A Comprehensive Back to School Checklist
Author: Alyssa Craig
August is here and you can practically smell the “bouquets of sharpened pencils”, as Meg Ryan so eloquently states in the classic “You’ve Got Mail”. It is time to get the kids ready for another school year jam packed with last minute projects, forgotten permission slips,and after school activities. Keep the following checklist items in mind as you rush around making your preparations.
- Purchase School Supplies – Many schools provide specific school supply lists, so if you can, acquire their list before the summer ends. Don’t forget the basics – pencils, erasers, notebooks, and folders. Most teachers have to use their own money for classroom supplies (and for those students who cannot afford to buy their own), so if you can buy some extra supplies to donate to the class it is greatly appreciated.
- Planner – If you child is old enough to start managing their own time consider buying them a planner where they can keep track of assignments and tests coming up. Older children should absolutely have a planner, as they will have more deadlines and responsibilities to handle.
- Backpack – Did you know that backpack sizes are determined on the user’s weight? Make sure you are buying the appropriate size for your child to keep their back healthy.
- Travel to and from School – If you are part of a carpool system, get it set up before the school year gets underway. It will save you a lot of headache to have it laid out in advance. If your child will be taking the bus, particularly if it is their first time, practice the bus pick up and drop off routine, and discuss proper bus etiquette as well.
- Summer Reading/Homework – Many teachers assign reading assignments or short reports to be due the first day of classes. With all of the excitement of summer, it is possible your child may have forgotten to complete it. Double check with your child that all summer assignments have been started and they have ample time to finish them.
- Get a Haircut – If your child has school pictures or ID pictures being taken or simply wants to make a good first impression, consider taking them in for a quick trim.
- Purchase School Clothes – If your kids are still young and growing, take this into account when buying new clothes for the school year. It will be more cost effective to buy things like pants a little bit long than to have to buy new pants a few months into the school year. Make sure any gym shoes are in good shape to support their exercise and prevent injury.
- Annual Check Up with Pediatrician – Make sure your child is up to date on all their immunizations. Many schools require these to be completed before the school year starts.
- Dentist Appointment – Along with a regular doctor’s checkup, make sure you get in for a dentist appointment. It is particularly helpful to find a dentist who has experience working with children like this one for example.
- Eye Doctor – Take your child in for their annual eye doctor appointment. If they need glasses or an updated prescription, it is best to know before the school year starts so poor eyesight does not hinder their academic performance.
- Stock Up on Healthy Snacks – Healthy eating is essential for proper body and brain development. Plan in advance and have healthy snacks on hand for after school nutrition!
- Buy a Family Planner/Calendar – With school also comes many practices, performances, games, and other extracurricular activities. Buy a planner or calendar you can keep in a common area (like the kitchen) to keep track of everyone’s obligations and better manage the busy school year. It is much easier to start off organized than to try and create organization once the craziness ensues.
- School Sleep Schedule – Rules tend to relax a little bit during the summer months, so to help your kids get back into a regular sleep schedule, start enforcing a school year bedtime at least one week before school starts. This will help them to already be adjusted by the time the school year starts and help them to be more alert in class.
- Set Up a Homework Area – Find an area of the house – whether it is an office, the kitchen table, or a desk in their room – and help them get the area ready by making sure it has the supplies necessary. By helping you to prepare for it, your child will feel greater ownership over the space and take the work they do there more seriously.
Hopefully this checklist will ensure you do not forget any of the essentials to help you make the transition from summer to school year as smoothly as possible. Good luck!