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Back to school checklist and tips you need to know 2024

Preparing for the big day couldn’t be easier with the help of this handy back to school checklist.

Excited Students Running

It's back to school time once again and you need to buy school supplies for your children. Whether you're preparing your son or daughter for their first day of school or they're simply continuing for another year, here is a handy checklist to help you save money and get organised.

Back to school preparation

girl is checking her list

For parents whose children will be attending school for the first time, the question that keeps them up at night is whether their child is ready for school. It's important to assess your child's mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. If your youngster is capable of doing things independently, following instructions, easily shifting from one task to another, interacting with other children, expressing their feelings and needs and they do not have separation anxiety problems, they are good to go.

In order to prepare your child for school, constant interaction and guidance is required. Read with them and teach them the basics to fuel their interest in learning new things. Teach them songs and nursery rhymes and expose them to art. Allow interaction with other kids to make them sociable and emotionally ready to have other kids around. In general, make sure you have an organised plan to help things run smoothly.

It's really challenging to arrange everything; you can have your checklist in place but you may still miss some points. To help make things easier for you, we've put together a handy back to school checklist:

  • Keep a record of dates. Get a copy of the school calendar and take note of specific events, including the exact date and time when school begins.
  • Buy supplies early. Before buying the basics, make a list of everything your child needs. Get a list of required school and stationery supplies from the school so you know which items to prioritise. Know the dress code or the necessary uniform and school shoes and be ready with backpacks and lunch boxes in advance.
  • Health check. Make an appointment with your child's paediatrician and make sure they have not missed any required vaccinations. Have their vision checked and if they have other health issues, follow the doctor's advice for faster recovery.
  • Safety first. As part of back to school preparation, teach your children about physical and traffic safety. Make sure your children know their names and how to spell them, your home address and telephone number. Also, it's wise to keep these contact details in your child's backpack in case of emergency.
  • Report bullying. It can't be denied that bullies do exist in schools, and in case your children are faced with bullying issues, teach them in advance the proper way to deal with bullies by reporting them to their teachers and other school authorities.
  • School bus training. Know the school bus's drop-off points nearest to you and the timetable. Teach kids to patiently wait and encourage waiting at the bus stop with a friend right after school. More importantly, warn your children to never accept offers of rides from strangers.
  • Discuss things with your children. Listen to their opinions and know their daily experiences to make the transition easier for them. Be honest with your children and let them know that you miss them too while they are in school.

All parents want the best for their children and want their big day to be as enjoyable as possible. Give them as much love and support as you can. With a little planning, you can breeze through the back to school period easily and without worry.

Back to school shopping list and guide

Each school will have a different list of requirements. It pays to check in with your child's teacher beforehand to see what they will need. However, we've also pulled together a standard list of supplies to get you started:

  • Backpack, personalised or with name tag
  • Lunch kit and water bottle, personalised or with name tag
  • Notebooks, folders and binders
  • Staplers and fasteners
  • Art smock, uniform and uniform accessories including hair ties, socks, hats and shoes
  • Non-toxic crayons, coloured pens, washable markers and highlighters
  • Index cards and sticky notes
  • Pens, pencils, erasers and rulers
  • Pencil case
  • Umbrella and a lightweight foldable waterproof coat
  • USB flash drive
  • Tablet, ereader, notebook or computer
  • Packaged healthy snacks

If you're looking for stores that sell the majority of these items, you can head on over to Amazon, Target and eBay. You can also check out all the back to school sales that are on right now to save yourself some cash.

One month prior to school

student buying suppliesPrepare these items a month in advance so you and your children can be confident of going back to school stress-free.

  • Double-check your children's registration, especially if they are attending a new school.
  • Secure medical forms from the school and schedule an appointment with your physician to make sure your children have completed the required immunisations.
  • Obtain a copy of your children's school calendar to verify the exact date for the first day of school.
  • Ensure that any summer assignments are completed.
  • Sort out school supplies, prepare your back to school shopping list and figure out what you need.

Three weeks prior to school

Now is the time to shop for clothes, backpacks, water bottles, stationery and anything else you need. Get ready with the list you have prepared and keep an eye out for back to school deals online. Have your purchases delivered to your doorstep to avoid the hassle of queueing for hours at checkout counters.

  • Get your children involved in the buying process and inform them of the budget.
  • Help your children reconnect with classmates and friends by inviting them over for a playdate.
  • Bond with the whole family and make the most of your time together while your children are not busy with school stuff.
  • Stimulate their brains by engaging in mental games and other such activities.
  • Arrange your children's transportation. If they need to take the bus, be sure they know when and where to be picked up before and after school.

Two weeks prior to school

  • Get your children's rooms and study tables organised to provide a practical and cosy environment.
  • Review your children's basic learnings and refresh them for school.
  • Start your children on their school year routines including studying and sleeping time.
  • Visit your children's schools and locate the front office, toilets, classrooms, gym, playground and cafeteria.

One week prior to school

  • Continue with the routine you have started for your children and include an eating schedule.
  • Arrange your children's belongings in designated areas and place them in specific compartments for easy access.
  • Prepare a menu of your children's favourite foods and have varied options for each meal.
  • Check your children's supplies and make sure you've bought everything you need.

Five days prior to school

  • Schedule your children's haircuts.
  • Work out your children's schedules, including all extra-curricular activities, to keep yourself organised and make sure your children never miss an event.

Two days prior to school

  • Shop for your children's meals for the first week of school. Make sure to prepare your children's favourite foods to keep them full and energised. It's also a good idea to plan and shop for healthy snacks.

One day prior to school

  • Pack your children's backpacks the day before.
  • Prepare clothes and uniforms and iron them.
  • Charge your camera to capture the most exciting moments of the first day of school.
  • Prepare your children's lunches and snacks.
  • Set the alarm clock so your children will be on time for school.

First day of school

  • Make sure everything is ready to go and don't forget to give any last-minute reminders to your children for their wellbeing and safety.
  • Give them sweet words of advice so they can enjoy their first day of school.

Main image: Getty Images

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Written by

Jeremy Cabral

Jeremy is finder's Global Head of Publishing & Editorial. Jeremy has been with finder since the very beginning and is part of the founding team working closely with Fred and Frank to build into the comparison network it is today. See full profile

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