Gearing up to go back to school

Girls walking in school uniforms.

The arrival of August means one thing for parents: It's time to start getting our summer slackers geared up to go back to school.

No problem, right? You're the parent, and you've got a handle on things. 

And if you don't (or don't just yet), these tips for getting the kids ready to go back to school will help you get it all done in the days ahead.

Schedule a Back to School Clothes Inspection

Put on the no-nonsense drill sergeant's hat for a school year wardrobe makeover. 

With your son or daughter's assistance, throw out or give away anything that's too grungy or small to wear to school again this school year.

Make a list of what you'll need when you go shopping in the days ahead (a new sweater, pair of pants) based on what's heading out the door.

If school uniforms are a part of the program, this is an excellent time to start ordering new sweatshirts or sweaters and the like. Consider devoting a couple of drawers and part of your child's closet to school clothes.

This way, your student will know the night before whether he or she has something appropriate to wear to school the next day with but a single glance in the closet before bed.

Clean Out Kids' Bathrooms of Last Year's Remnants

Help the kids clean out their bathroom of last semester's hair gels and stretched-out scrunchies.

Make sure your son or daughter has everything needed to streamline morning grooming. This is especially important if you've got teens.

If the kids with a share a bathroom, keep it simple and avoid the "It's her/his mess!" argument before voices (and tempers) rise. Get each child a different color handled bathroom tote, inside which grooming supplies can be stashed.

Then, just pick up and go! (To the bathroom for tooth brushing and other pre-school hygiene essentials, that is.)

Create a Homework Haven

Right now - before the first school bell rings - set up a study area for each child in your home.

Boy studying at home computer.

For best results, studying needs to become part of the daily fabric of your child's day. Designate one spot in the house for each kid's study hall.

Choose a place where the kids can work in comfort and without distractions.

Depending on the child, however, that special place might need to be somewhere you can keep an eye on things. Not every kid works intently when shut away in a bedroom full of toys. 

Ideally, each child should have a desk, but specific furniture is hardly necessary. Stock nearby drawers or cabinets with school supplies. 

Create an Entryway Backpack Drop Zone

Create a backpack drop zone near the entry door. They're going to drop those backpacks the minute they're inside anyway, so why not be prepared with a place to catch them?

It can be anything that fits the space and your family's style - an entryway cubby bench, sturdy wall hooks, or a coat rack - even a spot on the floor. But make sure you designate an area somewhere - or you'll be tripping over backpacks for the next nine months.

While you're at it, Set up 'in' and 'out' boxes for school papers. Kids unload backpacks and drop off papers to be checked, signed, etc., in the 'in' box. You leave signed documents, money, permission slips in the 'out' box.

Shopping for School Supplies

Inventory what you have, and make a back-to-school shopping list of everything the kids need - from clothes to classroom supplies, to lunch boxes. 

Take advantage of end-of-season, Back to School, and Labor Day sales whenever possible.

Go shopping with the kids at the neighborhood mall that's got it all (as if there is any other kind these days). Make it clear beforehand, however, that anything that's not on the back-to-school list, they pay for. Period.

Otherwise, it's like Christmas in August. Set rules before you enter that cavernous place so that you can keep whining to a minimum.

Launder  Up

Launder up the school duds: Make sure clothes are clean, hemmed, or repaired if needed. Finally, now's the time to firm up carpools to school and after-school activities.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.