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The ultimate back to school checklist

Table of Contents
Keep track of important dates Purchase supplies earlier, rather than later Get medical checkups Arrange transportation Reduce screen time Get into school mode Final details and arrangements (one week before)

Sit down and brace yourself, because the back to school season is right around the corner. Have you started to panic? Every September, parents often find themselves facing new hectic schedules to coordinate. Having a plan and sticking to it is the best way to navigate this busy season.

Whether you are preparing your child for their very first day of school or this has begun to feel routine, avoid the madness and use our checklist to stay organized and save money this year.


Keep track of important dates

Make sure you keep a record of important dates throughout the year. Get yourself a copy of the school calendar and take note of those details. This can include Christmas holidays, professional activity (P.A.) days, and the exact date and time that school starts. If you keep track ahead of time, you will avoid rushing around the morning of.

Purchasing a family calendar to put in a visible location makes for a great organization tool. Include your children, and have them write down their commitments such as extra-curriculars and birthday parties. When it’s time to go back to school, use the calendar to work together and note due dates of important projects, major tests and vacation days.


Purchase supplies earlier, rather than later

Buy your children’s school supplies early. Before you wander through the store wondering if your child needs that pack of glitter pens, create a shopping list. Know what school supplies are required, prioritize certain items, and keep in mind that you can also reuse items from previous years. Backpacks only need to be replaced every few years, and any leftover pens can be used up before you go and purchase a brand-new set. Make sure you are aware of your child’s school’s dress code or uniform policy as well.

Keep your eyes open for back-to-school deals online. Having your supplies delivered to your home will save you from waiting in lines and excessive crowds. This little bit of planning will go a long way in the mayhem that is the back to school season. Having a list will be easier, faster and will save you money.

While your list may vary, here are some items that are sure to come in handy:

  • Lunch boxes and water bottles – personalized or with name tags
  • Gym attire (don’t forget about hair ties and extra socks)
  • Binders, notebooks and folders
  • Pencil cases
  • USB flash drives
  • Coloured pencils, crayons and markers
  • Pens, pencils and erasers
  • A ruler
  • Sticky notes and index cards


Get medical checkups

Bring your children in for a checkup! Visit your family pediatrician and make sure your children are up to date are required vaccinations. It’s also a good idea to have their vision double-checked as well, just in case there are any potential problems with seeing the teacher’s writing on the board. Make sure you have a copy of any medical forms as well. 


Arrange transportation

Arrange your child’s transportation to and from school. Do they take the bus? Do you need to drive them? Will they take public transit? Make sure the whole family learns the schedule. Go over the time and drop-off points, so they know where and when to wait. You can also encourage them to wait at the bus stop with a friend after school. It’s crucial you stress to your children never to accept rides from strangers.


Reduce screen time

During the school year, after-school hours are often reserved for homework and any extra-curricular activities. Begin to limit your children’s screen time in the weeks leading up to school. The sooner you get into this routine and have your children turn off the TV, the sooner they will turn on their minds. Bonus, there will be less of a homework hassle in the upcoming months.


Get into school mode

It can be difficult transitioning from spending your days in the sun to sitting in a classroom. Help tone your children’s mental muscles with games, brainteasers, and word scrambles to help them get into schoolwork mode. Make sure any summer work that was assigned is completed as well. It may also be helpful to review last year’s report card(s). Unless you address any problems over the summer, there is a possibility that they may return. Sit down with your child and make a plan to address problem areas earlier rather than later.

Begin to implement an earlier bedtime too if summer had a lot of late nights. Having a set routine before the first day back helps your children rise and shine with minimal complaints. If your child can tell time, an alarm clock may be a great addition to their bedroom. If they can’t, a digital clock will do the trick – it can help them develop essential organization and management skills they’ll need throughout the school year. Having an alarm clock also helps children take ownership of their time and assist with rushed and hectic mornings.

Another way to develop your children’s organizational habits is allowing them to pick out their outfits for the following day. Having everything ready the night before also helps cut down on last-minute scrambles.


Final details and arrangements (one week before)

School days are officially in sight! It’s time to focus on the day-to-day details. If you can, plan outfits for the first week, and have backpacks packed and ready to do without any stress. We also recommend preparing lunch ideas in advance and make your grocery list accordingly. If needed, bring your children to the hairdresser to be fresh for the big day.

Having a successful school year begins with the right preparation. Getting started early will help make the back to school process easier on both yourself and your children. When the first day back arrives, send your little ones to school with little stress using this checklist. Don’t worry – summer vacation will be here again before you know it. If your schedule has freed up exponentially, why don’t you spend the next three minutes building a financial plan with Planswell? We can help you with all aspects of you and your children’s financial future.


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