Brought to you by Nuffnang and Clarks Australia.
Getting ready for school to start can be a bit overwhelming. With all the various emotions and practical details rolling around, I have found it helpful to map out what exactly I need to do in order to make it the best experience for everyone in our family. Here is the “Back to School Checklist” I have put together to keep myself organised.
1. Read over the school information booklet.
Many schools have an informational booklet which is distributed or available online. This contains answers to many basic questions such as required uniforms, footwear, school rules, and other details. Reading the information over as soon as possible helps me feel more prepared as I get closer to the start of school.
2. Purchase school uniforms (or school clothes).
Our son’s school requires a uniform which makes clothes shopping super easy. I have two bottoms for each season (shorts or pants), three regular shirts, a sports shirt, a jacket, and a hat – which (so far) has easily lasted us through a full year. This allows enough clothes to do laundry mid-week.
3. Purchase school shoes.
After seeing the wear and tear my son’s school shoes took last year (they now look like they are about to fall apart!), this time around I decided to go with the best school shoes on the market. Clarks is dedicated to the foot health of Australian kids. In Clarks stores (I was bummed I don’t live near one!) they even offer specialised fittings to figure out which shoe fits your child’s foot the best – but you can also use the information online to choose the right shoes for your kids.
I chose the Clarks’ Cross Hype style as my son’s school is a bit less formal (pictured above), but there are so many gorgeous styles for both boys and girls available -browse them here. When I received the shoes in the post, I could tell tell that they were very well made and I liked that they were not too heavy. I also love that the Cross Hypes are machine washable! My son loves running around in them. They look smart and I feel confident they will last him throughout the year.
I also got a stack of new same-coloured socks so that there are no sock matching issues in the morning this year!
4. Gather school supplies.
Our school provides a list of school supplies at the end of the previous school year, so there is plenty of time to get supplies in order. Most of the items can be purchased at one shop, but several products (like chair bags or book coverings) were to be sought elsewhere. Getting this done as early as possible ensures all items are still in stock – plus you avoid the “back to school” crowd!
5. Get a backpack and lunchbox.
I prefer a backpack my children can carry themselves, so we have purchased a smaller bag for the first few years of school. Lunch boxes are another subject entirely, which took me quite a few months to sort out during my son’s first school year! Luckily I have my lunch box system down pat now, which is a big relief. You can read about my preferences and tips in this post.
6. Create a morning routine.
It’s helpful to think about the practicalities of what you and the kids need to do in the morning before school starts and to create a routine everyone can follow. Many families find it can be helpful to write out the routine or draw pictures for younger children to follow – i.e. get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, pack backpack, etc. I talk about morning routines in this post.
As for the first day of school – favourite breakfasts are a definite bonus to calm nerves and make the morning feel a bit special! This year I cooked pancakes the day before so I could just warm them up in the morning (and served alongside my son’s favourite treat – frozen blueberries).
7. Prepare for “back to school” traditions.
If your family has a special “back to school” tradition, get everything ready at least a few days beforehand so you will not be rushing on the morning school starts. This year I created a new family tradition which I called our Back to School Treasure Hunt. It was a fun way to discuss important messages with the boys about behaviour at school, and we all really enjoyed it.
8. Take a photo!
For many families, taking a photo on the first day of school is a must! All children, however, are not always keen for photos – so it can be useful to decide beforehand where and how you will take photos to minimise stress for everyone. We decided to simply snap a few photos on the back porch (instead of in the new classroom) so my son could be fully present when arriving at school and seeing his friends again. Telling him we were only going to take a few shots before we left the house increased cooperation, and we got a lovely photo without fuss.
I have also decided to have an annual “interview” on the first day of school, which I will add to the kids’ Memory Books along with the photograph from their first day. I have created two versions of this printable interview – one for a horizontal picture and one for a vertical picture – because you never know which style will turn out better! Basically the kids just fill in the forms (for my younger son starting Kindy, I wrote his answers for him) and then they can decorate the paper as they wish. You can download the printables here:
9. Go on a tour of the school and meet the teacher.
Many schools provide a “meet the teacher” or “orientation” day. This is a wonderful way for kids to get more acquainted with the new space and envision themselves in the school environment. If you cannot attend these events, it can be nice to just go as a family to walk around the school and take a peak inside the classroom, if this option is available.
10. Ask your child if they have any questions and give them plenty of time to express their feelings, if they wish to.
I’m big on having short conversations with the kids at bedtime about questions and concerns from the day. Just asking how they are feeling or what they are excited about can prompt a deep discussion. I try to stay wary not to project my own anxieties onto my kids by asking something like, “Are you nervous?” but instead asking more open-ended questions such as, “How do you feel about going to school tomorrow?”
So there’s my checklist! School has now started, we’re all sorted, and I’m excited to see what the year has in store for my kids – they are having a blast so far!
Enter the Giveaway!
Thanks to Clarks, I have one pair of school shoes to give away to a Moments A Day reader residing in Australia. Simply answer the following question – Why do you want your children to wear Clarks?
The giveaway ends at 5:00 pm AEDST on Friday 20 February 2015. Read over the Terms and Conditions here.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. To read more about reviews on my website, visit this page.