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A Back To School List For Single Parents

Updated on September 2, 2016

"Mom, next week Monday is the first day of school, did you remember to get all I need for school?" As you look into the brown eyed kid, you realized you forgot to get practically everything. Time flew by and so did summer and you recalled that you promised this year would be different. This year you will have a list, a list you can’t seem to find, to help you be better prepared for back to school. Don’t despair refer to this list as you rush to prepare for back to school.

Item 1. Start a back to school bedtime routine a week or two before the first day of school

All summer long my kid would go to bed at various wee hours in the night. One day I woke up, around 4ish, and the kid was still up multi-task: playing with toys, watching TV and writing as well as reading. I shook my head and said “bed time”. The response was, “But, mom this is not a school night”. I shook my head again and walked away. All summer long routine of late nights must be adjusted back to school night sleeping habits and that cannot be done overnight. It will take about a week sometimes more, contingent on your child’s cooperation, to get back into academic sleep mode.

Experts say a good night’s sleep is important to academic success. In fact they aver when a child does not get a proper night’s sleep his temperament changes which manifest in school behavioral problems. One study declared that when a child does not get the 8 to 9 hours sleep per night his academic performance will fall below average.

Establishing back to school sleeping habits is fairly easy – eliminate late night set-ups. This elimination begins in the morning. Have your child begin his diurnal activities late mornings early afternoon. Playtime, television and social time should end early evenings, around 6ish. After six call your child indoors, provide dinner and begin the “waning” down process. Bath and bed at nine. It’s a great routine that worked well for my daughter once she realized it was a committed schedule, no exceptions.

Item 2. Get your child’s immunization card up-to-date.

Immunization is surrounded with some controversy, however the state and federal laws concerning school attendance stand firm: if you plan to have your child attend public schools he must be vaccinated.

The below information can help single parents understand the role of proper vaccination.

  • Children are more susceptible to disease than adults and vaccination should start early.
  • Children can contract: Diphtheria, Haemophilus Influenzae type b, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus, Measles, Meniongococcal, Mumps, Pertussis, Pneumococcal, Polio, Rotavirus, Rubella, Tetanus, and Varicella.
  • Children are given minimal doses to help build their immune system.
  • There are side effects to vaccination so it is important to monitor your child for severe reactions.
  • If a stark reaction occurs take your child immediately to the doctor. Do Not Delay.
  • Keep good track of your child’s immunization card, never alter and change it. Overdose or lack of can be deadly to your child.
  • Free vaccination is available in some communities.
  • There is an 800 phone number to answer any immunizations questions. Parents can call the CDC at 1 800-CDC-INFO.

If you are a first time parent to the education system you will soon find that schools are very serious about immunization and that schools will not accept children without proof of proper immunizations. Click here for age related immunization:

Item 3. Purchase school supplies, uniform or school clothes

Since most school have student uniforms, this to do item can be accomplished on the weekends with very little setbacks. The exception is high schools, most of which do not require uniform. When purchasing school clothes for your high school student, the best approach comes from establishing a fixed budget. If the outfits that your teenager wants is within the budget then good if not “too bad so sad”. That was the phrase I used with my daughter, initially there was a struggle. However she eventually fell in line with the budget restriction. As we entered the department store, I said “nothing over $10.00” she would chime in on the phase and say “I know, I know”. She was able to find name brand clothes that she liked within that price limit and we both left the store happy. The secret to our successful shopping was entering department stores that sold name brands for less.

Item 4. Establish school safety tips

The world is shrinking so safety is unpredictable and as such preparing for the worst begins with establishing good safety school habits. As you and your child prepare to attend school below are some helpful safety behaviors and practices:

  • Whenever you child is in possession of a cell phone program an emergency contact number under the title, ICE (in case of an emergency). You can also pin an ICE note inside your child’s backpack.
  • If your child will walk to school have two or three rehearsal trips with him and during these walks review yours and street safety rules.
  • Remind your child not to talk to strangers; and to run and scream for help when an adult exhibits aggression.
  • Help your child understand park visits are planned events with family and that it is unsafe to go there alone.
  • If your child rides his bike to school remind him to always wear his hamlet and to cross the street at the traffic light. Communicate to him that he should ride on the right with traffic, not against.
  • After exiting the bus remind your child never to stand in front or behind the bus; these areas are blind spots for the bus drivers.
  • If you have a 5th grader or higher, a safe meeting area within the school community, for major emergencies met-ups.
  • Frequently, practice the drop and crawl move with your child of any age. This movement is used when gun shots are heard.
  • If your child is old enough to understand, explain to him the play dead act. During a shooting if a body appears dead the gunman will more likely move on.
  • Tell your child if they hear something that might cause harm to any student quietly report it to his teacher.

