As August rolls in it can only mean one thing: summer is coming to a close and the kids will be heading back to school before you know it. After 18 months of uncertainty, zoom lessons, and hybrid attendance schemes, the back to school routine probably doesn’t seem quite as, well, routine as it used to. For most parents, after the first year or so, getting the kids prepared to start school again was old hat. You get the list, hit your favorite big box store and dutifully check off whatever esoteric item the teacher insisted your kid needed. But this year, with many kids going back to school full time for the first time in over a year, kids and parents alike have got to be a bit frazzled. What used to be a practiced nuisance suddenly becomes fraught with all the things you’re positive you forgot that kids need that may not have made it on the school-approved list. So to help out already over-stressed parents, we’ve put together a list of all the things you may be forgetting.
Socks and Underwear
OK, so this seems basic, but when kids were going to school in their PJs on your tablet, you didn’t really need to worry if their socks had holes in them, or if their undergarments were quite as, shall we say, in as good a condition as they should be. It’s also highly possible that your pre-tween daughter may be needing or wanting a bralette for the upcoming year when she has to change for gym, that she probably didn’t think about while at home. Stock up on the basics, purge the grody old stuff, and start fresh with the right sizes in the new year.
Masks and Hand Sanitizers
As the great re-masking debate spreads across the country and school systems are making mandates on a per county basis, it’s best to be prepared for constantly changing policies. If you live in an area of the country that lifted mask mandates a while ago, it’s highly likely you either don’t know where the kids’ masks are, they outgrew them, or they’re not in the best shape after a year’s usage. Even if you do know where their masks are, it’s probably a good idea to replace them anyway. It’s very easy for the elastic straps to stretch out and make the masks effectively useless if they no longer cover their mouth and nose. While you’re at it, pick up a handful of the hand sanitizers that you can attach directly to their backpacks and lunchboxes so your kids don’t have to rely on finding sanitizer at school that may be out.
Contacts and Eyeglasses
If you’re like the rest of us, you probably put off all but the most critical trips to the doctor, and it’s likely that the optometrist wasn’t at the top of that list. In the last year and a half, your kids’ prescriptions have likely changed, and as they get back in the classroom, their eyes will be under a very different kind of strain trying to see the blackboard. If you don’t have time (or the desire) to get to the mall and go through the ordeal of picking them in person, you can always order their contacts or eyeglasses to be delivered directly to the house through DiscountGlasses.com or DiscountContacts.com. The best part is if they don’t fit, or the kids don’t like them (or they break them on the playground), their 365-Day Kid-Proof Warranty lets you return the glasses for a full refund for any reason for a year. It’s hard to beat that kind of ease when everything else is such a hassle.
Do your kids still fit in their gym sneakers or uniforms? Have they outgrown their baseball mitts or jockstraps? If your student has been off the field for a while, it’s highly likely they’ve outgrown their old equipment, and the last thing you want is to be blindsided trying to track something down the night before they need it when they finally remember to tell you something doesn’t fit. Be proactive and find out what they do, and don’t, have anymore.
After keeping the kids home for so long, your art supplies have probably dramatically dwindled. The markers have dried up, the crayons are broken, and the construction paper was cut up into bits on the carpet long ago. Yet with a new school year comes new projects that will require an endless supply of finicky equipment that only a devious teacher could have dreamed up stressed out by neverending Zoom lessons. Restock the art supply so you don’t get surprised when your middle child has a kite project due the next day and nary a ribbon remains in the art box.
A Special Token
Aside from our healthcare workers, the pandemic has probably taken the biggest toll on our kids. They’ve had to deal with their lives being entirely uprooted without being able to really understand why. Their development has been stunted without access to in-school learning, their hobbies, and sports, not to mention social activities. When they have been able to restart their lives, those activities have looked very different to how they did in the past, with masks, distancing, barriers, and stop and start schedules. Take the time to get your kid, no matter how old they may be, something special to take back to school with them so they can look at it and know you’re always with them, even if you’re no longer right next to them. Maybe it’s a keychain for their backpack, a special pen, or a keepsake for their locker; just choose something that will have meaning to you both (but hopefully isn’t so sentimental they’ll feel embarrassed). We all need a little extra support as life returns to normal, and even your toughest kids are no different.
Back to school is hectic enough, and starting another year in pandemic uncertainty definitely doesn’t help. Hopefully though, these tips will jog your memory and help you be better prepared to face whatever school and your student will throw at you this year!
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