What to Prep Now So The Kids (and You) are Ready for Back-to-School

It can be so hard to start thinking about school mid-summer when we’re experiencing sunny, 80-degree days and 9pm sunsets. Who wants to ruin the summer vibe by making a back-to-school checklist?! The reality is that the kids won’t be doing that—so it’s going to have to fall on you, the parent. Get some of these tasks done now, and ease the stress and hectic nature of the kids’ transition back to school.

1.  Purge the kids’ closets and dressers.

  • Something about summertime (sun? extra snacks? extra sleep?) makes kids grow like weeds, and it’s pretty much a certainty that much of last year’s clothes won’t fit for the coming school year. 
  • Before hitting the online and mall stores, make room for their new clothes and shoes. (Pro tip: Do not proceed to #2 on this list until you do this!) Make three purge piles:
    • One pile for hand-me-downs; clothes that will go to a younger sibling, cousin, neighbor, or friend.
    • A second pile for donations; clothes that are a little too worn for hand-me-downs, but still have some life in them.
    • A third pile for disposal, for clothes too worn, damaged, or stained to re-wear. This can go to Ridwell, Threadcycle, or a local group doing textile recycling.

2.  Do school clothes shopping.

Once you’ve completed #1 on this list, there will be more room for your child’s new clothes! You will also know what you do need to buy, and what you don’t—save money and avoid repetition. 

3.  Replenish school supplies stash.

Go online and download the supplies list from your child’s elementary school teacher. For middle and high school kiddos, they often don’t find out about specific items until the first week of school (e.g., a TI graphic calculator, lab goggles, art portfolio). Replenish the basics they always need, such as writing utensils, Elmer’s glue, tape, pens and/or crayons, ruled notebook paper, and binders. If you can, involve your kiddo in this task—they’ll be more excited about it if they get to choose certain things!

4.  Set up or reset a homework station.

Set your kiddos up for success with a dedicated homework station, whether it’s in their bedroom, a study room or corner, or part of your kitchen. This gives them a spot to focus on schoolwork; hopefully with as few distractions as possible! If you’ve already got one, it probably just needs a reset and a restocking of supplies.

5.  Sort out the lunch situation.

Figure out if you need new or additional reusable lunch bags, water bottles, and food containers. Make this the year you eliminate most (if not all) single-use plastics (Earth says, Thank you!). Then follow our guide on how to streamline the morning lunch crunch!

6. Clean out last year’s backpacks.

Crossing my fingers that you don’t find an old banana from the last day of school! Clear it out, clean it out, and have it sharp and ready for the new school year. (Safety tip: Don’t have your child’s name displayed and visible from afar on the exterior of their bag.)

7.  Plan out some things ahead of time.

Trust me, you do not want to be making these decisions on the first morning of the school year! A few days before school begins:

  • Pick out outfits with your kiddo. For some children this is a big deal, and getting to wear your new duds to school on day one is always so fun! Having a couple of outfit options is a great idea—they can go with the one that feels right on the big day.
  • Shop with your child so they have input on what kinds of food they’d like in their lunches. Tastes change, and they may have new faves and not-faves. This will actually make it more likely for them to eat up their lunch.
  • Get their backpack filled and ready to go the day before, at the latest. Running around looking for things on the first day would not be ideal!

About two weeks before the first day, start transitioning bedtimes and waking times towards the school days norm. Three days before the first day of school, they should be going to bed and waking up at school days norm. This will make the adjustment less drastic.


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