Countdown to Back To School: A Guide To Getting Your Child Ready For The First Day Of School

 The countdown to back to school has officially started and what better way to start the school year off like a pro than a guide to getting your student ready for the 1st day.  Having two kids and also working in education, mornings are an especially busy time in our household.  Talking with other moms, as well as educators, I put together a great guide to start the school year off on the right foot.

4-5 weeks before school starts

  • Sort through your child’s clothes and uniforms to see what fits and what doesn’t fit. You might be surprised to find that they have already outgrown their clothes or uniforms they were just wearing in May.
  • Take special note of the status of backpacks, lunch boxes, and shoes. Often we neglect this purchase, but these items are used everyday and can quickly wear down.
  • Sit down with your planner and/or calendar and write in the entire school for your child(ren). Take note of school holidays and in-service planning days that you may need to find additional child-care for.  Also, include activities like sports on the planner.
    • Ensure your daily planner devotes time for what I like to call a “decompression time” for your student before they start their homework. It is so important that they have a period after school that is non-scheduled and non-computing to give the brain a break.
  • Follow up with your child on how his or her summer reading is going, and set hard deadlines to have it completed. This avoids the mental overload by cramming everything in the last week before school starts.

3-4 weeks before school starts

  • Start hitting all the back to school sales, and don’t forget in Florida the tax-free days. Florida’s tax-free holiday for the 2018-2019 school year is August 3-5, 2018.  For more information on Florida’s tax-free weekend, visit
  • Purchase items like uniforms, Spirit Wear shirts, backpacks, lunchboxes, shoes, and socks. Uniforms often take more time since they require the logo to be embroidered. Unfortunately, there is no Amazon Prime for uniforms so purchasing a few weeks ahead will ensure they are here before start of school.
  • Schedule necessary doctors visits for required immunizations and health forms. Doctor offices typically get very busy before the start of school so the earlier you can visit your pediatrician, the better.

2 weeks before school starts

  • Start getting your children back on their school year bedtime routine, including setting aside time for reading if you have let that slip over the summer.
  • Check progress on summer reading and math packets. If necessary, set aside time each day to complete summer work.

1 week before school starts

  • Schedule haircuts as needed. Private schools require that student’s hair be a certain length, and I always find that my child’s hair grows more during the summer.
  • Check your child’s student handbooks to ensure there haven’t been any major changes in policy over the summer.
  • Also, check your child’s school policy regarding food allergies. This will be important when putting together your grocery-shopping list.

4-5 days before school starts

  • For older students, think about preparing a “work station” that is free of clutter and in a room free of television and distraction.
  • Discuss goals for the year and write them down in a convenient place so that every family member can see it. I would recommend somewhere by the refrigerator since every family member frequents that location multiple times a day.
    • For example, as a mom, my goal is always to be at school on time and be ready for the day. That may entail that I need to leave the house at 7:15 a.m., I back plan what I need to do before that time to realistically achieve my goal.  For older kids, that may mean they need to be up, dressed, and fed by 7:00 a.m.
  • Get your child their own alarm clock.

2-3 days before school starts

  • Start meal planning for the upcoming week, and try to avoid Sunday grocery shopping. I have found that EVERYONE does their grocery shopping on Sunday, and all I want to do is get out of there as quickly as possible, often forgetting many of the items I went there to get.
  • After shopping is complete, start your meal prep. Meal prepping is a great way I save time in the morning, especially while you are adjusting to an earlier schedule.  I typically like to pre-pack all the snacks for the whole week, so it’s a quick “throw and go” assembly line in the morning.
  • Do a trial run (if you can) to school to see if there are any traffic and/or construction changes. Starting the first day off late, due to traffic changes, is never a good way to start a new school year.

1 day before school starts

  • Visit your child’s Orientation Day and/or Teacher Meet and Greet. The is a great way for your child to spend time with his or her teacher, see and meet new friends, and gather information you may need for the upcoming school year.
  • Prepare lunches and snacks for the first day of school.
  • Pack supplies in backpacks.
  • Lay out clothes for first day of school.
  • Set alarm clocks 15 minutes before you want to get up. Our family, no matter what I do, always seems to be late.  That extra 15 minutes will come in handy when your child spills their food or drink on their new clothes 2 minutes before we are supposed to leave.
  • Pack tissues (for mom). Even school veterans need to be prepared for their babies leaving the nest.

First Day of School: Pictures, Post, and Celebrate!

  • The first day of school picture is a great way to see how your kids have grown from year to year! It is always a great way to get your child excited about the upcoming year.  Don’t forget to post to social media so that friends and friend can see them.
  • Turn in necessary documents to school that includes immunization, health forms, extended day forms (if applicable), and/or any changes to your household demographic that may have changed over the summer.
  • Do a little dance…your kid(s) are back in school!

 Ashley Davis
Mom of two and Director of Admissions at BES