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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #1

    Aug 7, 2006, 10:13 AM
    School supplies and clothes
    This question maybe should be in the education area, but there are some "emotional" aspects to it so I thought I'd post it here.

    My children will be in school very shortly. Two of mine are both starting school, and I'm also currently taking care of 2 nephews and a niece, who are also school age. All 5 kids are under the age of 10.

    I received a list of what all the kids will need from the school. Basic school supplies are very cheap, but I wondering if it's important for the kids to have "trendy" supplies, or supplies with their favorite characters on them, etc. I mean, is it important in terms of the kids doing better in school, and feeling better about themselves? Will the other kids tease them if their supplies are not trendy? We are not poor by any means, but I do want to keep costs down as much as possible, especially since I have to buy things for 5 children! Clothes present a similar issue. Thanks for any suggestions or advice.
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,299, Reputation: 5646
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    #2

    Aug 7, 2006, 10:21 AM
    Ahhh. Chava, I just went through this... sent the kiddos off to school today.

    Here is my take...

    Usually the schools give the list, which they did in your case... My list contained items like red folder for science... blue folder for math... etc and Rae wanted trendy (she is in 7th grade) so what I did was followed the list to a T.

    If the lists do not contain specific colors then buy what you want... if the list contains colors or brands for example, buy exactly what is on the list.

    Rae has decided that she will decorate her folders and binders her own individual way, but she is artistic like you.

    Then what I did was let her pick out all of the trendy stuff that she liked. We put those on a shelf here in the house and she took the color coded items to school today. If everyone has the neat-o trendy cool stuff then she can take them tomorrow.

    A lot of it all depends on the teachers and what the teachers want.
    My MIL is a 4th grade teacher and tells her kids to get what colors and designs they want, but some of the other teachers are not like that and want certain specific items. Their reasoning is that not everyone can afford the trendy things so it is better to make them all uniform so that no child will be different.
    worthbeads's Avatar
    worthbeads Posts: 538, Reputation: 45
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    #3

    Aug 7, 2006, 10:28 AM
    When I was in elementary school, kids had other things on their mind rather than thinking about what brand of school supplies they use. Any crayons, markers, or pencils didn't really matter for the most part. The notebooks and bags on the other hand may be an issue. You could ask the kids what is cool. But most importantly, let them decide for themselves. It doesn't really matter what the other kids think. This would be a good time to learn a life lesson. But if you believe in compromise, ask them what's cool, and let them decide what cool stuff they would like. If all else fails, but them "Unbranded stuff" instead of spongebob shirt. But remember, they're growing up to be big boys and girls, and they'll choose for you.
    aqua@home's Avatar
    aqua@home Posts: 565, Reputation: 107
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    #4

    Aug 7, 2006, 10:30 AM
    Hi Chava,

    I choose to buy my kids (5 as well) a bit of both. I get them clothes that they want. We don't buy designer, sometimes they are used or they get them for they birthday but they are usually the style they want. There are a few rules when it comes to the clothes they are allowed to wear, no bellies hanging out, clean, etc. For the most part we are both happy with the clothes. These are the clothes they are seen in. I don't think there is anything wrong with this. My kids don't get new clothes because school is starting. They get new ones when they need them.

    School supplies. I think these are less important. At our kid's schools they require specific items. "Crayola" crayons, real wood pencils, "Laurentian" pencil crayons, "Fiskars" scissors, etc. This is a pain, but it does mean all of the kids have the same, "No Name" isn't much cheaper but tend to be more cheaply made. They seem to go through the "No Name" faster, so why bother. I don't think there is any harm in adding their favorites to stuff like back-packs or binders, stuff like that. A Spider-man back pack or Barbie lunch box should be fine in my opinion.

    This is just what I do. Good question Chava.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,318, Reputation: 10854
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    #5

    Aug 7, 2006, 01:48 PM
    Just went to wal-mart and target and a bunch of other places with my daughter and everyone had a LIST. Every where we went it was packed with parents with lists, Glad I'm over it. My grandson won't wear anything that's not Batman, Spiderman... You get the picture. You have fun.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7692
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    #6

    Aug 7, 2006, 02:08 PM
    In school there will always be kids who have the latest "hello kitty" clothes and others that will have the best that Walmart can offer, and others that have the best you can get at Salvation Army or Goodwill.

    I have often found that it is the kid thierself that makes or does not make who they are, not the real clothes maker.

    Now I am behind the times on what kids do now, but as a father of 5 making low income we often had to buy clothes at the Salvation Army or the GoodWill. I found out some interesting facts, normally they want the jeans faded anyway and will wash new ones 10 times before they wear them to fade them. I have seen kids take sizzors to their clothes to make great holes before they wear them.

    So in that I don't think it really matters, in the US if any one item makes some difference it is the tennis shoes and we tried to find them on sale at the buy one get one 1/2 price or at some of the malls where you could buy 2 get one free or something like that.

    Also think stickers, the most plain one dollar note book, with stickers you can make from the internet with sticker paper can make it better than some of the most expensive,

    Even store bought stickers, can make that plain notebook or case the best scooby doo notebook.

