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slides: Family Matters: Back-To-School Checklist

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Nothing gets things done better than an old-fashioned checklist. And with school coming up, it's time to get our own checklists organized for the family. After talking to parents and reading many back-to-school lists in magazines and online, I've culled bulky lists into 10 easy items. Start checking them off now.

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Medical Records

Most schools require an immunization record for every student. Make sure you get a copy from your child’s doctor and bring it on the first day of school (or whatever deadline set by the school). If your child has allergies, you should notify the school principal, nurse, your child’s teacher(s), etc. in writing. (Photo: a.drian)

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Our boys’ preschool preferred the kids to have canvas bags void of zippers or buttons so the kids could easily open and close them without help. We found plain canvas tote bags at Michaels Craft Store. Once kids start grade school, they’ll need a sturdy backpack that is built to last. If they are heading to school for the first time, help get your kids excited by personalizing their backpack or school bag with decorations, patches, or iron-on transfers, or stash a secret message or picture inside for them. Make sure to clearly mark your child’s name on the bag. (Photo: Comrade Foot)

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There is a lot to choose from. Select one that is easy for your child to carry or that fits inside a backpack. Label it with your child’s name – a sharpie marker usually works well. Recent studies from the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) have shown that some vinyl lunchboxes may contain lead. Find out more from CEH. Some lunchboxes are now labeled “lead-free,” but CEH cannot affirm that these labels are accurate and recommend that parents test lunchboxes with a lead swabbing kit to ensure that their child’s lunchbox is safe. Find out how to test your lunch box. Have extra icepacks on hand and plastic containers for food storage. (Photo: Stephen Joseph Gifts)

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School Supplies

Once you get a list of school supplies keep it handy in your purse so you can pick things up when you are out doing errands. Supplies will vary depending on the school and age of student but they may include a pencil case, Crayons, markers, binders, and assignment book.

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Chances are kids will need a good pair of everyday shoes and a pair of sneakers. I love the Merrell Jungle Moc Nubuck for kids – it’s built to last in rain and snow and easy to slip on. You can find many variations of this shoe at LLBean, Target, Payless, and other retailers. Sneakers are bit trickier for us – I usually try my luck at Marshalls or Target but finding the right size is pretty dicey. (Photo: timsamoff)

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Check if your school has a uniform policy before shopping for new clothes. Some schools have guidelines for what they do not allow students to wear (e.g., flip flops, T-shirts with logos, jeans). For most of my kids’ clothes, I have great luck at Target and local consignment shops. But my boys are exceptionally tall and finding pants that fit is a bit tricky even with the adjustable waistbands.

Plan ahead now and make sure your kids have all-weather gear – from rain to snow so they can enjoy the time outdoors. (Photo: edenpictures)

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Change of Clothes

Keeping a change of clothes for kids in school is a good idea. Whether they are at preschool and potty training or a kindergartner (or even elementary school veteran) who gets soaked in a mud puddle, an extra set of socks, underwear, shirts, and pants may come in handy. (Photo: CCK_mom)

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Parent Binder

My boys used to go to Child’s Play. At the beginning of the year, they gave us a three-ring binder filled with the school’s policies, including sick days, school calendar, etc. If you're not sure what your school hands out (if it does at all), make your own binder and divide it into the following sections:
• School calendar
• PTO information
• General school reminders
• Separate section for each kid’s class, listing with class events and reminders

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Homework Area

Set up a designated area in your house where kids can do their homework. Whether it is the kitchen table or a desk in their room, have a place for their school supplies – pencils, paper, scissors, etc. (Photo: trazomfreak)

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Study Up!

While your kids are getting ready for learning, we can too. Learn more great health and safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Anisa Raoof is the publisher and founder of Kidoinfo, the parents' guide for Rhode Island and beyond.


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