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Post: Blog2_Post
  • Writer's pictureKirsten Smith

Parents Back to School Guide: A Checklist to Help You Prepare For The New School Year

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

Back to school for my family means trying to stay on some type of schedule and preparing my kids for the academic year with the right supplies and mindset. To ensure that my children get a good night’s rest, I try to have them in bed around 8 pm. Then they get a good breakfast in the morning and say positive affirmations before heading to school.

This year, whether your child is attending school for the first time or entering the next stage of their education, I suggest making a plan and discussing your expectations for the school year. School shopping, lunch box prep, bedtime routines, outfit planning, and school transportation are just some of the things you’ll need to think over before class is in session.

Luckily, in this guide, I’ll go over everything you need to know about the back-to-school season. Your kids should be fully prepared to thrive, learn, and grow this upcoming year!

Everything You Need to Know About Back-to-School Shopping

As parents, back-to-school shopping is one of the first things we think about. The right school supplies will help your kids succeed in the classroom. So, I’ll discuss back-to-school shopping in detail here. This way you can buy the right school materials, save money, and save time school shopping.

Shopping Checklists

Before I do any back-to-school shopping, I read the shopping checklist that my child’s school has provided. Usually, a teacher or the school district will send out a shopping list that tells you what school supplies you need to buy for the upcoming school year.

Look out for this so you don’t waste money on items your kids don’t need. You can also make your own checklist and write down additional school supplies that you plan on buying for your kids in preparation for your shopping trip.

Finally, some schools allow you to purchase supplies for your children through their school. I actually did this for the upcoming school year and saved a lot of money. So, consider this option for back-to-school shopping, as well.

Tax-Free Weekends

If you want to save even more money, I highly recommend going school shopping during tax-free weekends. Shopping during these weekends will allow you to buy school supplies without sales tax. This is great for parents that want to cut down costs and budget.

Tax-free weekends usually happen Saturday to Sunday or Friday to Saturday. In some cases, tax-free weekends will run all three days of the weekend. Some states even include online shopping as a part of tax-free weekends.

However, depending on which state you live in, the date of tax-free weekends will differ. Usually, they happen during the end of July or August, though. Check online to see the exact dates in your state. You can see when tax-free weekend starts here.

Wish List Items For Teachers

Along with getting school supplies for your children, I also suggest getting a few things for your child’s teacher! Many teachers have wish lists and are sending them out to parents this year. Feel free to help out and make your child’s classroom more exciting and enriching by donating a few items this year.

Each teacher will have different things they want to bring into the classroom. But, some wish list items to consider include:

  • Amazon gift cards

  • Stem Activities for kids

  • Children’s Books

  • Clorox Wipes

  • Paper Towels

  • Art Supplies

  • Dry Erase Clipboards

  • Mini Erasers

  • Highlighters

  • Gel Pens

Before School Starts

These next set of tips will help your kids adjust to school and get them on track for success before school starts. In my own experience, routine and consistency have made the school week easier and more manageable.

Set A Bedtime Routine

Transitioning from a summer schedule to a school schedule can be difficult. Get your child into a set bedtime routine. This way, they make it to school on time and have enough energy to get through the day.

It’s best to schedule a bedtime and wake-up time. This way your kids know exactly when they need to be in bed and when they should wake up. Start implementing this routine a week before school starts so they get used to it.

You can also practice getting ready for school by reenacting your child’s school routine the day before school starts. This includes having them brush their teeth at a certain time, going to bed, waking up, picking an outfit, eating breakfast, and brushing their teeth in the morning.

Prepare Clothes For The Week

Every parent wants their kids to look their best during their first week of school and beyond. We don’t all have the time to choose our kid’s clothes before school starts. I allow my children to pick out their clothes for the week on Sunday. That way, they can go into their classroom more confident and self-assured.

During this time you can also plan out outfits with your child. Ask them what they want to wear during their first week of school, and mix and match outfits to get them excited to go back to the classroom!

Pack Snacks The Night Before

Finally, once you have talked about clothes and their bedtime routine, start preparing some snacks for school. Healthy simple snacks can help fuel students and keep them focused and on task during the school day.

Packing snacks doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, I’ll talk about some healthy snack ideas for kids in the next section of this guide!