    In the end, you do the best you can, give them the love you can and let it go, You will never have the best, and you will never be the worst but it is the love you put into it that matters and what will be remembered the most.
    CaptainForest's Avatar
    CaptainForest Posts: 3,645, Reputation: 393
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    #7

    Aug 7, 2006, 02:24 PM
    From my experiences, what type of binders never really made a difference.

    Not at that young of an age anyway.

    If they have crayons and pencil crayons, they work well. The brand type is never a real issue at such a young age.

    So personally I don't think you need to go out and buy the “trendy” stuff.
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #8

    Aug 8, 2006, 08:41 AM
    Thanks so much everyone for your responses. You've given me a lot of great ideas. I'm almost 27, and my experience in lower grade school was a very bad one. I was mocked and teased mercilessly for being a "weirdo" who couldn't afford decent clothes or school supplies. I was still with my biological mother at that point, and we were living on welfare. So I have a personal reason for worrying about this.

    Another issue of course is how "competitive" my kids are with each other... they have this uncanny ability to judge when one of them is getting slightly more or better than the other, even if it's totally unintentional. Case in point, yesterday I baked a cake and I had to (from previous experience!) make sure each child had exactly the same size piece, or else they will proclaim it "unfair" that so-and-so got a slightly bigger piece. Anyway my point in saying that, is that if I get branded items for one child, I will have to get them for all the kids. If my niece and nephews get new things, my own will want new things as well, whether they need them or not. Sigh.

    orange agrees: The school my children are attending did specify colours... I will they had as that would simplify matters. I like your idea about the trendy items on a shelf... I may try that!
    Janine, I meant to say the school did not specify colours but I wish they had! Ugh I must still be sleepy or something (sort of a constant state with me these days lol!! Anyway sorry about that, I wish I could edit my comments!

    Anyway, we will be going to Sears and Wal-Mart later on this afternoon. I will keep everyone's suggestions in mind and try to get as much (if not all) of the shopping done in those 2 locations. Wish me luck, as I am going to need it! :eek:
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7692
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    #9

    Aug 8, 2006, 09:39 AM
    It can work both way Orange, while I did not have a lot when my kids were growing up, myself as a child I came from a very wealthy family, I had the best clothes you could get at Sears or Pennys or Famous ( no large malls back then with designer labels) I had that little alligator or pengiun on my shirt, I had the glow in the dark shoe laces. And guess what, I was picked on by classmates as the "nerd" or as the rich kid.

    I think grade school is just cruel in general for most kids as they learn to socialze and find that one group will always pick on the other group no matter what
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #10

    Aug 8, 2006, 11:07 AM
    Yes you're absolutely right, Fr Chuck. In grade 7, before boarding school, I was in a class with a boy whose father was a multi-millionaire. He was also mocked. I guess you can't win either way. I have to let go of it, but it's going to be hard for me if any of my kids are mistreated by their classmates! :(
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,299, Reputation: 5646
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    #11

    Aug 8, 2006, 11:11 AM
    It's always hard Chava, but that is what children do, unfortunately. It is sad, but children are cruel.

    I went to a private elementary school, had little money at the time, and I was ridiculed for being "poor." We all wore uniforms and got our supplies at school, so how were they to know?

    I went to a rich high school and was ridiculed for the same things, my parents had more money then. But fashion was not my main focus.

    So, as you see, it all has little to do with money.
    kp2171's Avatar
    kp2171 Posts: 5,318, Reputation: 1612
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    #12

    Aug 8, 2006, 01:51 PM
    With our daughter, we usually tried to find a backpack she really liked. That was the one thing that we usually tried to find. She used it every single day and it seemed to make her happy.

    Everything else was mostly run of the mill... maybe some pencils or pens that were funky. She also loved stickers to decorate folders and book covers.

    Clothes were never a big issue... but we were probably middle of the road... shed usually get some clothes, and my wife is THE QUEEN of finding good girls and women's clothes on sale, but not an obnoxious amount.

    The only thing I remember being teased about when I was a kid was when I would outgrow my clothes too fast before I got more. Parents didn't always notice when I was bundled up in the winter that some of the clothes were not fitting right.

    I know my wife just finds all kinds of buys at local consignment shops, and discount stores here in the US like marshalls and gordmans.

    We also have a goodwill (charity) store that has a bargin bin day once a week. Basically its at the distribution center and a lot of the stuff there is closeouts or donations from local retailers who just dump their last of the season stuff that didn't sell, so much is absolutely brand new. They usually have stuff that preteen and older girls can wear... our daughter absolutely loves going there, but she's also much older now and doesn't need to have something come out of the store new. I think when she was younger shed probably wear much of the stuff, but would not have wanted to go into the store herself... as in her mother could bring it home and shed like it, but not want to go into the goodwill store... even though much was new and brand name.
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #13

    Aug 10, 2006, 10:05 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by J_9
    It's always hard Chava, but that is what children do, unfortunately. It is sad, but children are cruel.
    YES they are!! :eek: I'm really trying to teach mine to not be that way, but is it even possible? I wasn't a cruel kid, but then I was an outcast, so I had a special awareness of what it felt like to be treated badly. I certainly don't want my kids to be outcasts too.
    kp2171's Avatar
    kp2171 Posts: 5,318, Reputation: 1612
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    #14

    Aug 10, 2006, 12:34 PM
    Well, while the little ones are not carbon copies of us, and they have their own spirits and wills, how you treat them and your spouse is the first step... and you know that. You give them boundaries and consequences and they'll understand what the limits are and how they are expected to treat others. You talk kindly to your mate and they'll see how you communicate. My son is so much more spirited and busy than I was according to my mother, but you can still see the way they learn to communicate through you.

