Back to school government bonus

Back to school 2015 checklist

Preparing for the big day couldn’t be much easier for parents and children with the help of this handy back-to-school checklist.

It’s back-to-school time once again and you need to buy school supplies for your children. Whether you’re preparing your children for their first day of school or simply to continue for another term, here is a handy checklist to help you save money and get organised.

Back-to-school preparation

A new school year is here and parents are faced with financial and organisational challenges. How do you prepare your home for some of the busiest days of your lives? Are you ready to set the alarm clock for you to wake up early, attend to your children’s needs and prepare their meals?

For parents whose children will be attending school for the first time, the question that keeps them awake at night is whether their children are ready for school. It is important to assess your child’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. If your youngster is capable of doing things independently, following instructions, easily shifting from one task to another, interacting with other children, expressing their feelings and needs and does not have separation anxiety problems, they are good to go.

In order to prepare your children for school, constant interaction and guidance is required. Read with them and teach them the basics to fuel their interest in learning new things. Teach them songs, nursery rhymes and expose them to arts. Allow interaction with other kids to make them sociable and emotionally ready to have other kids around.

In general, make sure you have an organised plan for things to run smoothly. It is really challenging to arrange everything; you can have your checklist in place but you may still miss some points. To help make things easier for you, we have written a handy back-to-school checklist:

  • Keep a record of dates. Get a copy of the school calendar and take note of specific events, including the exact date and time when school begins.
  • Buy supplies early. Before buying the basics, keep a list of everything your children needs. Get a list of required school supplies from teachers so you will know which items to prioritise. Know the specific dress codes, uniforms and be ready with backpacks and lunch boxes in advance.
  • Health check. Make an appointment with your children’s paediatrician and make sure they have not missed the required vaccinations. Have their vision checked and if they have other health issues, follow the doctor’s advice for faster recovery.
  • Safety first. As part of back-to-school preparation, teach your children about physical and traffic safety. Make sure your children know their names and how to spell them, your home address and telephone number. Also, it’s wise to keep these contact details in your children’s backpacks in case of emergency.
  • Report bullying. It can’t be denied that bullies do exist in schools and in case your children are faced with bullying issues, teach them in advance the proper way to deal with bullies by reporting them to their teachers and other school authorities.
  • School bus training. Know the school bus’ drop-off points nearest you and the timetable. Teach kids to patiently wait and encourage waiting at the bus stop with a friend right after school. More importantly, warn your children to never accept offers for rides from strangers.
  • Discuss things with your children. Listen to their opinions and know their daily experiences to make the transition easier for them. Be honest with your children and let them know that you miss them too while they are in school.

All parents want the best for their children and you want their big day to be as enjoyable as they perceive it to be. Give them as much love and support as possible. With a little planning, you can breeze through going back to school simply and without a worry.

One month prior to school day

Prepare these items a month in advance so you and your children can be confident of beating back-to-school stress:

  • Double-check your children’s registration, especially if they are attending a new school.
  • Secure medical forms from the school and schedule an appointment with your physician to make sure your children have completed the required immunisations.
  • Obtain a copy of your children’s school calendar to verify the exact date for the first day of school.
  • Ensure that any summer assignments are completed if there any.
  • Sort out school supplies including clothing and prepare your back-to-school shopping list.

Three weeks prior to school day

Now is the right time to shop for clothes, backpacks and water bottles. Get ready with the list you have prepared and keep an eye on back-to-school deals online. Have your purchases delivered to your doorstep to avoid the hassle of queueing for hours at checkout counters.

  • Get your children involved with back-to-school shopping and inform them of the budget.
  • Help your children reconnect with classmates and friends by inviting them over for a playdate.
  • Bond with the whole family and make the most of your time together while your children are not yet busy with school stuff.
  • Stimulate their brains by engaging in mental games and other mind-boggling activities.
  • Arrange your children’s transportation. If they need to take the bus, be sure they know where and when to be picked up before and after school.

