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Ages & Stages

Checklist for the First Day of School

​As you and your child prepare for the first day of the new school year, use this checklist to help make sure you have taken care of the necessary tasks and have the information you need.

  • Is your child registered? Many school districts hold registration for returning students during the spring of the prior school year, often online.

  • When is the first day of school, and what time does school start? What will your child's daily schedule be like?

  • How is your child going to get to school? If your child is biking, do they know the school rules for bicycles? If they are walking for the first time, who will they walk with to and from school? Have you reviewed safety precautions with them regarding traffic and strangers? (See "Walking and Biking to School: Keeping Kids Safe.")

  • Will they need to bring a snack? What kinds of snacks are allowed and encouraged? Are refillable water bottles allowed? Water is the perfect beverage, an inexpensive and healthy choice.

  • What time is lunch? Can your child buy it at school, and how much will it cost?

  • What clothes will your child need to wear? Are there any re­strictions on what they can wear? Will they need a different set of clothes for physical education or art classes?

  • Does your child need to bring supplies such as pencils, paper and notebooks ? Often, school districts will publish grade-specific school supply lists online ahead of time, and supplies can be brought in during the school walk-through day. Many parent-teacher organizations hold online fundraiser supply kit sales, as well.

  • Does your child have a backpack or something else in which to carry their books and supplies back and forth to school? Will they have a place (besides their desk) to keep their things at school?

  • Have you filled out all health forms or emergency contact forms sent home (or published online on the district website)?

  • Have any new health problems developed in your child over the summer that will affect their school day? Does the school nurse know about this condition, or is an appointment set up to discuss it?

  • If your child will need to take medication at school on the first day, have arrangements and necessary paperwork (usually requiring signatures from your pediatrician) been made for this?

  • Does your child know where they are going after school (like home or to a babysitter)? Do they know how they will get there? If you will not be there when they arrive, does he know who will be re­sponsible for them, what the rules are, and how to get help in an emergency?

  • Does your child have your cell and work telephone numbers memorized and accessible?

More information

Last Updated
Adapted from Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12, 3rd edition (Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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