Back to School Checklist: Everything You Need for School

classroom with books and a chalkboard

It's tough to start thinking about school right now, but in just a few weeks, it will be time for the kids to go back to school. Whether you've been through the drill before, or this is your first time sending a little one off to school, this checklist should help you remember everything you need to be ready.

Phone Calls and Paperwork

You won't be able to get anyone at your child's school on the phone during summer, but there will be people available to answer questions at your local school district office. Call and find out when classes begin and what time the school day begins. If your child will be taking the bus, find out the route and its pick up and drop off times. You may be able to find this information online as well.

Your child's school will likely have a registration day, so be sure to mark it on your calendar. Find out what paperwork is necessary to enroll your child. If your child is busing, take them for a drive ahead of time so they are familiar with the route, and make sure they know where they're supposed to be before and after school.

backpack with school supplies

Medical Necessities

Check with the district about immunization requirements, and get the appointments taken care of and the paperwork in order (you'll likely need it at registration time). If your child has any medical needs, such as medication, be sure to tell the principal's office and the school nurse (if there is one). In addition, make sure that any necessary medical information is on file at the school in case of emergency.

Supply List

Get the supply list from your school as soon as possible, so you can start stocking up now. Find out whether your child will be able to store their supplies in the classroom or a locker, or if they need to bring things home with them each day. You don't have to buy everything all at once, but don't wait until the last minute – store shelves can sometimes empty quickly because too many people procrastinate at this task.

school books on desk

Heading to School

Most schools will have an orientation day in conjunction with registration (or about the same time). Bring all the necessary paperwork for enrollment. Then take a tour of the school with your child, so they can start to learn their way around if it's all new to them. Meet your child's teacher ahead of time and find out the best way to communicate with her/him, whether by phone or email.

Important Phone Numbers

If the school doesn't provide one, make a master list of important phone numbers and stick it on your refrigerator. It should include numbers for the school itself and your child's teacher. Other important numbers include those for reporting absences and the school closure line. One last thing – make sure your child knows your phone number, or write it down in a safe place that they can carry in their backpack each day.

Also see: Back-to-School Clothes Shopping for All Ages for more back-to-school tips.