CHECKLIST: 15 Things to Do BEFORE the Kids Start School

Some mums are super organised when it comes to back to school. Then there’s me. The “yes, my kid needs a late slip again”  mum. 

But this year, things are going to be different.  This year I am on a mission to prove to myself that, yes, I can organise the shi*t out of two school-aged kids. And no, I won’t be THAT mum who forgets their lunch the first week.

Second week, probably. But not the first week.

For the first time in my entire parenting career, BOTH of my kids will be at school this year.  It’s exciting and sad at the same time. It’s a new chapter for us all. And one that I am determined to master.

Because my track history with school organisation is sub par to say the least, I’ve decided to put together a checklist of all things I SHOULD do before the kids start school.

So what are some of the things that organised mums do to prepare for that first week back to school? Here’s 15 back to school tips to get you started.

1. Buy all their school stuff

I’m talking books, bags, shoes and stationery the whole kit and caboodle.

Check out our back to school supplies list – you can purchase the items by clicking on the links in the story and you could even WIN some of them. That’s going to save your budget for sure. The list has smartwatches, wrap containers, labels, proper fitting school shoes, Bento Boxes, drink bottles – yep just about everything you need to get your kid ready for school.

If your little one attends a public school, then you may be able to do uniforms for less than $40. Check out our back to school cheats to see how it’s done. Private or Catholic school parents, like myself, will probably find themselves forking out a little more (okay, A LOT more) for uniforms.

mum central

2. Set up a super organised school station

This year, it’s all about the school stations – an area in your home where you can keep all their school crap and reduce the need for them to ask “Where are my shoes?” 15 times every morning. And if you keep a list of school term dates on the wall above, you’ll always know what’s what.

mum central

We’ve uncovered some of the best Kmart products to hack into school organisation stations. These ideas are pure back to school awesomeness.

3. Force the kids to get up early

If you’ve diverted from the regular morning wake-up time, then now’s the time to get them ready for an earlier wake-up. Because, rolling out of bed at 8am isn’t going to cut it when school starts. Sorry kids. Of course, early to rise means early to bed as well… Try sending them to bed 15 minutes earlier each night from now until school starts. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get it right just in time for the first day back!


Make sure to put a name on EVERYTHING your kid is taking to school. They’ll still lose their water bottles, hats and containers in the first week back, but this way you’ll be able to find it in the usually-icky lost property bin. Plus, it’s something the kids can do themselves and hopefully keeps them entertained for a full half-hour.

back to school tips

Oh, you may want to grab some clear contact too. See #13 for instructions.

5. Make hair cut appointments

New year. New do. And, while you’re at it, check out these super easy back to school hair styles. If you have time, scheduling a dentist appointment is also a good idea.

back to school hairstyles

6. Do a practice run

Yes, super organised mums prepare for back to school by doing a timed trial beforehand. We’re talking making lunches, loading the car up and driving to the front gate.

I am not that mum.

But, hey, it’s a good move if it’s a new school or you are new to the neighbourhood.

7. Get the kids used to their new gear 

Even if you’re not making the timed school run, it is a good idea to give your first-timers a trial of their new gadgets – lunch boxes, water bottles, containers, school bags – just to make sure they can open, close and use them without assistance.

school absent policy

This is also the case for shoes. Let them wear their new shoes for a couple of hours beforehand to break them in and avoid first-day blisters.

8. Buy a bunch of plain socks

And bypass the whole, “I can’t find any socks” drama. Place all the socks in a basket in the launchpad area and point them in the right direction.

9. Attempt to bake and freeze some snacks

Or, if you’re like me, burn them and feed them to the dog. Check out these school snacks that are easy to make, almost impossible to burn and freeze well so you can grab and go in the mornings.

easy lunch box snacks and after school treats

10. Take their uniforms to your mother-in-law so she can hem them if they are too big

And possibly iron them too (thanks MIL!).

11. Return the umbrella to the car (or buy a new one) 

Because, you just know, that as soon as you arrive at school drop off, it’s going to start to rain.

12. Take one of those cute back to school photos

You know those adorable signs you can buy or make that showcase your wee one on the first day of school? Get one, dress the kiddies in their school gear and start snapping those photos.

back to school checklist photo
Image via Etsy

Or, bypass the traditional and take one of you jumping for joy as you prepare to drop them off.

mum central
Image via Keisha Leeann Gardner

13. Buy a bottle of wine and attempt to clear contact their books

Get drunk, give up and pass the task on to your partner who has much more patience for clear contact.

14. Pick up some tissues

If this is your first school experience, then there is a pretty good possibility of tears, either on your or your child. Or both.

I will be the first to admit that I cried like a blubbering baby when I dropped my son off that first day. And when my daughter finished kindy. And pretty much anytime either of them gets an award, wins an event at Sports Day or receives a medal of any kind. Yes, I am an over-sensitive weirdo. But soon-to-be an organised, over-sensitive weirdo.

15. Throw a back to school party  

It doesn’t have to be big or involve anyone except your family. Have a BBQ in the backyard or go out for dinner. Share some cookies and milk. Spend a night in a hotel or caravan park or stay up later than normal watching movies (I know, this deviates from #3, but, hey, it’s just ONE night).

Back to School party idea from Parties for Pennies
Image source: Parties for Pennies

This little bit of special family time is a great way to celebrate the end of school holidays and start this new chapter on a positive note.

So there we are – 15 ways to kick serious back to school goals.

How many can you check off the list? If I manage to tick 10 of the 15 things off the list, then I will consider it a win and reward myself with double wine. And possibly a solo trip to Kmart after drop off.

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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