January 25, 2021


It’s that time of year again when you need to get the kids and yourself ready for the back-to-school mayhem. While shopping, sorting and cooking, and all the other related tasks that come with getting the family set for the first day back at school can be overwhelming, a checklist makes a big difference.

To make sure that you don’t forget anything, it helps to have a comprehensive list on hand that you can refer to when your head starts to spin. Read on for the ultimate checklist you can use to send your children off to school fuss-free this year.

Time to Shop

Before your kids start or go back to school, there are a bunch of supplies you need to make sure are all sorted. To start with, of course, you’ll need to buy new uniforms or potentially have last year’s clothing altered to fit your child’s current height and weight. Don’t leave shopping for uniforms to the last minute, as you never know if particular sizes will have to be ordered in or altered before the first day of school. Alternatively, if you’re purchasing uniforms second hand, it may take some time to find the correct type and size for your child.

Most kids tend to need new school shoes, plus running shoes for P.E. lessons and other sport activities, so allocate time to take them shopping for these. Other clothing items you’ll want ready to go are a hat, plenty of appropriate socks to match the uniform, and a coat or jumper. Don’t forget to check that your child also has a working umbrella, and a strong backpack that suits their current size. Since children tend to lose school items on a regular basis, it’s also important to buy some personalised name labels. That way, if your kids leave a hat at the bus stop or forget their jumper on the playground, you’re more likely to have the missing items returned.

When it comes to shopping for stationery, the list can be quite long, so write down all the things you need to buy before you’re overwhelmed when in a store. Stationery supplies can vary a little bit according to which year your child is in at school, but most kids will require some or all of the following items: a variety of coloured pens, plus some standard writing pencils; notebooks, folders and a diary to keep track of classes and homework; an eraser, ruler, pencil sharpener, glue stick and pair of scissors; some highlighters; a calculator; a library bag; and an art smock and/or apron. Computers are frequently used in the classroom these days as well, so many schools will ask students to bring a memory stick to save work completed during the day.

Things to Do

To be prepared for the new school year, there are plenty of other jobs you’ll need to take care of. For starters, book your children in for a haircut and, if needed, a doctor’s appointment and optometrist visit – they might need vaccinations, asthma inhalers, new glasses, or just a check-up. As well, take care of any school-related paperwork, whether that’s paying fees, filling out enrolment forms, or signing your kids up for after-school activities or day-care. If your child is starting at a new school, it also pays to work out their bus or walking route if applicable. Alternatively, you may want to discuss carpool schedules with other parents in advance.

Your child likely already has a lunch box and water bottle from last year that can be reused, but if these are broken or too dirty to be cleaned properly, consider buying new ones. Either way, spend time giving each item a good wash so that they’re all ready to be packed for the first day of school. Also check that you have some handy small ice packs on hand that can be used to keep lunches and bottles cool during the day.

To reduce the morning stress when your kids go off to school (especially for the first couple of hectic weeks), it pays to have a list drawn up of the healthy, yet easily-packed snacks you have planned for the week. Glance over this list on a daily basis to make sure you have everything you need on hand. After all, there’s nothing worse than going to make a sandwich or wrap and then realising you’ve run out of bread!

Follow these tips and remember to take plenty of deep, calming breaths when feeling overwhelmed, and you’ll find the back-to-school mania more manageable than ever.

The Checklist

Things to Buy: Clothing

  • New uniforms or altered uniforms from last year
  • School shoes
  • Running shoes for P.E. lessons
  • Hat
  • Plenty of matching socks
  • Coat or jumper
  • Umbrella
  • Backpack
  • Name labels to mark belongings

Things to Buy: Stationery

  • A variety of coloured pens
  • Standard writing pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Folders
  • A diary
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Glue sick
  • Pair of scissors
  • Highlighters
  • Calculator
  • Library bag
  • Art smock and/or apron
  • Memory stick

Things to Do

  • Haircut
  • Doctor’s appointment and optometrist visit
  • School-related paperwork
    • Paying fees
    • Filling out enrolment forms
    • Signing up for after-school activities or day care
  • Work out bus or walking route, or discuss carpool schedules
  • Clean lunch box and water bottle
  • Plan easy-to-pack snacks
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Thank you, a really handy go to list to have.


  • Very helpful.


  • Saving this for when my baby starts school!


  • Thankfully my children’s school issue a list of what to buy!


  • I think everyone needs to put ‘breathe’ on the list of things to do. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with back to school. I’ve also learnt to start paying this stuff off as early as possible!


  • A great list to get organised!


  • I remember the back to school days. No more for me, but I get to be in on my grandsons, so all good


  • Handy list for parents to refer to.


  • All of these ideas are very handy so you can be totally prepared before your child starts school. When it came to stationary supplies, if I found something on special I’d buy extras and hide them so I was ready when they came home to say they needed more of something.


  • This is good list to follow up.


  • Good to be and stay organised


  • I thought I had everything for my son starting school for the first time. Then 4pm on Sunday I realised he didn’t have plain white socks and I hadn’t even done the groceries yet! I was working all day Monday with no shop nearby and no access to a car. Today being Australia Day and shops shut. Luckily Coles sold plain white socks. Phew! But if I had read this article last week there would have been no last minute panic.

    • I agree haha the article is a bit last minute as school goes back this week


  • Great tips to get your school year started.
    Thanks for putting this out there. It’s definitely useful.


  • Great tips to be organised!!!


  • Screenshot and save it for later


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