    And you talk to them from time to time about their feelings, maybe take one out on a special day for just the two of you (and then of course you'll have to do the same for the others) now and then (you know... in your "free time", whenever that is)... and they'll learn that you are interested in them individually and begin to trust you.

    Probably the biggest mistake I made when I met my wife and started dating was giving her pre-teen daughter too much room. I thought she needed a little space to get used to the idea of me being around... she took it as my being disinterested. It wasn't until six months later when I painted her room her favorite color while she was away at camp and found a bedroom set for her that she realized I was around for her as well, not just her mother.

    You've obviously done so much more for these kids... but it might be a good idea to try to have a schedule maybe... one kid gets a couple of hours on this one day with you or your spouse to do something fun. The others get to know when their personal time is too... just a thought. I know it's a zoo now and personal time is hard to come by. Something to keep in mind for the future. Katie and her mother still have an occasional girls weekend, where they plan on spending part of a day together doing something interesting, almost like a date, and they still look forward to those "dates"... and if you don't plan them, they just don't seem to happen.

    Our daughter was also in a lot of different activities. Dance when she was the age of your girls and through her first year of HS. Soccer, gymnastics, church stuff on occasion. She was never one of those kids who are "busy-scheduled" beyond reason, but she had a nice mix of friends in different places. This usually helped her... when things were not going well at school with a friend or she was being picked on, she always had some other kids to turn to.
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #15

    Aug 10, 2006, 02:30 PM
    Thanks kp... lots of great parenting advice, as usual! Before Debbie's three kids came to stay with us, I was having personal time with the 4 and 6 year old once a week, for a couple of hours, as you mentioned. I've been slacking since the new three came, though. I feel guilty about it, but it's been hellish just to get all 5 kids to get along with each other, respect the house rules, keep them entertained with summer activities, AND take care of the baby as well, etc, etc. Alex tries to give them as much attention as he can, but he is working 12 hour days, 5 days a week, and sometimes more than that. I think once they go back to school, activities will be easier to organize. Plus my housekeeper / nanny is returning from her summer holidays next week, woohoo!! I kind of feel sorry for her though lol! ;)
    kp2171's Avatar
    kp2171 Posts: 5,318, Reputation: 1612
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    #16

    Aug 10, 2006, 02:37 PM
    I don't think you're slacking on anything.

    Things get crazy. And things get better. The important thing is you know what you need to do. And you do it as best you can, when you can.

    School and the nanny will certainly help give you a little break!
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    aqua@home Posts: 565, Reputation: 107
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    #17

    Aug 10, 2006, 05:42 PM
    I could use a house keeper. I've thought about hiring one, just for a couple hours a week. I wouldn't even know who to trust. Sounds like you are doing great Chava.
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #18

    Aug 13, 2006, 04:58 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by aqua@home
    I could use a house keeper. I've thought about hiring one, just for a couple hours a week. I wouldn't even know who to trust. Sounds like you are doing great Chava.
    That's a really good point, aqua. It is definitely a trust issue, having someone come into your home like that. Luckily I "inherited" my housekeeper from my adopted niece and nephew's parents. They hired her to clean house and help take care of their children right after my niece (who is now 6) was born. So she was with them for almost 6 years, the children know her well, and it has been established that she's trustworthy. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't know her "background" the way I do. Maybe I'd hire through a reputable agency only... but then I'd still feel nervous about it.
    s_cianci's Avatar
    s_cianci Posts: 5,472, Reputation: 760
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    #19

    Aug 13, 2006, 05:08 PM
    You can let them choose their own book bag and their own lunch boxes, their own folders, etc. with their favorite characters on them. That's what my kids did. A bookbag with Spiderman on it doesn't cost any more than a bookbag with Barbie or some abstract design on it. As for clothes, unless they attend private school where uniforms are required, the available styles are going to be pretty much the same no matter where you shop so that really isn't an issue.
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #20

    Aug 18, 2006, 09:10 AM
    Thanks for your response, s_cianci. I didn't see it until now, but then I haven't been on the site much in the last week or so.

    I'm happy to report to you all that the shopping spree(s) went reasonably well, I got everything the kids needed and a few things that they wanted, and our budget wasn't stretched too much. Now I'm just anxious for school to start so I can have a break!! First day of school is August 30th, so I still have a bit of time to wait... sigh. Anyway thanks to all of you for your suggestions, it really helped!

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