Back to school checklist

Pens and assorted stationery

Life seems to go from zero to one hundred during the first few weeks of school. We've pooled our years of experience as frazzled parents to bring you some suggestions to make the rest of the year run more smoothly. Good luck!

  • Check the school has all your contact information including daytime phone numbers. Have you changed address or phone number since last year?
  • Have you nominated a current emergency contact – someone who would be able to come and collect your child if you weren't available? After you check with them, supply their details to the school.
  • Medications that are kept at school. Are they up-to-date with complete, current instructions for use? Have you supplied any ‘consumables' necessary for administering the medication to your child?
  • Does your child need a mobile phone this year? Make sure they have your contact numbers and emergency contacts programmed into their phone. Also establish the rules of use at school. Many primary schools require students to leave their phone at the office during the school day and collect it when class finishes. Make them use a phone cover and consider taking out  insurance in case they lose their phone.
  • Label uniforms, lunch boxes, bags etc. clearly (this will save you $$$!)
  • If you pack a lunch box, make sure you include a frozen drink or ice brick to help prevent food poisoning – especially in summer.
  • Buy a large pump pack of sunscreen and keep it somewhere visible and handy. Get into the habit of slathering your child's face, neck and limbs before school each day.
  • Introduce yourself to the teacher early in the year. If your school has an orientation night or 'meet the teacher' event make a point of attending.
  • Does your child's class have a volunteer 'class parent' to help the teacher organise events, send out communications etc? If so, make sure you supply them with your contact details (if you want to be included in emails etc) and even consider volunteering for the role. It usually only means an hour at most a week and is guaranteed to keep you in the loop on all class events.
  • If your child is in high school ask them to write all their teachers' names on their timetables and make a copy for the fridge. If they have a mobile phone, have them take a photo of their timetable so they have it on them all the time.
  • Connect with at least one other parent in the class and exchange contact details – it's great to have someone to double check with when you're not sure about class events etc.
  • If you can find just one morning a month to volunteer at the school it's really worth the effort. Your child will love having you in the canteen or helping with reading, it helps you get to know the teachers and you'll get know your child's classmates a little better.

If you have any more tips for other parents, share them with us. All advice gratefully accepted!


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