My Secret School Supply List

This article, entitled "My Secret School Supply List," comes from Erin Ferris at Chasing Roots.

If you have kids between the ages of four and 18 you know that with the arrival of August comes the dreaded-but-necessary trip to your local big box or office supply store to purchase school supplies. Waiting until the last minute often translates to an anxiety-driven search for the #2 yellow pencils, water-based markers in classic colors, 12x18 inch manila paper, and vinyl folders with brads found on your child’s school supply list. Shopping head of time, however, generally alleviates at least some of that stress and therefore contributes to a smoother transition back to school.

With that theory in mind, I created a “Secret School Supply List” which includes items – all of which can be purchased, gathered, found, and/or stocked up on ahead of time – I expect will lift spirits, improve moods, lessen stress and anxiety, and help ease kids from the relaxed days of summer into the scheduled days of school. I hope one or two or all of these do the trick for you and for your kids!

  • Interesting alarm clock. Before my son started kindergarten I bought him his very first alarm clock. He picked it out – bright blue with different colored numbers – and learned how to set it himself, and his investment in this simple piece of technology meant he was considerably more cooperative when it came to rising and shining each morning.

    My daughter picked out the exact same alarm clock as my son, except in hot pink. If she hadn’t made that choice I might have encouraged her toward a clock that starts lighting up the room as “wake up time” approaches.

  • Special first-day-of school outfit. We live in Texas, where we wear shorts and tank tops long into November, so I do very little back-to-school clothing shopping for my kids during the summer months. I do, however, make sure that both kids have an outfit they really love and in which they feel comfortable for the first day of school; seeing something they’re excited to wear sitting on the dresser gets them moving as soon as they hop out of bed.

    If your kids don’t really care about their clothing or they wear uniforms, consider laying out a fun accessory – a cool watch or special hair bow – for them to put on that first morning.

  • Fun breakfast, lunch, and snack foods. I love sending my kids off for the first day of school full of a fun and (mostly) nutritious breakfast. I often serve miniature powdered sugar donuts…alongside scrambled eggs, “banana monies” (sliced banana medallions), blueberries, and orange juice; my kids clean their plates, and head out the door happy and nourished and ready to tackle the day.

    I also stock up on their favorite lunches and snacks; familiar/comfort foods – sent from Mom or Dad with love – can make a long first day of school seem much more manageable. Sliced strawberries, pretzel goldfish crackers, and chocolate chip cookies never fail to lift my kids’ spirits.

  • Illness prevention remedies and treatment supplies. During the first few weeks of school kids are exposed to all kinds of unfamiliar bacteria and viruses. I try to build up my kids’ immune systems ahead of time, and I stock up on the basics for treating the symptoms of colds, tummy bugs, etc. before the first day of school.

    Why is it that kids’ illnesses don’t present themselves until bedtime? I can’t remember the last time one of my kids came down with a cold, stomachache, or ear infection in the morning, when the doctor’s office and the pharmacy are actually open.

  • Last but not least…groceries, toiletries, paper products, etc. The suddenly faster pace of the school year is challenging to adjust to, so I try to tackle my to-do list the weekend before school starts – or while the kids are in class – so that at least during that first week I don’t have to drag the kids out in the afternoons and evenings to run errands.

    Nothing puts my son in a worse mood than having to run errands. As a 14-month-old, he would frantically sign “ALL DONE. ALL DONE” as soon as we reached the front door of Target in an effort to communicate to me how unhappy he felt about shopping.

So there you have it. I hope these “extra” school supplies help make your family’s transition back to school a smooth one!



About the Author...
Erin Ferris
My name is Erin, and I’m a wife, mother, and writer living in College Station, Texas.
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