Back-to-School To-Do List: Middle School

Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on December 08, 2020

Preparing for School

Getting ready for a new school year means being highly organized. WebMD offers this to-do list to help you and your middle schooler make a smooth transition from summer to scholastics:

  • Call your child's school or check the school's web site for required supplies, absence policies, and school rules and dress codes.
  • Schedule a visit with the doctor's office for a flu vaccine and other vaccinations or exams required for school or sports activities.
  • Call your child's school or check its web site to prepare for enrolling your child. You may need proof of residence or vaccination records.
  • Prepare a plan for what to do if your child gets sick and has to stay home for a few days. Find out how to get lesson plans and assignments from your child's teachers, so your child can keep up.

Routines to Make Life Easier

  • Remind your child about pedestrian, biking, and bus safety. Insist they use cross walks, safe paths, and not walk behind buses -- adolescents are still at risk for accidents.
  • Encourage your child to walk, bike, or blade to places near home (with safety gear!).
  • Go over your expectations about lunch choices and agree upon acceptable after-school snacks.
  • Establish rules for when homework gets done and where. Talk about your expectations for how school fits in with extracurricular activities, socializing and game playing.
  • Work out mutually agreed upon expectations about after-school chores.
  • Set up a place in your home to put things that go to school (backpacks, papers, books, etc.). Take a few minutes before bed each night to put things there to reduce chaos in the morning.
  • One simple rule can reduce chaos and distractions in the morning: No TV before school.

Chats to Have With Your Adolescent

  • Find a quiet time to talk with your child about their feelings about starting school. Ask them about academic and social goals for the year.
  • Help keep your child healthy. Remind your child to cough and sneeze into a tissue or elbow or shoulder if a tissue isn't available. Also, talk about healthy hand washing and healthy sharing of personal items.
  • It's not too early. Talk with your child about important issues of adolescence: Internet safety, bullying and teasing, peer pressure, smoking, drugs, and alcohol.

Things to Buy for Your Adolescent

  • Have your child pick out basic school supplies, such as pencils, paper, computer supplies, binders, folders, a backpack, and lunch box.
  • Help your child choose mix-and-match school clothes. Be sure you have gym clothes and special shoes, if needed, as well as a jacket or coat.