Back to School Checklist

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer flies, doesn’t it? Before you know it, it’s time for your child to go back to school. Keep stress levels low for yourself and your child by following this checklist for thoughtful preparation:

Physical Exam

Schedule a medical checkup if needed for participation in school sports or if your child is due for an exam; make sure immunizations are up-to-date and vision is checked.

Back-to-School Shopping

Do as much back-to-school shopping – for clothes, shoes, supplies, etc. – as possible before the back-to-school rush begins. Check the school website for supply requirements and to review the dress code. Remember gym uniforms!


Add school-related events, such as curriculum night and parent-teacher meetings, to your personal and family calendars.

Meal Planning

Check into the meal and snack options at school and discuss with your child whether he/she will buy food at school or take it from home. If he/she opts for packing lunches, decide who is responsible for this chore, encouraging full or partial participation from your child. Make sure your kitchen is well-stocked with healthy options for breakfast and after-school snacks.


Whether your child is taking the school bus, walking or biking to school, review the appropriate safety rules with him/her. If you are forming a carpool with other parents, make sure you introduce your child to every driver and explain the procedures for drop-off and pick-up.

After-School Arrangements

Make a plan – and share it with your child – for after-school activities or child care. Review expected behaviours and procedures. If he/she is old enough to be coming home to an empty house, do trial runs and discuss what actions should be taken in case an emergency or other situation requiring action arises.

Extracurricular Activities

Discuss your child’s desires to participate on sports teams, in clubs or in other extracurricular activities. Make sure that you can accommodate the financial, transportation and other needs associated with these choices, and that they do not infringe on other family members’ rights to participate in activities. In other words, find a balance that works for the entire family.

Emotional Support

No matter their age, children need emotional support to prepare for school. Discuss his/her feelings about school and address any concerns. If your child is young, make sure he/she knows your home and work phone numbers as well as your home address. Remember, too, that children of all ages need information about peer pressure and bullying.

School Familiarity

our the school with your child so that he/she feels comfortable locating various classrooms, the cafeteria, entrances and exits, restrooms, etc. If it’s possible, arrange a time for your child to meet his/her teachers.

School Rules

Get your child into the school routine a couple of weeks before classes begin so that he/she can get used to your established curfew, bedtime and morning alarm. Discuss expectations for homework and limitations on TV time, social media, video and computer games, socialization with friends, etc.