The first day of school is weeks away, so who really wants to start thinking about getting back to the grind when there's still time to enjoy the last dreamy days of summer? Or maybe your summer schedule is as frantic as ever, with work, summer camp, day care and everything else filling your itinerary.
Even so, time's a wasting.
Not to worry. Take a deep breath. Start making your own to-do list, or simply borrow ours. Get to it, bit by bit, and you'll be ready.
Back to School To-Do List for Parents/Guardians
• Collect any needed documentation such as immunization records, Social Security numbers, the doctor's note for any prescribed medications your child will need to take during the school day.
• Schedule appointments for any immunizations, physicals, dental and eye exams your child needs.
• Check out the school calendar and note the important dates in your own so you can be available to attend school orientation, meet the teacher day and open house.
• Make a list of contact and emergency phone numbers you will need to supply on orientation day.
• Update the contact list in your cell phone to include your child's school's telephone number, the after-school day care program, any carpool contacts and, if your child takes the bus, the district transportation number. If your child has a cell phone, make sure he or she is supplied with parent/guardian work numbers and any emergency contact numbers he or she might need if you cannot be reached.
• Take inventory of school supplies, books and clothes. See if you can get another year out of that backpack, lunch box, calculator or pile of three-pronged folders. Divide items into three categories: what stays, what can be passed on to others and what needs to be trashed. In the case of clothing, consider hosting your own clothes exchange with other parents/kids. Bring what's left over to local thrift shops, organizations that serve the homeless or contact the ABC program coordinator at your child's school to see if they need donations.
• Watch the sales, cut coupons and start purchasing items you know your child will need, such as filler paper, science backboards and folders. (Check your school's website to see if supplies are listed there.) Same goes for clothing, but be sure to check out the school dress code first.
• Set up a study/homework spot in a quiet area in your home. Stock with needed supplies: paper, pencils, pens, dictionary, etc.
• Create a "school stuff" place — a basket, shelf or hook — for backpacks, lunch box, sweater, sneakers, etc., so those items will be easy to grab on hectic mornings.
• Purchase a file folder for important school papers: permission slips, report cards, school letters. Consider a separate folder for your child — particularly if he or she is in high school — to hold report cards, volunteer documentation, awards and any other information they will need for college applications or an employment resume.
• Get a calendar or a whiteboard and hang it in a prominent place so you can see at a glance when those after-school activities or doctor's appointments are scheduled.
• Figure out a morning bathroom schedule if there are multiple people getting ready in the morning.
• Set the rules for when homework must be completed and school-day turn-off times for the television and computer.
• If he or she doesn't have one already, get your child a library card.
• Make sure your child is on track to complete any summer assignments that are due the first week of school.
• If your child is riding the bus, particularly for the first time, check out the bus route and go for a dry run. Point out any landmarks along the way so your child will be well aware of where they need to get off the bus.