It's difficult to remember everything you and your child need when school starts after a lazy summer. Stay organized with these back-to-school essentials.
Things to Get
___ School supplies. Most schools provide a list of supplies your child will need for school. Depending on your child’s grade, the list may include crayons and coloring books, or pens and multi-subject notebooks.
___ Wall calendar. A calendar in your kitchen, online, or on your mobile phone can help you keep track of important events like big tests, sports practices, rehearsals, and other school happenings.
___ Clothing essentials. Take a look in your children's closets and make a list of items that they need. Buy only the essentials. Kids’ fashion tastes tend to change in response to what other kids are wearing. It's better to take your child clothes shopping a week or two after school begins. One hint: It's a good idea to let your children choose their outfits for the first day of school.
___ Shoes. Start your child’s school year off with at least one sturdy pair of shoes. If the school day includes PE, make sure your children have good gym shoes too.
___ Backpack. Look for a pack that is not too heavy or too big for your child. It should have padding on the straps and back.
___ Lunch box. If your children bring their own lunch to school, let them pick out a new lunch box. That can get them excited for the first day.
___ Alarm Clock. Get an easy-to-use alarm clock for your child’s room and teach your child how to set it.
___ Back-to-school nutrition. Stock up on fruit, whole-grain bread, yogurt, and low-fat deli meat to keep your child fueled throughout the day. Prepare some dinners and freeze them so you simply heat them up on the first few nights.
___ Keep the receipts. Even with a list, it’s easy to buy the wrong type of notebook or pen by accident. Keep an envelope in your purse for receipts and coupons. This will make returns and exchanges a lot easier.
Things to Check
___ Dress code. Before you buy new school clothes, ask the school about its dress code. Some schools have policies against expensive accessories, others ban overly suggestive outfits.
___ Vaccines. Check with the school to see what immunizations your child needs. Even if you checked last year, check again. Children need different vaccines at different ages and vaccine schedules are frequently updated. Make sure you get an updated vaccine form from your doctor if your school needs it.
___ Back-to-school physical. When you get your child immunized, schedule a yearly physical at the same time. Whether or not school requires it, regular check-ups are an important part of your child’s overall health.
___ Permission forms. Each school has policies to follow and forms to fill out. Make sure to fill them out and return them before school begins.
___ Up-to-date contact information. If you’ve moved, changed jobs, or have a new cell phone number, make sure the school has your most current contact information.
___ Medical records. Make sure the school nurse knows about any medical issues, such as diabetes, asthma, or allergies that might need attention while your child is at school.
___ Open communication. If a developmental issue might interfere with your child’s performance in school, talk to a teacher or school counselor ahead of time. If they understand the situation, they’ll know how to respond if a problem arises.