School Lunch

School lunch is another important part of back-to-school planning. Even if your child eats lunch prepared by their school, it’s crucial that you make a plan and provide your children with healthy meal options and snacks.

Healthy Snack Ideas For Kids

Here are some healthy snack ideas that can help fight your children’s hunger throughout the school day and keep them alert:

  • Apple slices with peanut butter

  • Fruit kabob with their favorite fruits

  • Popcorn mixed with pretzels

  • Assortment of nuts

  • Yogurt with a side of berries

  • Veggies chips or sticks

  • Almonds coated with dark chocolate

  • Celery sticks with cream cheese or peanut butter

  • Baby carrots with a side of ranch

  • Cheese and whole wheat crackers

  • Edamame

  • Homemade trail mix

  • Avocado and chips

Lunch Box Ideas For Kids (talk about bento lunch boxes, also add little notes in lunch)

If you pack your child’s lunch, then I have some easy lunch box ideas that are healthy and quick to prepare. School lunches aren’t always the most healthy choice for our kids. I’ve also included some nut-free options here:

Lunch Box Idea For Kids #1:

  • A side of carrots

  • Apple slices

  • Yogurt

  • Cheese stick

  • Hard-boiled eggs cut in half

  • Pretzels

Lunch Box Idea For Kids #2:

  • Granola bar

  • Side of grapes

  • Celery with peanut butter and raisins

  • Turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread

Lunch Box Idea For Kids #3:

  • Cheese and Crackers

  • Their favorite fruit as a side

  • Yogurt tube

  • Chicken nuggets (Antibiotic free)

  • A side of ketchup to dip their nuggets in

Lunch Box Idea For Kids #4:

  • Banana Bread

  • Orange slices

  • Pretzels and peanut butter

  • Cucumbers and ranch

  • Turkey wrap

Lunch Box Idea For Kids #5:

  • Bagel with ham spinach and cream cheese

  • Strawberries and kiwi slices

  • Edamame

  • Carrots and red pepper sliced up

Lunch Box Idea For Kids #6:

  • Pasta salad with veggies and feta cheese

  • Apple sauce

  • Grapes

  • Pistachio nuts

School Transportation

You also need to have a conversation with your child about their school transportation. If you are driving them to school, have a set time to leave the house. Otherwise, read through my tips on learning bus routes and bus safety.

Learn Bus Routes

A majority of children ride the bus to school. If you are planning to take your kids to the bus stop, learn the bus route and figure out where you will need to drop your child off and what time you should be at the bus stop.

Your child’s school should send you information about the bus schedule and the bus route ahead of time. Go over this with your kids to prepare. Set a time when you will leave the house. And try to arrive around five minutes early at their bus stop.

Then choose a spot where they will wait for the bus and where you will meet them when they get home from school.

Teach Your Children About School Bus Safety

Don’t forget to talk about bus safety with your child. School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation for students. However, walking to and from their bus stop can be dangerous! Discuss these dangers with your kids.

Getting On and Off The Bus:

  • You should have a meeting spot where you will drop off and pick up your child

  • Kids should stay at least six feet away from the curb when the bus is pulling in

  • Your child should be visible to the bus driver at all times

  • Kids should never walk behind the bus when they are getting on and off the bus

  • Kids should use the handrail when getting off and on the bus

  • Tell them to look both ways when walking across the street if they need to cross the road

Safety On The Bus:

  • Tell your child to stay seated for the duration of the bus ride

  • They should be respectful and keep noise to a minimum so the driver is not distracted

  • Keep arms and legs in the bus at all times and not dangling out the window

  • Don’t clog up the aisle with books and other school supplies

  • When getting off the bus, they should wait for the vehicle to stop completely

Final Thoughts

It’s never easy setting up a routine and making sure that your child has everything they need to succeed inside and outside the classroom. I know I always get a little anxious this time of the year with everything that is going on. But, hopefully, I was able to help you with some of my own tips and suggestions.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to talk to your kids as school starts up. You want to keep an open line of communication. Let them know that you are there for them and only want them to try their best this school year!

168 views2 comments


Jul 03, 2023

These are great tips I must say! It’s not easy setting up a routine to ensure your kids are well prepared to start the new session. Thanks for sharing this amazing post.


Jun 03, 2023

Great info! It’s such a huge time and transition and being prepared can ease those morning anxieties and rush making it a calmer experience for everyone

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