My kids asked me to hide their new school supplies because they’re not ready to think beyond summer yet. But the transition from the lazy days of summer to the fall routine is always smoother (and cheaper) with some pre-planning and shopping now.
Kidoinfo Back to School Checklist
Most schools require an immunization record for every student. Make sure you get a copy from your child’s doctor and bring it on the first day of school (or whatever deadline set by the school). If your child has allergies, you should notify the school principal, nurse, your child’s teacher(s), etc. in writing.
Once kids start grade school, they’ll need a sturdy backpack that is built to last. If they are heading to school for the first time, help get your kids excited by personalizing their backpack or school bag with decorations, patches, or iron-on transfers, or stash a secret message or picture inside for them. Make sure to clearly mark your child’s name on the bag.
There is a lot to choose from. Select one that is easy for your child to carry or that fits inside a backpack. Label it with your child’s name — a sharpie marker usually works well. Recent studies from the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) have shown that some vinyl lunchboxes may contain lead. Find out more from CEH. Some lunchboxes are now labeled “lead-free,” but CEH cannot affirm that these labels are accurate and recommend that parents test lunchboxes with a lead swabbing kit to ensure that their child’s lunchbox is safe. Find out how to test your lunch box. Have extra icepacks on hand and plastic containers for food storage.
Once you get a list of school supplies keep it handy in your purse so you can pick things up when you are out doing errands. Supplies will vary depending on the school and age of student but they may include a pencil case, crayons, markers, binders, and assignment book.
Chances are kids will need a good pair of everyday shoes and a pair of sneakers.
Check if your school has a uniform policy before shopping for new clothes. Some schools have guidelines for what they do not allow students to wear (e.g., flip flops, T-shirts with logos, jeans). Because of growth spurts I try to not buy their clothes too far in advance. Make sure your kids have all-weather gear — from rain to snow so they can enjoy the time outdoors.
Change of clothes:
Keeping a change of clothes for kids in school is a good idea. Whether they are at preschool and potty training or a kindergartner who gets soaked in a mud puddle, an extra set of socks, underwear, shirts, and pants may come in handy.
Essential binder for parents:
- Set up a 3 ring binder with essential info.
- School calendar
- PTO information
- General school reminders
- After school activities
- Phone Numbers
- Separate section for each kids class, listing with class events and reminders
Set up a designated area in your house where kids can do their homework. Whether it is the kitchen table or a desk in their room, have a place for their school supplies — pencils, paper, scissors, etc.
Backpack – School Supplies:
Lots of deals for back to school now. Even if you do not have a specific list of items from the school – stock up now when things are on sale.
- Items like: scissors, gluesticks, crayons/ pencils/markers, #2 pencils, erasers, sharpener, white out, wipes, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, folders, composition books, 1 subject notebooks, water bottle, lunchbox
A nice back to school gift for the teacher is to stock up on classroom supplies -Â Kleenex boxes, Clorox wipes, pencils
Preparing Kids for School
Preparing for the first day of school will make the transition a bit easier. Whether your kids are starting preschool or kindergarten or transitioning to a new grade or new school, these tips may be helpful.
Practice going to school.
Get familiar with the route and the routine before the first day of school. Point out fun landmarks along the way.
Get them used to separation.
If your kids are not accustomed to being apart from you, it’s wise to begin the process. A few weeks before school starts, have grandparents or a babysitter watch your child for several hours. Arrange drop-off playdates for your child. The critical point is demonstrating that you’ll come back for them at the appointed time and place.
Meet kids in the class.
- Find out the names of their classmates. Schedule playdates or see if the school or parents association has arranged any class gatherings before the first day.
- Give children control over what they can control.
- Let them make simple choices like picking the color of their backpack or their outfit on the first day of school.
Teach them the basics.
- Help your child learn their name, address and phone number.
- Give them a reminder of home.
- Hang a family photo of your family from your child’s backpack or place one inside. Or let them stash a special keepsake inside their bag.
Describe what will happen on the first day.
Sometimes it is hard for children to imagine what it will be like at a new school or in a new grade. Talk to them about the sequence of events in their day so they can form a mental picture in their head and ease their tension.
Read books about starting school.
I Am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child (ages 4-8)
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (ages 3-5)
My Kindergarten by Rosemary Wells
Ask your child specific questions, such as:
“What do you think the hardest part of school is going to be?”
“Is there anything that worries you about starting school?”
“What are you really looking forward to?”
Beware of what you promise.
Try not to make promises about things you cannot control.
- For example: “You will love your teacher and make lots of new friends.” Although we wish this for our children, we do not want to set them up for disappointment.
Start going to bed earlier.
One or two weeks before school begins, start to emulate your school routine — which may mean going to sleep earlier or waking up earlier.
Learn about the drop-off policy.
Find out if the school allows/encourages parents to walk into their child’s classroom and how long they can stay. If you anticipate that your child will need extra time to adjust, talk to the teacher before school starts, if you can.
Create a first-day-of-school tradition.
Make a special breakfast, take a photo of your child ready for school in front of the house, or plan a special snack when they come home.
Plan ahead how you will say goodbye.
What does your child need? What will be most helpful for you and them to make the transition — a quick hug or five minutes of cuddle time?
- Unpack backpacks after school – clean out lunch boxes, empty water bottles, designated area for school notes/homework.
- Pack the backpack the night before
- Pack lunches the night before or leave time in the morning
- Make bed
- Get dressed
- Brush teeth
- Playtime (if there is time)