Thousands of kids across the River Valley are getting ready to head back to school Monday morning.
"I'm going to see all of my new friends," said Andrew Hammond, who is going to be a second-grader at City Heights Elementary in Van Buren.
Andrew and his older brother Mitchell already have their bags packed and set out by the front door.
"I've got three binders, and lots of folders, and pencils and a pencil holder," said Mitchell Hammond, a soon-to-be seventh grader.
With the new school year comes new school supplies, new clothes and even a new pair of shoes for each of the boys.
Families are spending an average of $689 to get their kids ready for back to school, according to the National Retail Federation. That number's up from $604 last year.
Statistics from the National Retail Federation show the majority of money being spent is going to buy fall clothes. In fact, only about $100 on average was spent on school supplies.
Paige Hammond says she's not surprised by those numbers. She says it adds up fast once you buy a backpack, the supplies, clothes and shoes for the first day.
"I'm just excited to be back," said Hammond.
She plans to put the boys to bed early Sunday night, so they'll be well rested for their first day. She said she'd advise other parents to do the same.
Another piece of advice: Know that traffic will be heavier Monday morning with school buses on the road and parents taking their kids to school.