips, book orders, etc.

Consider color coding, assigning each multiple their own designated color for lunchboxes, school supplies, backpacks, etc. If your multiples are monozygotic (identical) and look alike, color-coded clothing may even be a consideration for school days. Clue in teachers and school staff to your code to help them tell twins apart.

It's that time again! Say goodbye to the lazy days of summer and hello to the school day routines of bus rides, backpacks and hitting the books. Here are some tips to help your and your children adjust to the transition. School days can be particularly chaotic when there are multiples in the family, so I've compiled some strategies for saving money, time and sanity too. Here's to a successful school year!

Back to School: Make it Meaningful

Heading back to school is an exciting, important time. It's a big milestone to pass into the next grade level, and it should be commemorated. Consider adopting some special family rituals or traditions to mark the occasion for your multiples.

Use the preparatory period before school starts as an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with each of your multiples.

If at all possible, arrange individual shopping expeditions for each child; enlist the help of a spouse, relative or friend if you're short on time. In our family, I take each of my twin daughters on a separate shopping trip that includes purchasing school supplies as well as a special outfit for the first day of school. We make a trip to the hairdresser and conclude by eating lunch in the restaurant of her choice.

The one-on-one time is a wonderful chance to share thoughts about the year ahead and to work through any fears or concerns. Make it a tradition that you and your children will look forward to each year.

Other fun traditions give the new school year a fun and meaningful start. Take a picture before the kids leave for school; do it in the same place every year for an instant timeline of their growth. Prepare a special breakfast, or, if time is tight in the morning, celebrate with a special dinner the night before.

Read a favorite book together (a favorite for young children is The Kissing Hand (compare prices) by Audrey Penn).

Before school starts, arrange to speak to your children's' teacher or teachers. It's important that they know that your child is a multiple and that they understand and respect the multiple bond.

If your multiples are in the same class: Give the teacher ample support in telling them apart even if they look nothing alike. If necessary, give them name tags to wear for the first few days. Discourage dressing alike; it makes it easier to distinguish them. When my identical daughters were in the same preschool class, I made it a point to speak to the teacher briefly as I dropped them off and indicate who was wearing what that day.

For older children, remind the teacher that your multiples will sometimes react to each other as siblings. Remind your multiples that they should leave their disputes at home; they can be disruptive to the rest of the class.

If your multiples are in separate classes: Make sure teachers are aware that their students have a twin or triplet in another class. Explain the relationship between the children, whether they are anxious about being apart, sometimes competitive, shy without their twin, or protective of each other. Any of these dynamics could potentially have an impact on a child's learning experience, and teachers should be aware and respectful of them.

Finally, be sure that your multiples know their phone number, and what to do in an emergency. Arrange for them to meet each other for the trip home. Make sure they know where to go if no one is there to meet them or if they need assistance.

It's that time again! Say goodbye to the lazy days of summer and hello to the school day routines of bus rides, backpacks and hitting the books. Here are some tips to help your and your children adjust to the transition. School days can be particularly chaotic when there are multiples in the family, so I've compiled some strategies for saving money, time and sanity too. Here's to a successful school year!

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