25 Back-To-School Tips & Free Printables
No one wants to think about back-to-school in the middle of summer. But, checking a few tasks off your back-to-school to-do list every week between now and September means you’ll get it all done WITHOUT any last minute rushing.
I’ve put together 25 tips, a timeline and free printables to ensure you get to enjoy the last few weeks of summer AND roll into the new school year relaxed, organized and ready!
1 Month Before School Starts:
1) Schedule doctor and dentist visits if necessary.
2) Go through children’s clothes and make a list of what’s needed.
3) Go through school supplies and make a list of what needs to be re-stocked.
TIP: If you’re not sure what’s needed, some safe bets include pencils, pencil sharpener, pencil crayons, eraser, glue sticks, paper/notebooks, and a pencil case/box. Don’t forget to add hand sanitizer and masks (because Covid is still here).
4) Pull out backpacks, lunch boxes, lunch containers, thermoses and water bottles and make a list of what needs to be replaced.
TIP: If you can, make packing lunches easier with a lunch packing zone: one location where you keep lunch boxes, containers, utensils, water bottles and thermoses.
5) Streamline lunch making further by keeping all lunch items together in your cupboard/pantry.
TIP: Store lunch snacks where children can reach them and involve them in the process. If they choose what’s going in the lunch, they’re more likely to eat it!
6) Assess your label situation and order more if running low.
TIP: Label makers like Mabel’s Labels and Oliver’s Labels run fundraising programs where the school gets a percentage of each order. Check for the “Support a Fundraiser” button, usually at the top right of the screen, and choose your school.
7) Start planning some easy make-ahead freezer dinners that will make the first week back to school a little less hectic while everyone adjusts to new routines.
2-3 Weeks Before School Starts:
8) Purchase wardrobe, school and lunch supplies.
9) Make a “paper drop off” location, a spot for all school and extracurricular activity forms, notices, permission slips, newsletters, fundraising etc. for you to review or to upload for virtual learners.
TIP: A paper tray, magazine holder, or basket on the counter, all work great.
10) Stop art and school work you keep from becoming clutter on your fridge, counters or tables with a storage plan BEFORE they enter your home.
For short-term storage of school work and art as it comes in the home, a simple bin is an easy system than provides a designated home. When the bin is full, it’s time to go through it and choose what pieces to keep long-term.
My favourite way to store pieces that are being kept long-term is in a file box with tabs for each year. It provides a home, keep the papers organized AND establishes limits on how much you can keep.
11) Create a homework/school caddy or school station. Having a defined place to work that has all the needed supplies minimizes distractions and improves focus and productivity.
12) Make hair appointments for the week before school.
13) Start a conversation with your child(ren) about back-to-school. Remind them that although many Covid safety precautions are no longer mandatory, it’s still good practice to sanitize/wash hands often.
1 Week Before School Starts:
14) Get hair cuts.
15) Stock up on snacks/non-perishables for lunches.
16) If you do first-day-of-school pictures or records, decide where you’re going to do the picture and make sure you have all props, boards, signs and papers etc. Here is a link to some fun and easy photo ideas put together by unoriginalmom.com. And here are the first and last day sheets from yellowblissroad.com that I use.
TIP: Print out all the school years at once and keep in a designated home. This will prevent you from trying to remember where to find the printable you use at the start and end of each year!
17) Add labels to everything. Don’t forget the masks.
18) Ease kids back into school morning and evening routines.
TIP: If new circumstances mean new routines, talk to your child(ren) and get their input. When they’re involved in the conversation, they’ll feel more comfortable and be more likely to get on board.
A Few Days Before School Starts:
19) Have your child(ren) decide the first-day-of-school outfit (to avoid having to wash it at 9 p.m. the night before).
20) If you’re using a camera, make sure it’s charged and has an SD card in it.
1 Day Before School Starts:
21) Put your camera and any props in the picture location.
22) Pack backpack(s) the night before.
23) Pack lunch(es) the night before.
24) Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you think you need to.
TIP: While following the above tips will have you organized for the first day, you don’t know how kids will react or how quickly they’ll move. Setting the alarm 15 minutes early provides a cushion to deal with any “variables” and still get out the door on time without rushing.
1st Day of School
25) Get child(ren) up, fed and dressed. Take the picture, hug and send them on their way!
Follow these 25 back-to-school tips to coast into this school year relaxed, organized and ready. Click here for your free one-page checklist and shopping lists.
Did you look forward to back-to-school as a kid? Let me know in the comments below. If you found this post helpful, please share it!