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 in 2015.

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, like the collection sold at Stuck on You. 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
  • so many things on this check list that I hadn’t thought of. Thanks for the heads up.


  • Thanks for your article,a checklist is essential!


  • I thought I had it all organised but felt very unorganised by the end of the first week. I had too many things to remember for each child on specific days s o i ended up putting a weekly chart on the fridge to remind me which days were library, show and tell, sports, music etc.


  • i actually have slowly gathered stuff over the year so its not a stress before school starts


  • in the junior and lower senior school always buy uniforms at least a size too big as they grow so fast.


  • yeah this was very interesting to read


  • Great idea.. I always run around like a crazy person for the last couple of days of the holidays trying to remember all the things I need to have organized prior to the boys starting school. You would think that now that they are in year 8 and grade 5 I’d have it down but seems to be one of those things I just don’t get my head around


  • Great comments ,list everything needed is good idea as I do it myself.Planing is the best way to be ready.


  • Always handy to see other people’s checklists!


  • Great list. This will save lots of time.


  • Whilst you need to have school uniforms ready, don’t buy them too far in advance because children have growth spurts and may already be in the next size by the time they wear them.
    Always buy a size larger than fits them as they may not be long before they just fit them and you soon need to buy bigger ones. Tight uniforms in Summer are very uncomfortable, even more so if they are made from synthetic material as most of them are now. They are more likely to cause rashes as they cling to your skin and don’t breathe to release body heat as much they should. After Reception age children should be given a choice of after school activities unless the are going to out of school hours care. Many schools ask that school fees are paid in advance. Some private schools even give a discount if you pay for them by a certain date in advance. I know one in Adelaide that does. Your child will more than likely need more than one pair of shoes during Winter if you are in a heavy rain area.
    Some schools require that sports shoes have white soles so that the floors don’t get black marks on the if a child slides across the floor at all. Label the backpacks on the inside (you can label the outside too, but even waterproof permanent markings fade after awhile. Now regular maintenace :names on lunch boxes fade after awhile too so make sure you check them on a regular basis. Drink bottles should be emptied on a daily basis not just topped up. Buy the School Diary either from the school or by a place listed by the school as they have special sections designated for different reports etc.


  • Very helpful, thank you!


  • A large and good quality pencil case is also required for all of the pencils and other items.


  • That’s a great list. Thanks for compiling it. You forgot about the stash of chocolate and a good book so mum can relax on the first day after all that hard work!


  • nice concise list, just what you need to commence a month of so before school goes back so no last minute rush. obviously some things need to wait til the end of holidays like shoes as my kids always seem to have a growth burst in the last few weeks but at least there is a plan.


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