It’s a prized possession or an abhorred asset. Either way, it’s the back to school supply list, and it has to be filled, fast. Fast because you’ll want to buy all the things you’ll need before the stores run out of stock, and you’re left running around trying to track down the specific kinds of pencils and erasers your child’s teacher asked for.
But before you run out the door, add the following to your child’s list so you’re fully prepared to start the school year.
An extra lunch bag
Lunch bags are easily tossed around, trampled on and spilled on, so you’ll be better prepared if you have an extra at home. Even if we try to empty the lunch bags as soon as the kids’ get home from school everyday, there’s bound to be a time or two when schedules overwhelm us and we fail to empty at 4 o’clock. It seems like that’s always the day that there’s a spilled applesauce sticking to the sides. With an extra lunchbox, I can clean and set the messy bag out to dry while still sending my child to school with a fresh lunch bag the next day. Lands End lunchboxes fit nicely into traditional backpacks, are insulated and the right size to fit all my elementary school and preschool kids’ needs.
Our school doesn’t have air conditioning, but even if your’s does, there are bound to be days when your child will appreciate a water bottle to hydrate–whether they’re fighting off a cold or just ran several 50-yard dashes in PE. Refill a fresh water bottle for your kids each day to help make sure they’re staying hydrated, as well as teach them a healthy-water habit. We like ours to have a double-close system so that leaks are less likely.
With three kids, we go through about 6 ice packs a day, and each takes about 24 hours to refreeze, so I purchase at least 18 ice packs at the beginning of the school year to keep the kids’ lunches cold.
You’ll hear a million times to label everything, but teachers rarely recommend that you actually buy labels. Which, often, means you’ll be reaching for a Sharpie the night before school and writing your kids’ names until your hand falls off. Take advantage of the time you’re taking to shop early and order labels asap. While researching this post, I found that Mabel’s Labels Back-to-School is offering early bird pricing on their back to school packages, so order asap.
A new reading book
It’s a great idea to have a reading book your child loves tucked into her back pack on the first day of school. Some kids are a bit more hesitant to fight for space (or a popular book) in the classroom library on the first day, so giving her one she already knows she loves will give her confidence to start reading during quiet reading time. She’ll also feel better knowing she has a book she can read, if together you’ve previewed or started reading it at home.
When my friend installed this inside her daughter’s desk during the school open house last fall, all the moms stared in awe. Her child’s already looked neater and more organized than the rest of our kids’. The NeatNook gives your child the opportunity to access her items as she would a drawer, rather than stuffing things inside the black-hole of a school desk.
Family Organizing System
Whether you’re uber-organized or still trying to figure it out, now is a great time to recheck your program and tweak it to work for your new school year. Once you find a system you think will work best for you, take the time to adapt it, and then keep at it. Nothing will work unless you make it a habit so push yourself to follow your system each day until it becomes natural. Some great family organizing systems include momAgenda, Go! Mom, and Buttoned Up.