Fall is rapidly approaching, which means that soon you’ll be crunching through autumn leaves and drinking hot apple cider. It also means the first day of school is just around the corner. When you’re preparing your kids—and your entire family—for the start of another school year, there are lots of things to get ready. Here are a few key things to check off on your back to school checklist. These reminders are useful for elementary school all the way to high school!
Free Printable Back To School Checklist
I have made this handy dandy back to school checklist so that you can go ahead and print out now. Then, stick on the refrigerator so you can check things off as you prepare for the start of school. Whether this is your first time getting ready or your 12th, it is nice to have this free checklist to help you get off to great start each school season.
Drag the image onto your desktop screen, click on it, then click on file, and print. Or you can print the pdf version.
I am also providing a more in depth dive into how parents can get ready for back to school below. I hope you find these back to school preparation tips helpful. They go beyond the checklist to give you personal advice from my experience with back to school. Preparing in advance can help you take advantage of the good deals on things as you come across them.
Back To School Vaccinations
There is no federally mandated rule on vaccinations, which means each state’s laws are different. Check with the CDC or find your state’s rules, and read any paperwork you receive from your child’s school carefully. Neglecting to get even one of the required vaccines (unless you have filled out the appropriate opt out form) can result in your child getting sent home on the first day. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure their vaccination status is up to par well in advance. Also, be sure to check with your school district to find out the most up to date information on if they require face covering masks.
Most schools have great websites now. Visit your school’s website and look through all the pages, especially those for new students. Even if your children have gone to the same school forever, check start and end times for the day to be sure they haven’t changed. Look at the school calendar, the lunch menu, and for open house information. Look into uniform specification if your school requires uniforms. If they don’t, check into dress codes. This will ensure that the money you spend on back to school clothes isn’t a waste. The school’s website will offer you so much information over the school year. Bookmark it for use all year long!
Visit the School
Teachers and office staff are usually at the school during the last weeks of summer vacation. Most public schools are open for parents and students to visit, drop off paperwork that is needed, and for other various reasons. If your family is new to the area or if you have children who are new to school stop in for a visit. Walk children through the halls and learn where classrooms and bathrooms are, where the gym and lunchroom is, where the library, offices, and other important parts of the building are. Kids who know their way around will feel more confident and comfortable. Even if your kids aren’t new to school, they will need to know where their classrooms and lockers are located. You may even have the added bonus of meeting a few of your child’s teachers in advance.
Whether it is creating a homework area or hanging hooks for backpacks, make sure you are organized. Have a place for pretty much everything. This way, your kiddos can’t say they don’t know where to put things or that they can’t find them when they need them. Staying organized and keeping things tidy helps me to keep my sanity (well at least some of it).
Make sure your kids know where lunch bags go when they get home from school, where to put important papers that have been sent home, where to find spare school supplies and any other items they may need. Have a tote or a crate for each child in your entryway or mudroom. That way they can keep their hats, gloves, and other belongings in one place. This way, things are less likely to get mixed up with siblings if you have multiple children. This will make grabbing things easier when it’s time to get ready in the morning.
Back To School Electronics
As we all know, technology is an important part of any child’s education. This is a great time of year to buy a new computer or other top tech your child may need, as many retailers are offering deals on computers for students. Do a little research before you pull the trigger. Make sure you know exactly what specs you’re looking for in a new machine. Ask your tech geek friend or neighbor for help if you need it when completing this part of your back to school checklist. Numerous technology bargains are available right now for those willing to do some hunting.
Back to School Clothes
One of the most simultaneously exciting and harrowing experiences of the back-to-school experience is shopping for school clothes. Kids love donning fresh attire as a hallmark of the new school year. However, parents and their offspring often don’t always see eye-to-eye on clothing selections. (As Will Smith once so eloquently put it, “Mom, please put back the bell bottom Brady Brunch trousers.”) Here again, make sure you go over the paperwork from your child’s school with a fine-toothed comb. Make sure you’re adhering to any and all clothing restrictions before you purchase new school outfits.
Back To School Supplies
And now for the fun part: pens and pencils and paper, oh my! Your child’s teacher will likely have a list of classroom-related items to procure, so make sure you bring a school supply list with you when you go shopping. And look for the deals available on these items as well; you’re sure to find some money-saving sales in the weeks leading up to the first day of school. You can find school supplies at all sorts of stores from you local grocery store to big box major retailers or office supply stores. Look for mailers to let you in on the big savings.
One last tip for your back-to-school shopping: At least 17 states will be offering tax holidays in July and August, during which shoppers purchasing school supplies will not be charged sales tax. Check to see if this is available in your state; if not, you might consider traveling to a nearby state offering such a holiday. You could save quite a bit of money—which could then be spent on more school supplies!
Best of luck to you and your children as you embark on the fun and excitement of another school year. Procuring the supplies necessary for another semester or two is challenging, but with some research and careful planning when completing your back to school checklist, you can find some great deals and save a significant amount of your hard-earned cash.
Get Enough Sleep
This goes for kids and parents. Summer often means we’re all staying up later and sleeping in. Getting back on a schedule that works for school days can be really tough. I like to get everyone back in the groove at least 2 weeks before school starts. Ensuring that your kids get the recommended amount of sleep is absolutely essential to a successful start of the school year.
As a general rule the older kids get the less sleep they need. Also the older they get the later they usually stay up due to commitments with homework, sports, and social life. Kids ages 3-6 need approximately 10-12 hours of sleep. Kids 7-12 should have 10-11 hours of sleep each night. Furthermore, kids that are older, 12-18 years of age require 8-9 hours. A school-year bedtime routine is so important. Depending on when your child has to be up in the morning, adjust bedtime accordingly.
Prepare the Night Before
From lunches to clothes, preparing the night before makes the next day much smoother. Have kids bring their dirty clothes to the laundry room and get the clothes for the next day picked out and ready. If they are young and bathe at night, make sure they do so. Have children help clean out lunch bags and wash lunch containers as well as prepare and pack lunches and snacks for the following day. Make sure homework is complete and that anything that needs to be checked and signed has been taken care of. Help younger children repack backpacks and make sure older children have done the same.
Set Rules and Expectations
We all work better when we know what the rules and expectations are. Make sure that kids know what is expected early on. Let them know when they should be getting up for school, if you expect them to do any chores before school, what is an acceptable breakfast, if they’ll be walking to school or riding the bus, or being driven and when they need to leave. Make sure children know where they are supposed to go after school and what they should be doing when school is out.
Does homework come first, a snack, or can they play outside for a while first? Are they allowed to watch television before homework is done? Do you want them to change into play clothes as soon as they get home or can they stay in their school clothes. When should chores be done? Go over the rules and expectations and remind them gently as they get used to the new routine.
Ready For Back To School
The end of summer is near. Are you and your kids ready for school to start back up? For us we are starting earlier than we have in years and I’m not really sure that I’m ready for summer to be over just yet. I know that my kids are looking forward to going back to school in a lot of ways but in many I know that they aren’t quite ready yet. We’ve been trying to get prepared, trying to get on a routine that is more like our school day schedule so that when it’s time it won’t be quite so painful. These Back to School Tips to Get Prepared have helped us and hopefully will help you and your family get ready for school to start too!
I hope you found my printable Back To School Checklist helpful as well as some of my other school preparation tips. I hope you feel prepared for a great school year. Back to school doesn’t have to be stressful, if you’re well prepared!
Did you find any great back to school deals or have any tips you want to share to get prepared for back to school time?