Life Hacks

Back to School Checklist

With summer coming to an end, parents are often filled with mixed emotions. Whether you’re ready or not for your kids to return to school this fall, get them prepared the best you can with these back-to-school tips.

back to school checklist

#1 Donate Old Clothing

Before school shopping, clean out closets and decide what can and can’t survive this coming school year. Pull together different outfit options, and have your child learn how to coordinate and pair clothes together. Once you have old clothes out of the way, its’ time to take some inventory. Decide what you need to buy before you go and buy it. You may not need as many jeans or other items as you initially thought.  Now it’s time to go shopping!

#2 School Clothes Shopping

Wherever you decide to shop…shop when there’s deals. I often do next year’s summer shopping once fall rolls around. It’s a little hard to plan that far ahead, but I just buy the next sizes up. For each of my kids, I bring along this checklist to ensure we have all our clothing bases covered for fall:

4-5 Jeans/pants

5-7 new shirts



2-3 new pairs of shoes

1-2 hoodies


Pick 2-3 stores to shop at. If you want to go around to every single store in the mall, you’ll overspend, and chances are…exhaust your kids. Personally, kids look cute in almost anything. Don’t feel like you have to put them in all designer name brands. Target, TJ-Maxx, and Ross have super cute clothes for a ton less. Perhaps decide to buy one two more pricey items for picture day and other special events.

#3 Get Haircuts

If your kid is due for a haircut, get them in before everyone else starts thinking the same thing. My husband likes to get his money’s worth so the boys’ hair is usually cut shorter than I’d prefer. If you want your boy’s hair to grow out a little, get your haircut a few weeks before school starts. If you know when picture day is, that will be even more helpful so your kid’s hair is the length you’d like for school photos.

#4 Schedule Well-Checks

Once school starts, my brain goes out the window. I can’t remember every…single…thing my kids need, and a doctor’s visits doesn’t cross my mind until kids get sick. Schedule your child’s well-check before everything gets super busy.

#5 Visit the Dentist

Same things goes for scheduling dental appointments. Having your kids’ teeth fresh and perfect for school can help boost their confidence. Unless you’re much more diligent than I am in visiting the dentist, this is something I need on a back-to-school checklist.

#6 Get Everyone on Schedule

Push bedtime forward a little each night prior to school starting to ensure kids will be fully rested and energized. During summer, bedtime schedules sometimes go out the window…along with my brain, and if I don’t start getting everyone on a much more appropriate schedule about a week before school starts , mornings are much harder and my kids don’t start the day right.

#7 Arrange Car Pools/Pick-Ups

If you don’t plan on driving or picking your kids up from school, make sure they know their bus routes and who’s going to be responsible for them. Arranging these kinds of schedules keep me up at night. I’m less stressed if I know how everything’s going to work out, and my kids are on the same page.

#8 School Lunch Account/Home Lunches

Make sure you’ve paid any fees and what not to have your student’s lunch account current. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to have your child squared away at lunch time. Check with your school for menu’s, reduced lunch discounts, and more.  If you pack a lunch, there are awesome home lunch ideas all over the web. I wanted my kids to have home lunch because it looked so fun to put such cool combinations together. If you really want…check out Pinterest and search school lunch ideas. Have a hay day because you will go nuts and be pinning ideas for hours.

#9 Meal Plan Healthy Breakfasts

I’m no Betty Crocker, and sometimes during the summer, my kids scrounge for something to eat for breakfast. Now that school is starting up again, I try to put more effort into breakfast. I ask my kids what would be good breakfast items….I then have to ex mac n’ cheese, from the list, but we make a simple breakfast menu we can all live with. It usually looks something like this:

Monday: Cereal and fruit

Tuesday: French toast and bacon

Wednesday:  granola bars

Thursday: Cereal and fruit

Friday: granola bars

A few days before school starts, make sure you have a week’s worth of breakfast and lunch items (if you pack your kids a home lunch). Also think about after school snacks. Kids will be hungry, so get a few things at the store to tie them over until dinner.

#10 Meet Your Child’s Teacher

Chances are you’ll attend a back-to-school night or some function to meet your kids’ teachers. Make sure your child looks them in the eye when they first meet them, and check to see if you know any other moms or neighborhood kids in the class. My kids always feel more at ease if they know someone. I usually don’t go school supply shopping unless I know for certain what the teacher wants. There are always basic school supply lists, and it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra items at home if you go that route. In the past, teachers have provided most, if not all school supplies, and what is on the list is much appreciated, but optional.

If I plan ahead and don’t wait until last minute or a few days before school starts to do all these things, I’ve noticed everyone is much more relaxed and in return, we start the school year off with a much bigger bang.

Do you have any back-to-school rituals?  Thanks for stopping by, and I hope your family has a great school year!


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