Back to school 101: checklist & tips

Got any plans for August? If you’re a parent of a school-age child, you know there’s a VERY big day to plan for—the first day of school! Here are our tips for acing the start of the new school year. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz afterward!

Prep for success

Necessary or “but I reallllllly NEED this”, these are our top items to check off your back-to-school shopping list:

  • Stationery and art supplies: pencils, crayons, markers, ruler, highlighters, tape, pencil sharpener, erasers, glue sticks, scissors and notebooks.
  • Tech and gadgets: laptop and/or tablet, headphones, mouse and calculator.
  • Organization essentials: calendar and/or planner, whiteboard, index cards, sticky notes, desktop organizers and folders.
  • Clothing and accessories: comfortable clothing, fall outerwear, warm accessories, socks and undergarments, backpack, sneakers and gym gear.
  • Lunch and personal care must-haves: lunch bags/lunch boxes, ice packs, reusable food storage containers, water bottles, hand sanitizer and facial tissue.
  • Extras for bonus points: stickers, desk decor, new sports equipment and electronic device covers.

Your child’s school will likely provide a list of recommended or required items as well (and you probably have many of these items already). When you do go shopping, include your child and let them pick out their supplies. It’ll help them feel even more prepared and excited for school!

Expect questions (including yours)  

“Will they like their teacher? Will they make friends? Will they return home with grape juice on their new tee?” are all possible questions you’ll ask. The first day of school is always a little scary—for you and your little ones. Your kids will be looking to you for guidance, so let them know what to expect! Tell them what the rhythm of the day will be and what interesting things they can take part in. Ask them questions about what they’re looking forward to and how they’re feeling. If you can, attend an orientation and meet the teachers so you can answer any questions your kids may have ahead of time. After all, knowing where the bathrooms are is reassuring at any age!

Aside from their birthday, this is possibly the most exciting day of the year for them. Playtime with friends and fun classroom activities are encouraging things to highlight if they’re apprehensive about going back.

Send them off in style

We don’t mean in their homemade tie-dye haute couture (though we fully support this too), but with some special activities to get them psyched for the big day.

  • Plan a family activity before their first day back. Picnics, movie nights or a backyard camping adventure are all easy to plan and are great ways to spend quality time together before getting back into the school routine.
  • Host a small back-to-school party and let your little scholar help plan it! Give them some responsibilities—like helping to choose the decorations and treats—to encourage them to think independently. Another thing they can help with? Choosing the invitations!
  • Set up a “first day of school” photo op. You can keep it simple with a whimsical handheld sign (we love classic chalkboard ones!) with the date, your child’s name, grade, age, favorite things, future aspirations and their teacher’s name. You can also opt for a large frame, small handheld props or even a full backdrop. No matter what you decide upon, you’re sure to capture a memory you’ll cherish forever.

We want to wish all returning students and proud parents a happy first day back! Enjoy making new friends, gaining new knowledge and creating precious memories.

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