Two weeks prior to school day

  • Get your children’s rooms and study tables organised to provide a practical and cosy environment.
  • Review your children’s basic learnings and refresh them for school.
  • Start your children on their school year routines including studying and sleeping time.
  • Visit your children’s schools and locate the front office, toilets, classrooms, gym, playground and cafeteria.

One week prior to school day

  • Continue with the routine you have started for your children and include an eating schedule.
  • Arrange your children’s belongings in designated areas and place them in specific compartments for easy access.
  • Prepare a menu of your children’s favourite foods and have varied options for each meal.
  • Check your children’s supplies and make sure you have bought everything on the list you prepared.

Back-to-school shopping list and guide

Make your own back-to-school shopping list according to what your children need. School supplies could include the following:

  • Backpacks, personalised or with name tags
  • Lunch kits and water bottles, personalised or with name tags
  • Notebooks, folders and binders
  • Staplers and fasteners
  • Art smocks, uniforms and uniform accessories including hair ties, socks, hats and shoes
  • Non-toxic crayons, coloured pens, washable markers and highlighters
  • Index cards and sticky notes
  • Pencil cases
  • Pens, pencils, erasers and rulers
  • Umbrellas and lightweight foldable waterproof coats
  • USB flash drives
  • Tablets, e-readers, netbooks or computers
  • Packaged healthy snacks

Getting ready for the opening of another school year would not be complete without this back-to-school shopping guide:

  • Check your budget for sending your children back to school, including purchasing the required school supplies, uniforms and electronics. Take time to decide exactly how much you would allocate for each item.
  • Never forget to check your children’s unused school supplies from the previous school year, including unworn clothes. Scrap them from the list to trim it down.
  • Buy the most important things. Prioritise items to buy according to the list provided by the teacher. List the prices to match your budget.
  • Take advantage of back-to-school incentives and rewards. Be ready with coupons for additional discounts at the checkout plus watch out for minimum purchase requirements to take advantage of free shipping incentives.
  • Avoid the rush and heavy crowds. Shop online and enjoy the convenience of receiving items right at your doorstep.
  • Never forget to get your children involved in the whole back-to-school shopping process to teach them the importance of spending within your means. This lets you teach them financial independence as well.

Five days prior to school day

  • Schedule your children’s haircuts for fresher looks.
  • Plot your children’s schedules including all extra-curricular activities in a planner to make sure they are well monitored and they never miss any event from the school calendar.

Two days prior to school day

Shop for your children’s meals for the first week of school. Make sure to prepare your children’s favourite foods to keep them full and energised. It’s also a good idea to plan and shop for your children’s healthy snacks.

One day prior to school day

  • Never miss a thing by packing your children’s supplies in backpacks the day before.
  • Prepare clothes and uniforms and iron them.
  • Never forget to charge your camera to capture the most exciting moments on the first day of school.
  • Prepare your children’s snacks and lunches.
  • Set the alarm clocks so your children will be on time for school.

First day of school

The big day has finally come. Make sure everything is set and don’t forget to give the last-minute reminders to your children for their wellbeing and safety. Give them sweet words of advice for them to enjoy their first day of school.

Back-to-school time is here once again to take a chunk out of your finances. But whether your children are starting school for the first time or are continuing their respective year levels, it is always best to plan ahead and take advantage of every money-saving opportunity that comes your way. This checklist is your ticket to a fun-filled and exciting school year that won’t break the bank.

Shopping deals for back to school bargains

Buy Mr Men and Little Miss Stationery

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Buy Backpacks and Laptop Cases

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Shop for school uniforms

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Go back to school with SurfStitch

Shop SurfStitch's range of backpacks, pencil cases, lunchboxes and water bottles for your school needs.

Jeremy Cabral

Jeremy is a publisher for, he is also a personal finance all-rounder specialising in: Credit Cards, Savings Accounts, Personal Loans, Home Loans & Online Shopping.

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