Are You Forgetting Something? A Retrospective Back-to-School Checklist

You survived back-to-school 2021! Now that the school supply shopping and first-day jitters are behind us. Here’s a quick back-to-school checklist to help you take stock and make sure everything’s running like a well-oiled machine.

Add COVID Supplies to Your Back-To-School Checklist

Though not at the fever pitch (no pun intended) that it was in 2020, Covid-19 is still very much a part of back-to-school life -- especially when it comes to masks, hand-sanitizer and other first-line defenses. You packed those things on the first day, but have you checked in to see if they have what they need?

Is their back-to-school hand-sanitizer drying out their hands? If so, add some fun, scented hand moisturizer to the mix.

Are their back-to-school masks fitting properly and feeling good throughout the day?

Yes, these daily Covid routines are getting tiring for everyone, but they remain an important part of every back-to-school checklist.

Fun Activity Idea: Make Your Own Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer

Why not keep your kids engaged and empowered by involving them in the prep process? Make an activity out of crafting your own gel hand sanitizer. It’s fun and easy, and they will be only too excited to use their handmade sanitizer daily!

Backpack Fitting is Key to Back-to-School Success

While every kid wants the brightest and flashiest new backpack, an ill-fitting backpack can do more harm than good! Poorly designed backpacks can lead to strained muscles and joints, and serious back pain.

Doctors and physical therapists advise kids carry no more than 10% to 20% of their body weight in their backpacks. The ideal backpack will be lightweight bag with two wide, padded shoulder straps and a waist belt, with enough compartments to distribute weight evenly.

Now that school is under way, check how much weight your kids are carrying on a daily basis, and make adjustments as necessary. If it turns out that more books and/or computer supplies need to be hauled around this school year, you may need to make a mid-season backpack trade.

Fun Activity Idea: Make Your Own Snazzy Pencil Case

Even if your kid can’t have the bold backpack they wanted, you can make up for it in other ways. Why not trade off the backpack choice for a DIY pencil case? Next time the babysitter is in, have them make one of these designs to show off when you get home!

Back-to-school backpacks
Checking backpack fit is key on your back-to-school checklist.

Add the School Calendar to your Back-To-School Checklist

The school year is its own strange animal, full of random days off, half days, service days, and the like, which so many parents wind up forgetting about. Sync the school calendar to your personal and work calendars on your phone and computer, so that you can stay on top of any school-related affairs that might slip your brain. And don’t forget to share the calendar love with your spouse or co-parent, or any other caregivers in your child’s life.

Calendar Hack: Book Sitters and Activities for Out-of-School Days

In looking at your school calendar, you’re bound to see some random out-of-school days that are not tied to any holiday (or any other earthly rationale). Don’t get mad -- get ready! Go ahead and schedule a fun activity -- and maybe even a babysitter to lead the out-of-school adventure day.

Fun Activity Idea: Make a Family Calendar

If your kids are old enough to understand calendars (or at least pretend that they do), make calendar planning a group activity. Make a snazzy family calendar to hang on the wall in a central place, so that everyone knows what is going on, and when.

What's for Lunch?

Once they’re back to school, check in with your kids and see how lunch is going. Do they enjoy school lunches, or would they prefer a homemade one? Get access to the school lunch menu so you can see whether or not they are serving what your kid likes to eat. And don’t forget to sneak a note, small toy, or treat into their lunch bag occasionally to let them know you care!

To Have Good Friends, You Have To Be A Good Friend

Relationships are a critical part of any child’s development. Be sure to add a friend check-in to your back-to-school checklist. Consider this a prime time to get parental contacts, set up playdates, and meet everyone. This shows your kids you support their friendships, and are invested in their social and emotional well-being.

Don’t Forget About Academics!

When the wheels fall off at school, kids sometimes internalize the setbacks. Regular check-ins with your kids regarding classes are important. After all, you want your kids to know that home is a safe space to discuss any academic challenges they are facing. Use these opportunities to look for coping mechanisms that can help them or discuss tutoring options for particularly difficult parts of their day.

And What About You, Mom and Dad?

Don’t forget about yourself on that back-to-school checklist! Part of being a good parent is making sure you set aside some time for you to recharge as well. Happy parents are the best parents, so scheduling a little ‘me time’ is a must. Consider fitting a weekly or every-other-week babysitter night into your schedule. The right babysitter can do wonders for your weekly schedule.

A Sitter Gives You Time to Monitor Your Kid’s School Progress

All parents want their kids to have a positive school experience. The school years, after all, set the tone for the rest of life to come. Studies show that positive parental involvement leads to higher grades and test scores, better school attendance, improved social skills and behavior, higher self-esteem, and higher graduation rates.

The reality is, parents’ time is limited. It’s hard to keep on top of everything going on in your child’s life. But hiring a babysitter to juggle some parenting commitments may just be the solution you need to make it all work.

Students returning to school
Check in on academics as part of your back-to-school checklist.

Employing a Sitter Allows You to Participate in School Activities

It may sound counter-intuitive, but hiring a sitter can actually give you more time to participate in your kids’ school lives. Strategically employing a sitter to cover gaps in your schedule during the day means you can finish your work at a reasonable time, knowing your child is safely attended to. This then frees you up to attend school sporting events or weekend activities and field trips, and be an involved parent more generally.

Hiring a Sitter Gives Parents Time to Connect with Teachers

Employing a babysitter gives you the flexibility to be a more involved player in teacher interactions. A recent report by Johns Hopkins University finds that good communication between parents and teachers reduces absenteeism by up to 24%, increases academic performance, and leads to improved behavior across age groups. Regular and consistent parental involvement improves teacher performance as well, and will leave you feeling happier and more involved as a parent.

Make Back to School Season Easier with Nanno

The right babysitter can be beneficial for both you and your child’s life. Hiring a babysitter makes your own schedule more manageable, yes. But it also introduces your child to new people, which can help them learn new social skills and gain independence.

A well-vetted babysitter comes with experience, intelligence, and knowledge to give you the assist you need in raising your child. Using an app like Nanno can help you find the perfect one! Nanno’s network of more than 25,000 vetted and qualified sitters and nannies means finding a babysitter has never been easier. We offer babysitters and nannies for both spur-of-the-moment engagements and more regular, long-term needs, and every single care professional is thoroughly vetted.

Filling those gaps in the calendar is an integral part of your back-to school checklist. Check out Nanno today and complete our short onboarding quiz to find the perfect babysitter for your needs!

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About Zelda Miller
Houston, TX
Zelda is a writer, a world traveler, and a single mother. In a previous life, she was a software developer and startup founder. She is now a travel writer who focuses on traveling with kids.