Best Back to School Checklist For Parents

This year, we’re juggling three kids at three different schools. Being organized is going to be the key to our sanity. Isn’t it always?

That’s why I created a back to school checklist for parents! It’s simple, covers the most important actions, and is easy to follow through. Plus, checking off each item makes you feel amazing!

Way to go organized parent!

back to school checklist for parents printable free

Back to School Checklist For Parents

Read through each one for my best tips, then grab the free printable back to school checklist for parents below!

1. Finish Summer Packets & Summer Reading

At my house, we start each summer with fabulous intentions. We do well through June. But July? Summer packets tend to collect dust!

The last few weeks before school, finish these up and get kids back into the mindset of learning.

summer reading log; how to make reading fun

Related: Free Reading Log For Kids

2. Sign Up For Fall Activities

Once fall starts, we hit the ground running. So, schedule extracurricular activities, sports, or after-school programs before the first day of school. This ensures that you can focus on getting your family off to the right start instead of worrying about sign up deadlines.

Bonus: Make a reminder in your calendar for when you’ll need to sign up for winter sports too!

3. Write Important Dates for Fall

How to organize for back to school

Set an hour aside one afternoon to write down dates that your family needs to know.

I like to write the current month on a fridge whiteboard and put future months on a shared family phone calendar. And I try to do this all the way to the end of the calendar year.

Write in:

  • School activities
  • Extracurricular activities (practices, games, lessons)
  • Days off and early dismissals
  • Parent-teacher conferences
  • Holidays, vacations, birthdays, weddings
  • Mom and dad time off

4. Get Your School Supplies in Order

Your school district and school should have exactly what you need for your kids. So, check out their website or pick up a list at your local store. A school supplies list will most likely include:

useful things for school students
  • backpack
  • notebooks
  • pencils
  • pens
  • folders
  • binders
  • glue
  • markers, colored pencils, crayons
  • pencil box
  • scissors
  • highlighters
  • ruler
  • eraser

These items are not on school lists, but you’ll probably need them too:

Bento lunch box
  • Water bottle
  • Lunch box (Outside cover and bento box)
  • Thermos
  • Ice packs

5. Get Up To Date on Doctor Visits

Schedule a visit to the doctor for a general check-up and ensure that your child is up to date on vaccinations. This is especially important if you are moving up to the next school level (i.e. preschool to elementary, elementary to middle)

*Squeeze in appointments that are hard to do during the school year, i.e. eye exams and dental appointments.

6. Set Up New Routines

Going from a summer routine to a school year one can be a harsh reality. Ease kids into new routines before the start of the school year, so that the change isn’t so abrupt.

daily morning routine checklist for kids

We love our daily routine printables because it helps our kids know exactly what to expect. The checklist reinforces good kid habits, helps with family chores, and does the heavy lifting for us. (It’s a lot harder to argue with a piece of paper than with mom!)

Related: Free Morning Routine Chart

*If you’ve gotten off track, it’s also the perfect time to re-establish family dinners as many nights of the week as possible.

7. Designate & Organize Your Study Spaces

August organization calendar printable, make a homework station

Set up a designated study area at home where the kids know they can do their homework. For younger kids, a portable homework tub is nice. For older kids, make sure they have a desk, a good chair, and enough lighting.

8. Make a Transportation Schedule

Start with writing down bus schedules, setting up a carpool with parents, or talking to your kids about walking home.

My husband and I also set up a drop-off and pick-up schedule. It helps us TREMENDOUSLY to know who is in charge of what. And this schedule doesn’t change unless we have a conflict.

It might look like:

Day of the WeekDrop OffPick Up

We do the same thing for kids activities. Generally, he does the transportation for Scouts, while I do gymnastics and trumpet lessons. Splitting it up this way is a sanity saver with multiple kids!

9. Set Goals & Expectations For the School Year

Talk to your child about expectations, concerns, and goals for the new school year. They may have anxiety about new surroundings, so talk it through and give them emotional support.

steps for kids goal setting pin

Homework, screen time, balancing activities, grades, and making friends are all great topics for this conversation. Brainstorm strategies together for any challenges you foresee.


10. Organize & Declutter Your Living Spaces

Shifting your home environment to a school mindset will help everyone transition quickly.

back to school checklist for parents of elementary, high school, college, 6th, 7th, 8th grade

A week or two before school starts, I try to

  • clean out the pantry and freezer
  • restock the snack drawer
  • put away pool and summer stuff
  • get back on track with the weekly meal plan
  • declutter and organize our living spaces.

It feels good to start the school year organized instead of scatter-brained!

11. Prep Meals Ahead: Parents Best Back to School Checklist

August month calendar printable: prep back to school lunches

Whether you do a full-on freezer meal party, or double a few of your favorite meals for the freezer, this is a lifesaver!

Prep ahead healthy breakfasts, lunches, or freezer dinners (or a mix of all) to have on hand for when the schedule gets hectic. It’s one less thing to worry about!

I also like to make a lunch list of food options for the kids when they pack their lunches in the morning. It stays on the fridge!

12. Make Sure Paperwork & Email Are Good To Go

This step is easy if you’ve been going to the same school. But if it’s a new school, make sure you are good with health forms and communication.

  • Update contact information and medical issues
  • Turn all emergency and health forms in
  • Make sure you are on the email list for school and your teacher
  • Determine if you have paperwork in for any additional fall activities

Not sure about something? Write down your questions before meet the teacher night so you don’t forget!

13. Pick Up a Thoughtful Teacher Gift

Personally, I’ve found that back-to-school night goes smoother for my kids when they have something to give their teacher. It’s an easy ice breaker, and it also reinforces the importance of giving.

Check out our favorite back-to-school gift: DIY Teacher Survival Kit (With a free printable tag)

teacher survival kit free printable gift tags

14. Take Inventory & Shop For Kids Clothes

Ugh. Clothes. If your family is like mine, someone always needs something.

But this is a great time to take inventory.

Keep in mind…

  • when the weather changes in your area (we don’t hit fall weather until October)
  • school dress codes
  • how often you do laundry (we do it once a week)

And then spend a day shopping so that you have what you need BEFORE the kids start telling you they need shoes…and a jacket….and jeans.

back to school checklist pdf printable for parents of kids
How many pairs of each to have.

Clothes will get ruined and pants will end up with holes in them. Such is life. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to have an extra pair of something.

15. Get Kids Excited With a Back To School Checklist Tradition

Finally, a tradition helps with the back to school jitters, gets your family ready for change, and builds excitement for learning.

best back to school traditions for kids and family: breakfast fun

We love the back to school breakfast tradition. I make the muffins the day before, and the kids help decorate the table. It’s easy, but also something they start talking about weeks in advance.

Related: Best Traditions For Back To School

Grab The Back to School Checklist For Parents

back to school checklist for parents printable free

And Grab The Free Organization Calendar for more!

Month of August calendar to organize for back to school

Sign up below to get the full August calendar sent straight to your inbox. I love using the full calendar each year. It’s detailed and gives you one action to tackle each day (totally doable!) After, you’ll feel empowered to take on the busy season to come!

What’s Next?

For more actionable help on your kids routines, check out the Kids Routine Pack. It has everything you need!

kids routine pack

15 Things To Do: Parents Back to School Checklist

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