Back-to-School Checklist (for home or classroom)

boy at school desk thinking about back-to-school checklist

By now you’ve probably received the memo from your kid’s school as to whether they’re returning to the classroom or staying in the kitchen for more online learning. Either way, it’s time to start getting in gear for the new school year.

Our Zulily hashtag #FirstDayNewWay celebrates the one-of-a-kind ways we’re learning this season. We’ve got tips for helping kids keep a positive outlook PLUS an extra-special back-to-school checklist.

6 Tips for Talking About Back-to-School

1 Share all the details of the fall plan. Let older children read all correspondence from their school. Engage family members in discussing both practical, social and emotional concerns. Take the time to honor your student’s frustrations before problem-solving together.

2 Walk through health and safety concerns. If any part of their schooling will be in-person, will they need to wear masks? What kind would make them feel best? What will transportation look like? Are there ways to increase students’ (and parents’) comfort levels, such as carrying hand sanitizer or keeping school shoes and outerwear near the front door and away from in-house apparel?

3 Get practical. If schooling is online, what might be the best location for a workspace? If it’s a shared space, what are some ways to make it work for everyone? What technology needs do you foresee? Are there particular courses, such as lab-based science classes, that present special supply concerns? Take an actual walk through your home and talk through your plans. Make a list of back-to-school supplies you need.

Add fun to fall with our checklist of affordable finds that celebrate your child’s personal style.

Back-to-School Checklist for a Positive Mindset

4 Look beyond coursework. Will students particularly miss an extracurricular activity (sport, arts club, debate team, etc.)?  What specific elements of such activities were most important to them (e.g., exercise, competition, teamwork)? What organized or informal social events (school dances, movie nights with friends) will likely be impacted by the new plan.

5 Share your own feelings in a positive way and encourage children to do the same. If applicable, describe your own experience working from home, especially during the pandemic. Explain things you’ve noticed about your working style. How do you separate work time from family time? Regardless of your work situation, in what ways have you had to be more patient with yourself or others during the pandemic? What new skills or interests have you discovered?

desk and wall sign reading start unknown finish unforgettable

6 Try a “gratitude journal” approach. Brainstorm a family practice for keeping track of good things, life lessons, goals and even pandemic-friendly plans. Make simple decisions, like promising to greet each other with a positive “good morning” or contributing to a “compliments jar” in your kitchen. Consider scheduling a daily coffee break, walk or even watching a television show together.

Inspire kids to brush up on learning skills with interactive tools like our Storyteller Quiz and get some tips on Virtual Playdates That Work to help reconnect with school friends.