CC by Flickr
CC by Flickr | Source

Item 5. Make arrangement with your job to volunteer at your child’s school

What if it is possible to directly improve your children’s grade? What if you can discourage bullying? How about being able to ensure better teacher performance? Or, what about having an input in the text books, subjects, and programs at your children’s school? It is not just a future expectation it can happen now, the minute you begin volunteering in your child’s school.

Classroom help: Consider volunteering in your children’s classroom. Classroom teachers are constantly bombarded with demanding students. As a volunteer you can help with the various remedial requests freeing teachers to focus on all things academic. At the end of day, teachers need volunteers to help de-clutter and clean their classrooms. Sometimes just having another adult walking the classrooms aisles will subdue disciplinary actions.

Office volunteer work: If you ever spent more than 30 minutes in a school’s office you would understand that the administration of academic moves at a fast speed. Progress reports and report cards get enveloped, addressed and or mailed. The telephone rings with parent inquiries about resolution and or information. Consider volunteering an hour a week in the office. It pays off big because you have firsthand knowledge of academic opportunities.

Organized volunteer: Join the PTA! Most PTA or PTO meetings are once a month but impact the school culture for a life time. Members of the PTA receive invites to district and state meetings where academic decisions are made.

Research supports that parents who volunteer in their child’s school produce happy confident students. Consider volunteering today.

Item 6. Talk with your child about your academic expectations

Whatever your child’s aptitude it will benefit him when you establish at the beginning of the school year his academic goals. With goals in place you both can work toward desired achievement. Establishing and meeting these objectives first begin with selecting the appropriate class and end with tutorial as needed. A child responses best with emotional support and confidence. If you believe in his abilities, verbalize repeatedly your faith in him, this will motive him to work diligently towards targeted success. Remember to set realistic goals, it will be silly to expect a 12 year old to do open heart surgery. This exaggerated contrast services to remind parents to work within the boundaries of their child’s aptitude. Many parents live in “denial-land” concerning their child’s abilities and place unrealistic demands on their child which only ends in failure. Love and accept your child and in due course he will blossom academically.

Back to School CC by Flickr
Back to School CC by Flickr | Source

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Item 7. Start your child’s vitamin supplement

The school year can mean runny noses, cough and high temperatures. Your kid does not have to be the person with these symptoms. A week before school start a vitamin and nutrient supplement. The supplement can be as supply as Vitamin C or as complex as omega 3. Check with your child’s pedestrian for best practices.

Item 8. Discuss with your child if school lunch or brown bagging it would be best

The school year can have less hiccups when you and your child both agree on a lunch system - school lunch, take lunch or a combination of both. Once your child commits to a preference you can make the necessary financial plan to prevent the embarrassment of not making timely school lunch payments. If you child refuses school lunch remember that academic success interdependently falls on what you feed your child. This website has some suggestions for healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks.

First school bus ride CC by Flickr
First school bus ride CC by Flickr | Source

Item 9. Talk with your child about extra-curricular activities

If your child’s school offers extra-curricular activities no need to sign up for every activity, help your child select his favorite activity and ensure he commits to it. Furthermore, monitor your child’s academic standing while he participates in the activity; sometimes a child cannot multi-task and is unable to communicate his inabilities.

Vaccination CC by Flickr
Vaccination CC by Flickr | Source

Item 10. Schedule a doctor’s appointment

Preparing for back to school can poke a big whole in your pocket, to help alleviate this burden click here and here to check out free to low cost lunch programs and health coverage for your child. Health care experts recommend that students receive a thorough physical exam before their first day of school. This preventative care can help establish special needs such as eye glasses, hearing aids or allergies.

Item 11. Prepare yourself for homework

It matters not what grade or school, your child will have homework. My daughter’s math homework always looked like a foreign language to me, therefore I was grateful for any suggestions. Check out for tips and on how to help with homework.

Save this list to your phone and use it to help in your back to school process knowing that at least some aspects of your child’s schooling will be quick and easy.


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    • Flipsgeraldine profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvette Marshall 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I hope it helps.

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      Looks like a pretty complete checklist!


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