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apples placed on desks facing a black chalkboard with "back to school" written on it with white chalk

Make Back-to-School Week The Easiest Ever

By Chris Jordan

I have written about how to make the back-to-school transition easier, here and here. Everything I wrote in those posts still holds true, but this time I am focusing more on what you can do ahead of time to ease back into the school year with as little stress as possible.

If you do all these things the first week of school will go off without a hitch. The weeks after that, well, you are on your own. But at the very least you will be able to look back and say, “Hey, remember that first week? Man, I had it under control!”

13 tips for an easy first week back-to-school:

1. Get those physicals done as early as possible in the summer. The earlier the better. Unless you are like me and one year you waited until the last minute and now your insurance company makes you wait a full calendar year for the next physical and so you are stuck doing them the second week of August. Many schools require the doctor to fill out forms so your child can participate in sports. Bringing those forms with you is a lot less hassle than trying to get the doctor to fill them out at a later date. My pediatrician’s office also charges a fee should you bring the forms in not during your scheduled appointment time.

2. Get everything in to the school BEFORE the first week. (It may be too late for this tip. Remember this for next year.) I am specifically talking about vaccination records, physicals, medication dispensing forms, change of address forms… whatever the school needs. Get it to the school officials before the rush, when they, too, will be overwhelmed.

3. In conjunction with the above, photocopy everything and save it. Having a copy of everything means you don’t have to worry about replacing the forms should they get lost.

4. When your children come home from school on the first day, make a copy of their schedules. This is helpful not just for them, but for you when later on in the year you need to make dentist appointments and don’t want to keep pulling them out of the same class over and over.

5. You may as well invest in a copier, if you don’t already have one. And a lot of ink. The one investment that I made last year that I highly recommend to everyone is get a laser printer that only does black and white. I was going broke on color ink cartridges, even though we rarely print in color, the printer used all the colors to make black ink. Now on those rare occasions that the kids need something printed in color I go to our local office store and have it done.

6. Find their backpacks/lunch boxes from last year and empty them. Oh, I know that all you very organized types are thinking What? I did that on the last day of school. And you know what, the rest of us, who are unpacking moldy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches three months after school ended, we salute you. Make sure the bags are not broken or torn and give them a good scrubbing. I threw our back packs into the washing machine and they came out looking as good as new.

7. Program all the important numbers at the school into your phone, including the classroom phone numbers. This way you won’t be guessing when you see the number pop up on Caller ID. You can better determine whether you need to pick up or if you can let it go to voicemail. Not every conversation is appropriate for the grocery store check-out line.

8. When you do back-to-school shopping think “outfits” rather than individual items. I wish I had thought of this advice two weeks ago when I did back-to-school shopping. My daughter now has 20 new tops and three pair of shoes. I am pretty sure that the school dress code requires bottoms also.

9. Sort through all the socks and get rid of all the ones that have holes or stains. Yes, get rid of them. You will never turn them into a rug or sweater or puppet. Get over it and toss them. No, you aren’t going to dust with them either. I matched and sorted the socks into piles according to the kid they belonged to. It was through this process that I discovered my 8 year old son had no socks.

10. Do the same thing with their underwear. You will have similar, but even more horrifying results. “What do you mean you only have three pair of underwear?”

11. Then lay out the entire first weeks worth of clothing. Everything the outfit requires. After the first couple of weeks I pretty much let the kids match their clothes however they want. And I cross my fingers that during the first week of class the teacher realized that they do have nice matching clothes and instead of judging me harshly, she will wonder if my children are color blind.

12. Buy all the school supplies. Just push your cart down that aisle of the store, scoop it all from the shelves, and take it home with you.

13. The same way you plan school lunches and dinners, plan the after-school snack. My kids eat lunch so early at school and come home starving. Having a snack ready for them eliminates a lot of the pre-homework whining.

These are my thirteen ways to make the back-to-school week easier on all of us. The first week of school is ending here for us in Texas, and so far so good. The one exception is a pair of shoes that were bought two sizes too big. In my defense he tried them on in the store and said they were perfect. It wasn’t until he went to put them on for the first day of school that I noticed their clown-like proportions.

And now, if you will excuse me, the bus is coming soon and I have some fresh fruit to arrange artfully on plate as an after-school snack. Oh who am I kidding, it’s a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies.

More Back-to-School Ideas from Alpha Mom:

  1. Back-to-School Preparation Guide for Parents
  2. Use Back-to-School Budgets to Teach Kids Money Management 
  3. Back-to-School Sticker and Labels for Organization
Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she wrote about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, they...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she wrote about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is a teen now.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.


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Menu planning snacks is huge for us, and we have a toddler.  If I have a plan, then she gets something healthier (cheese and fruit are current hits) than just crackers, which she probably had for snack at day care anyways.  They eat way early at day care, so by 5 she’s hungry again after a 230 snack, so we can have an enjoyable 7 pm dinner


Now that I have two in school, including one with a 7:45am start time, I am making lunches the night before. (Oh, did I mention I have a newborn, too?) It is about the last thing I want to do at night, but I appreciate it when I can hit that snooze button one more time.