And just like that, the 4th of July is a distant memory and the first day of school is right around the corner. In the midst of all the summer chaos, it’s often hard to know where to start to make sure your family is organized for the school year. Here are 15 steps to ensure you’re ready:
2-4 Weeks Before School Starts:
1. Complete and submit all back-to-school forms. Do a quick check to make sure you know what forms you need and get those finalized early.
2. Make sure kids have all summer reading lists and books. Kids of most ages can take ownership of this piece. It’s probably a good idea to check in though; make sure they have all the materials they need and are working through them.
3. Get school supply lists for all kids. Many schools and teachers provide their own which can include important information on must-haves and must-nots.
4. Find out when (if) your state has a tax free school supply weekend and calendar it.
5. Go through all kids’ closets to get rid of clothes that don’t fit, take an inventory of what does fit, and make a list of needed back-to-school clothes. Check out our back-to-school lookbook with knit and crochet patterns for kids of all ages.
6. Make sure you and your kids know all necessary dress codes or uniform requirements. (These often change from grade to grade and year to year).
7. Have kids think through what extracurricular activities they want to do. Set an expectation for kids (one after-school activity, one weekday and one weekend activity, etc.) and start working with them to decide what they’ll do.
8. Get all back-to-school events for parents and kids on the calendar. With a flurry of upcoming events, make sure you have a plan to hit the necessary ones by going to your school’s events page and calendaring those that you want to attend.
1-2 Weeks Before School Starts:
9. Finish all summer reading. This is a process, but push kids towards a goal of finishing with time to spare (this avoids a stressful last week of summer and establishes good habits).
10. Purchase (or order) all supplies and get them organized. Once you have supplies, there are often special instructions for what to do with them – i.e., name on all materials, certain supplies in bags, binders set up. Get all of that handled early.
11. Armed with a list (see steps 5 and 6) and clear expectations around what you are (and aren’t) getting, go shopping for back-to-school clothes. Waiting until 1-2 weeks before school begins often means more sales and a chance to build some excitement around going back to school.
The Final Week Before School Starts:
12. Set goals for the school year. Kids of all ages can set goals and setting clear goals for the year will help kids start strong and focused. Plan some time for your family to sit down and work through these goals together.
13. Get all necessary food supplies for the first week. Avoid a late-night trip to the grocery for those special breakfast items or snacks by having all of these on hand the week before.
14. Think through all first-day logistics. Between jitters and unique drop-off and carpool schedules, the first day can be an organizational nightmare. Think through and plan timing, special scheduling needs, and any other logistics of the first day. Don’t worry, it will get easier as the year progresses.
15. Have clothes picked out and have school bags in their designated location. If you start this early on in the year it should easily become routine. Remember, no matter how great your plan is, the first day can feel like a fire drill. You can combat this by having everything kids will need in place before going to bed.
Now, you’re ready. Get a good night’s sleep, and the first day should be a breeze!