Less stress with a back to school checklist

As you’re out enjoying the August heat, visiting MontanaFair, camping in Red Lodge, soaking up the sun at the Oasis, or spending a night watching the sunset and a movie at the Drive-In, allow me to interrupt with a public service announcement: SCHOOL STARTS THIS MONTH! Oops, sorry I don’t mean to cause you to panic, but I do want to make sure you’re prepared for what’s coming. This checklist will help you navigate the next few weeks before your child’s school bus rolls around. So yes, go back and enjoy your fun activities, but don’t procrastinate. Have less stress with this back to school checklist! 


-EDUCATIONAL: Make sure your child is still learning.

◊ Do you have a summer workbook or an educational site you could have your child work on for an hour a day? 

◊ Visit the Library to encourage summer reading.

◊ Take a field trip- visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Moss Mansion, Western Heritage Center, Pompey’s Pillar, The Museum of the Rockies, or ZooMontana.

-HEALTH AND SCHOOL FORMS: Summer is the perfect time for doctor and dentist visits.

◊ Is your child up to date on vaccines?

◊ Check with your child’s school secretary or nurse, to ensure that your child has everything needed to attend and participate in activities this school year. (Ex. A physical will be required for competitive sports.)


        -CLOTHING AND CLEANING: Find out what clothes and treasures have been tucked away in your child’s drawers and closet PRIOR to back-to-school shopping! You may find the fantastic new jacket or jeans that “disappeared” last year.

◊ By sorting clothes, you can then determine what you want to keep/donate/sell, making room for any new purchases. Have the kids put on a style show and model their clothes for you one afternoon.

◊ Know your child’s new sizes (they’ve most likely grown!) and gradually pick away at the shopping.

◊ Locate and wash lunch boxes, backpacks, water bottles, fall and winter jackets, hats, etc. Which of these items can be reused this school year?

◊ And remember, just because the kids might want the latest and greatest ________, doesn’t mean their current belongings won’t do the job.


          -SLEEP and ROUTINE: Adjusting your child’s sleep schedule and routine takes time, start now.

◊ Work toward the desired bedtime. Scale back a little each night, so they're well rested leading up to the first day.

◊ Meal Times. *Do Cheetos by the pool count!?* Adjusting to a school setting may be tough for your child. They can’t sporadically raid the pantry anytime they're hungry. Pay attention to meal/snack times during the next couple of weeks, so that your kids can comfortably get through the school days.

◊ Homework is coming. Prepare your child by designating allotted time for reading, studying, or a break from screen time in the late afternoon to regain the habit.


        -SCHOOL SUPPLIES and LOOK: Now that you’ve sorted and organized, its time to buy whatever else is needed.

◊ Print off the school supply list for your child's class (Just like with clothing, many of last year's materials can be reused.)

◊ Finish your clothing shopping or at least nail down the first-day outfit.

◊ Time for a haircut? Make a special outing to positively build up your child and ease any of their new school year nerves.

◊ Speaking of nerves, visit the school BEFORE the first day… especially if you have a new student. Walking through the building before it’s crowded with students will help your child feel more comfortable with the layout.


        -ERRANDS and GOALS: Save time for fun during the final days of summer. While you're together, visit about the upcoming school year allowing him/her to share any concerns or questions with you.

◊ This is an ideal time for your child to set goals for the year. (Ex. Make a new friend, join a club or sport, challenge themselves academically)

◊ Groceries- do you have healthy, nutritious food on hand for packing lunches? Have you added money to their hot lunch account?

◊ Is there anything you’ve put off that still needs to be completed?


        -DON’T PANIC! Today is ALL about calming nerves, and getting into a new routine.

◊ Help your child RELAX today. To avoid that back-to-school battle before bed, start the bedtime routine extra early tonight. Read, draw a bath, and sing a lullaby.

◊ And don’t forget to charge your phone or camera for the first day photos. (Do you want a sign? Make it today, so you’re less frantic tomorrow).

Phew! If you follow this checklist, you and your child will start the year feeling rested, confident, and happy after a fun last month of summer. No stress!

Kids- Enjoy the rest of your summer; Parents- The end is in sight!

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s August 2018 issue.

Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here