The countdown is on! We are just 15 days away from the first day of school on Thursday, Sept. 7. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything left to do before the kids return, here is a countdown checklist that we hope helps.
Gameplan time! By now, some families have finished all school shopping, summer packets are complete, and book bags are packed. Yet some of us (ahem, me!) still have some things to finish. So grab a pen and make a list of what needs to be done over the next two weeks to prepare for back to school. And then breathe, you got this!
Bedtime routine. Experts say that children should begin to adjust to their school bedtime schedule at least two weeks before the first day. Have your child go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until their desired bedtime is reached. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the amount of sleep needed by age group is:
Ages 3–5 years: 10–13 hours (including naps)
Ages 6–12 years: 9–12 hours
Ages 13–18 years: 8–10 hours
Back-to-school shopping. We’re sure plenty of folks will be out school shopping this weekend. Today, be sure to place any online orders so they arrive on time. Check out in-store sales so you can find the best deals and plan ahead if you are braving the crowds over the next two weekends.
Transition. For those entering a new school, make sure you prepare your child so they know what to expect. Older siblings can give advice on how different middle school is from elementary, or what to expect in high school. For the little ones, make sure they know their teacher’s name and practice memorizing your phone number and address.
Goals. For students who are entering an important transition year such as seventh grade, which is looked at on high school applications, or seniors gearing up for college, sit down and map out goals. Also be sure to meet with your school’s guidance counselor this fall to create a checklist of goals and important dates to be aware of. Here’s a handy checklist for 12th graders planning for college.
After-school plans. Here’s your reminder to finalize your after-school plans. Here is a list of things to consider:
- If you are enrolling your child in an after-school program, are all necessary forms filled out?
- If you or someone will be doing pick-up, have you finalized the schedule and decided who will be added to the list of names they have permission to go home with?
- If they will be walking home or taking mass transit by themselves for the first time, have you practiced the route together?
If you are scrambling to figure out an after-school program for your child, check in with the parent coordinator at your school for information on which programs are offered on site at the school or which programs offer pick up from the school.
Access school accounts. Make sure you have access to all of the school accounts that you will be utilizing during the school year so you’re not scrambling to figure out login credentials. The NYC Schools account gives parents the ability to track their children’s progress like grades, test scores and attendance.
Haircuts. If your child is going for a new ‘do’ this school year, don’t wait until the day before for the big chop. Doing it a week before gives them time to adjust to the change and figure out how to style it before the first-day madness.
Plan the year. Take a moment to pull up the 2023-24 school year calendar and sync to your personal calendar so you can keep track of school holidays, breaks and parent-teacher conferences. This helps with planning vacations and doctors appointments.
Get organized. Make the day-to-day routine easier by getting organized for the new year. Clean out dressers and closets, designate a set of drawers just for uniforms if applicable, get desks organized, and create a grab-and-go station for healthy snacks in the kitchen for after school. This website has some convenient printables for clothing and food labels to help with planning outfits and designating school snacks.
Meal plan. Meal planning not only helps with time management but also saves money — and we all know food prices are insane right now. Sit down as a family to plan out the week’s breakfast and dinner- and lunch if kids won’t be eating school lunch. Check out this list of meal planning apps.
Charge up. Those school tablets probably haven’t seen the light of day since June. Here’s your reminder to charge all school devices.
Relax. Hopefully you’ve accomplished everything on your to-do list and today you can take a moment to relax and spend time together before the hustle and bustle of the school year begins! If not, use today to tie up any loose ends.
Prep time. Tomorrow is the big day. Here are a few things you can do to make tomorrow morning go smoother:
- Set alarms
- Have outfits picked out
- Leave lunch packed in the fridge
- Prep breakfast items
Happy first day back! We hope this school year goes smoothly for everyone and this countdown was helpful!