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Most schools have a uniform supplier. If money isn’t an issue and you are pressed for time, you can easily call them and make an order, which should be done as early as possible to make sure there is something left. Depending on how generic the school uniform is, there are non-Jewish stores and companies that sell uniform like skirts and shirts for a fraction of the price, such as Children’s Place or Gap, and they take coupons! When buying uniform from suppliers other than the school’s, make sure it confirms with the school guidelines in terms of length and other decorations.

I personally find shopping for shoes a nightmare, so all the money we saved on uniforms and school supplies, I spent on shoes. The easiest option for me, but not exactly the cheapest, is to go online and order from a website that offers free shipping such as Zappos.com. I order a few different pairs, my children pick the one they like the most, and I return the rest, all from the comfort of my home.

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For the boys’ clothes, I scheduled a couple of hours on my phone, and went through their closet and hand-me-downs. I made a list of the items they were missing and went back online to finish the shopping.

Medical visits and Updated Immunizations: Needless to say, it is crucial for your children to have updated immunizations. The world has become quite small and although your children may not be world-travelers, there is no way to tell where those around them have been. In addition, most schools will not allow your child into school without an updated medical form. Schedule an appointment and mark it in your phone, making sure it doesn’t coincide with any of your other shopping days.

Preparing the Children for Their Milestone: I did my best to prepare the children along the way – when I bought my daughter her uniforms, we reviewed that she will be using them in first grade, what she will be learning and how the structure will be different than what she’s been used to. When we bought my son his backpack, I explained that he will be using it to go to his new big school, where his cousins go. For my baby…let’s just hope that his orientation won’t be too heartrending.

Good luck to all the little ones starting their new year, and may their new beginnings be full of success. Let’s catch up in the few months, and we can discuss the next big hurdle, getting your kids to do their homework!

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Pnina Baim is the author of the Young Adult novels, Choices, A Life Worth Living (featured on Dansdeals and Jew In The City) and a how-to book for the Orthodox homemaker, Sing While You Work. The books are available at amazon.com. Pnina is available for speaking engagements and personal consulting. Contact her at pninabaim@gmail.com.