• On Good Things Utah this morning – Back-to-school basics, getting out the door on time, packing smart lunches and saving money, are top of mind for many parents right now. So, we culled the best school hacks to make life easier for parents (and kids!) straight from TikTok — which, among other things, has become a hotspot for family-themed content. These tips will help your family breathe better as kids transition to the classroom:
    • Wait until the first weekend of the school year to buy clothes
      • Back-to-school sales usually start in July, but if you have a fashion-driven teen, wait until the second week of school to hit stores, suggests RebeccaWootWoot. She recommends buying just enough clothes to get kids through the first week of school and doing your actual spree that coming weekend. “Styles change a lot from year to year so this gives them a week to look around and kind of see what’s in style this year,” she says in her video. “And then, you’re more likely to buy clothes that kids will actually want to wear.”
    • Save money on plastic snack bags
      • Zippered plastic bags are perfect for sandwiches, but they’re usually too big for snack-sized pretzels or chips. So cut them in half, says Wendy Lubb. Just heat up a sharp knife on the stove, then press it to a bag to seamlessly slice it in two.
    • Ask questions kids will answer
      • The beginning of the school year is overwhelming, and asking questions that are overly general won’t get you the scoop. Instead, Melissa Lea Hughes uses a multiple-choice tactic.
  • Plus, this year, California middle and high schoolers can hit snooze a little longer in the mornings thanks to a landmark law that passed in 2019 making school start times later. The law, which states that students at public high schools cannot attend classes before 8:30 a.m. and no earlier than 8 a.m. for middle schoolers, went into effect on July 1. “California’s law is the first of its scope in the entire country — we are the only state that’s set minimum allowed start times for middle and high schools,” Lisa Lewis, parenting journalist and the author of “The Sleep-Deprived Teen: Why Our Teens Are So Tired, And How Parents And Schools Can Help Them Thrive,” told TODAY Parents.
  • And one parent author shares her best advice about middle school friend drama: “In middle school, my daughter was so excited about her new group of friends. It was a mix of the old gang from her elementary school days and a few girls from different elementary schools in our town. Then, the drama started, as I suspected it would. After all, I was a teenager once; I remember all the feelings that come with being a 13-year-old girl: One day you’re friends with someone, then they decide they like someone else better. There’s a ton of pressure to look and act the “right” way. You feel like the most important thing in the world is to fit in. It began one night when we were driving home from a basketball game. My daughter and her best friend were in the back seat. Well, she thought it was her best friend. Only, this friend suddenly announced that the new girl at school was her best friend. I looked at my daughter and could see her cheeks redden. I knew she was upset about this comment — which seemed deliberate, to my ears — but I didn’t say anything.”
  • Finally, we dive into dating! The ladies discuss how to start a good conversation on a dating app:
    • First, open with a question
      • Keeping a list of fun and interesting questions in mind can make initiating a conversation less intimidating. You want them to be open-ended questions, rather than “yes or no” ones, said dating expert and matchmaker Jasmine Diaz of the Diaz Dating Group. “Consider topics that correlate with your interests: Where is your favorite place to travel? Who is at the top of your Spotify playlist? What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?” Diaz said, advising against bringing up touchy subjects like politics or religion right off the bat.
    • Pull inspiration from their profile
      • A quick scroll through their profile offers insight into interests you may share and creates a gateway to quality conversation. “Don’t be afraid to reference that cool hiking photo or silly prompt that made you swipe right to begin with,” Diaz said. If they posted a picture from Mexico City, you could say, “I’ve always wanted to go! What was the best thing you ate there?” If they mentioned that “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is their top show, you could ask about their favorite character or episode. And if something in their profile cracked you up, say so, Diaz suggested.
    • Play this or that
      • Another good opener that often gets a response is a simple “this or that” question, said OkCupid dating coach Damona Hoffman, host of the “Dates and Mates” podcast. “Chocolate chip or Oreo? Beer or wine? Dogs or cats? East Coast or West Coast rap? Pick something that you have a strong opinion about and whether or not you agree, you’ll almost always start an interesting conversation,” Hoffman told HuffPost.
  • Hope you join us as we dive into these Hot Topics and so much more on a Friday edition of GTU.