14 Things to Do Now to Prepare for Back to School

These tips will make the back to school transition easier for you and your child.

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teenager buying different products in stationery shop
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Back to School Shopping

Get your kids involved in back to school shopping and it won’t seem like such a chore. Set spending limits for items such as clothing, shoes and backpacks and allow them to pick out what they like best, whether online or in a store. By doing this early, you’ll avoid long lines at stores and anxiety at home in the days before classes commence.

If your child must wear a uniform, make sure they have what they need before the first day. And don’t forget to set up a comfortable home study space if they will be distance learning.

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Chalkboard And Corkboard
via amazon.com

Create a Message Center

Life can be chaotic during the school year with all those online class meetings, sports practices and rehearsals. Create a message center so everyone in the family can keep track of schedules and appointments. You can build a home message center or purchase one that is ready to go.

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Father and daughter buying school supplies preparing to go back to school, on shoulders
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Stock up on Supplies

Whether you homeschool your child or send them off to a private or public school, there’s a good chance they’ll need some supplies. Many schools provide a list of everything your child will need. Stock up on pencils, erasers, markers and rulers now so they are ready to go on day one. And keep your school supplies organized so you can find everything when you need them.

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Dry Erase magnetic Calendar
via amazon.com

Magnetic Calendar

You’ll be a pro at back-to-school organization with this magnetic calendar. Place it where you can easily add appointments, practices schedules and concert dates to stay on track. Keep it near your message center to make all notes and plans easy to find.

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pipe desk finished-how-to-build-a-desk
Family Handyman

Create a Homework Station

Prepare for distance learning and homework by creating a comfortable environment where your student can focus on the tasks at hand. Create a space they can do their work with little to no distractions. You can build this sleek pipe desk in just a couple of hours.

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folding Lap Desk
via amazon.com

Get a lap desk

This folding lap desk is perfect for doing school assignments on the go. It can function as a laptop stand, travel desk, breakfast table, kids study desk and much more. There’s also extra storage space under the desktop. And the legs fold in flat, making these trays easy to store and portable. It’s the perfect accessory for your school technology.

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Mother putting son to sleep at home
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Prepare for Mornings

Now’s the time to prepare for those hectic early mornings. Get in the habit now of making lunches the night before. About two weeks before school starts, have your children go to bed a little earlier each night and wake up to an alarm clock so they’re ready for the first day.

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Insulated Lunch Box
via amazon.com

Insulated Lunch Box

Back to school also means packing your child’s lunch each morning. This insulated lunch box will keep everything cool (or warm) until they’re ready to eat.

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Make Sure Work is Completed

Was your child assigned school work to complete over the summer? Make sure they’ve done their reading and any summer homework packets. 

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Backpack Organizer station
via amazon.com

Create a Backpack Station

Set up a backpack and coat station. This can be installed in an entryway or mudroom as a designated spot for kids to hang their belongings when they come home each day. It can also help cut down on clutter.

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Man holding mop and plastic bucket with brushes, gloves and detergents in the kitchen
seksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Getty Images

Wipe Out Germs

Back to school time often means germ season. Make sure to stock up on cleaning supplies (or make your own) to keep surfaces clean and stop the spread of germs.

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light up alarm clock
via amazon.com

Make Mornings Easier with this Alarm Clock

No one will be late for class with this smart alarm clock. Sunrise simulation wakes you up gradually. It also works as a bedside light.

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girl choosing outfits for school

Choose Outfits

Get your kids in the habit of choosing clothes for the week on Sunday. Have your child lay out his or her clothes that they plan to wear the night before. Not only will this make mornings less chaotic, but it may even help cut down on your laundry throughout the week.

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bag organizer
via amazon.com

Bag Organizer

Keep your kid’s school bag or backpack organized with this clever insert. It features pockets for a cell phone and tablet, planner, pens and even snacks. And keep your mudroom organized with these DIY lockers.

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Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.