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A Back-to-School Checklist for Moms

Summer is well underway and flying by, which means one thing: school resumes soon (and already has, for some!). Retailers are pumping out back-to-school ads and school districts are sending out info about the upcoming academic year. They’re getting ready for back to school, but what about you and the kiddos, mama? Swapping the lazy days of summer for the bell times of autumn can be hard for everyone, but a little preparation can make the transition back to school easier on kids and parents alike.

We’ve compiled seven ways to ease everyone in your household into the back-to-school mindset. Start making some small changes now, and the back-to-school transition will be that much smoother!

Back-to-School Checklist for Moms and Kids

  1. School Skills Refresher: It’s always helpful to get back in the mindset of structured learning with some school-like assignments. Encourage your child to crack open a book (Scholastic’s Bob Books are great for beginning readers) and read to you. Or s/he can brush up on math and other basics with worksheets like these free printables from
  2. Do Some Shopping: Between school supplies, new clothes, shoes, and gear, outfitting your little for back to school is expensive–according to Consumer Reports, families spend an average of $900 per child on school stuff, wow! To save some cash, shop smart by comparison price shopping (try an app like ShopSavvy).  Also consider deferring some purchases until after school begins and items go on sale.
  3. Check Your Child Care: Is your child care situation changing once school starts? Do a double-check to make sure you’re all set for before and afterschool care. If a relative is going to be dropping off or picking up your child, they’ll need info about start/end times and location. Be sure to communicate these plans with your child’s school as well.
  4. Talk About Transportation: Walking, driving, busing: How’s your child getting to and from school? If it’s the bus, take a walk to your bus stop and time how long it takes to get there. Teach your little his or her bus number and the names of the street where the stop is located.  Pin this info inside your child’s backpack, plus your contact info in case s/he somehow misses the stop. And don’t forget to review bus safety and appropriate schoolbus behavior with your child.
  5. Plan Out Breakfast and Lunch: A good breakfast is so important for your school-bound kids. Studies going back to the 1950s show that children who eat breakfast do better at school. Have some quick options on hand like microwavable breakfast sandwiches, cereal bars, and ready-made smoothies for easy grab and go. And if your little will be taking a bag lunch to school, try to pack it the night before. (Also, make sure buy a cool lunchbox, here are our picks). You’ll thank yourself in the morning!
  6. Start Socializing: Getting together with school friends and classmates can help your child get excited about heading back to school. Drop by any  playdates, ice cream socials, or picnics that your PTSA might be organizing. If it’s your child’s first year attending this school, see if you can visit for a tour and meet the teachers.
  7. Get on Schedule: Those lazy summer schedules, with flexible bedtimes and no-alarm mornings, unfortunately don’t jive well with early bell times! A week or so before school starts is a good time to resume the practice of going to bed at an earlier time. Check this helpful chart to see how many hours of sleep kids need by age so you can set an appropriate bedtime.

When does school start for your kids? What are you doing to help get them ready to go back to school?

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