“Yay, it’s almost time to go back to school!”.. said no kid ever.. but said EVERY parent.
It seems like summer vacation has gone by so quick, even when it’s only two months long. But believe it or not, it’s about time to put the kids back on the bus. And that means lots of prepping for parents.
Check out my other back to school posts for tips on saving money on uniforms and supplies, insight on what teachers really need from parents and free printable first day of school signs for every grade.
And don’t even worry about getting out a pen and paper and making a list. I’ve got you covered there too. Just print out this handy checklist and start tackling back to school planning like a boss.
1- Check-ups & immunizations
Spots fill up quickly this time of year, so schedule your appointment(s) asap. You can check with your state health department or school district to find out what the requirements are (if any) for your children.
Even if no shots are necessary, doctors consider this a good time of year to get checkups.
If you’ve spent the summer with a ‘messy hair, don’t care’ policy, now is the time to get your kids’ hair nice and tidy again.
JCPenney offers $10 back to school haircuts. Find your nearby location here.
My philosophy is to get as little as humanly possible. Waaaay back when I was a kid, you had to have an entirely new wardrobe or you couldn’t show your face at school. Not that I ever got one.
But I only buy what’s absolutely necessary.. which means anything from last year that still fits and doesn’t have stains is good to go.
Check out this post with tips on how to start a new school uniform wardrobe, which we had to do last year.
This is one thing we usually do need to buy new each year. Either their previous sneakers are worn out or they’ve outgrown them, which happens frequently at this age.
But back to school clothes and shoes don’t have to be pricey. Here are a few general tips.
» Keep an eye out for sales. Stores know everyone needs back to school clothes and shoes so they all run sales.
» Find out if your state has a sales tax holiday. Some states designate a certain weekend where school clothes, accessories and even electronics are sales tax-free. If you’re buying a lot of stuff the benefit can add up.
» Check out secondhand options. Goodwill, local consignment stores, Schoola (affiliate link), ThredUp and Poshmark can help you snag some name brand threads at a deep discount.
» Look for kids’ consignment sales in your area. Some areas have large, week-long consignment sales where hundreds of moms sell their good quality clothes and toys. This can not only be a money-maker for sellers, you can also find some really good quality clothes at really low prices.
Start looking for your school’s supply lists now so you can get a jump on buying everything. It might also be helpful to buy a little bit at a time so you’re not maxing out one paycheck.
You can usually find supply lists on school websites and at your local stores. In my experience, the lists on generic national websites are not accurate. And I would hate to shell out lots of cash on supplies you don’t really need.
6- Adjust Bedtimes
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a whole summer of footloose and fancy-free bedtimes at our house. And soon we’ll start the long and sometimes painful process of getting bedtimes back on track. I like to adjust gradually, moving bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night or a few nights at a time.
Here is a great article from PBS Parents on getting kids mentally and physically prepared to go back to school routines.
7- Update your calendar
I like to wrap my head around what’s coming up for the next several months. That means plugging back in activities and meetings throughout the school year that I haven’t had to worry about over the summer like:
» Important school dates.. first day, last day, holidays, school programs, etc.
» PTO meetings
» Drop-off and pick-up schedule if you share the duty with another family member or friend
» Extra-curricular activities, sports practice, dance classes, etc.
8- Plan school lunches
You might also want to start making a loose calendar of school lunches or at least start getting an idea of what type of food you’ll pack and work it into your grocery budget.
And if last year’s lunch bags/boxes are worn out or lost you’ll need new ones.
Also check out: