Back to School Check List

Back to School Check List

Lindsay Hutchins is a wife and mother living in Saint
Augustine, FL. She loves sharing affordable fashion, the real
side of motherhood and anything life throws her way. Lindsay has always had a passion for writing, fashion and empowering women. A lot of this began after having her daughter and wanting to share openly about her struggles with an eating disorder, postpartum depression, and anxiety. As a mother, you sometimes throw your needs out the window and focus solely on your family. But Lindsay is wanting to share that you deserve happiness too. So, sharing her fashion, beauty, motherhood and lifestyle posts are truly a piece of her to you in hopes that she can inspire others to feel empowered to take care of themselves too. check out her website: and follow her on Instagram: @lindsay_p_hutchins

Okay, let’s talk about what we should (or should try to) start doing about 1 week before school starts:

Adjust Bedtime routine: I don’t know about you all, but we have totally been slackers when it came to a strict bedtime schedule. This means later nights, sleeping in (for the kids not me ... mom life), and almost no naps or at least sporadic ones. BUT that all needs to change now. When school starts, we have to be up by a certain time so we’re not late. Setting up bedtimes now means by the time school
is here they’re ready to go. Everyone is used to the new bedtime routine. This will mean the morning routine just got a little easier and less stressful.

Morning Routine: once school starts, this may change, but
start getting the kids up when they will need to be up for school. The more aware they are of what’s to come can help everyone have a great start to the school year.

Setting Goals: This conversation might be a little different depending on the ages of your kiddos. Madelyn is 4 and starting VPK (Voluntary Prekindergarten) so we will talk to her about how she will treat her friends, what she hopes to learn about, and then we may set goals for counting to higher numbers, writing, spelling, etc. But for older kids, this can definitely be a little deeper. They can write down their goals for the year (grades, extracurricular activities, sports, etc) on note cards and put them on their mirrors in their room/bathroom.

Lunches: You’ve got the routines down but now it’s time for us to start figuring out what the kids take to school for
lunch. Not sure about y’all, but when Madelyn first went to
school, I spent forever on Pinterest looking for recipes. It was so overwhelming! And then how in the world was I going to pack this all up into a lunch box?!? Well, thankfully Bentgo had us covered in all these areas. Their amazing boxes are so easy to pack a healthy, simple, and filling lunch for your kids! AND, their amazing IG @bentgo has some killer quick and healthy lunch recipes. Check it out for some added inspiration.

Maddie picked her lunch here, but what this Momma loves is how easy it is to pack and make healthy choices!

Lunchbox Notes: Okay, this may seem a little cheesy to some people, but to me, the little notes I got in my lunch box from my mom/dad are still some of my favorite memories. Keep it simple at first, “have a great day” - “be kind” - “remember you’re loved”. But if your kiddo is going through something or has a big test coming up, encourage them about it. For example, Madelyn has been working so hard on her speech the past year and has improved so much that a little “I’m so proud of you” or“You’re such a hard worker” means so much to her. If your kiddo has a big test, something like “You got this” or “Don’t forget to breathe” (that was normally what I needed to hear) can go a long way.

*Side note: if your child can’t read, like Madelyn - Let their
teacher know you will be adding little notes to their lunchbox
and you would appreciate it if they help them read it. Most would be more than happy to assist.


1 Day Before School

Outfits: If you haven’t already, go ahead and choose and lay out what they will be wearing tomorrow. Since Madelyn is still young, this is a little easier as I mainly pick the items. I personally lay everything out downstairs on the couch. Top, bottoms, socks, shoes, bow. That way you can visually see if there is anything you’re missing. If your child is older, they might want to be more hands-on, which is completely fine. Have them lay their outfit out in their room so they can see if they need anything else. Trust me - this helps the next morning not be so chaotic - running around looking for socks or a matching bow (been there, done that).

*Pro tip:  I do this every night before school, or as often as possible. It helps me not have to worry the next morning.

**Another Idea: If you have an older kid (middle school or high school), you can actually take pictures of outfits. Either with them dressed in the outfit or flat-lays. Make a poster board or save as an album on your/their phone. If they’re having a hard time in the morning, they can go to the board for more inspiration, and hopefully, help cut down on time. (Can you tell where I remember struggling in the mornings?!?)

Lunchbox & Backpack: Teaching kids how to use their new lunchboxes and having them help pack it is HUGE! Not
only will it help you at home when leaving for school in the
mornings but it will also help the teachers since they won't have to load/unload all the backpacks/lunch boxes. I know Madelyn’s class (3-year-old Pre-K) encouraged us to have everything in the backpack (including the lunchbox) and have them bring it in themselves. Once kiddos have homework/books and bigger backpacks, having their lunchbox in their backpack may not work. Packing your lunchbox is very easy thanks to Bentgo. You just
put your kiddos yummy packed lunchbox into their lunch bag, add their drink, utensils (if needed/allowed), your note, and zip up and done! Sometimes the zipping part is
hard for kiddos but having them try and gain some
confidence/skills is awesome to see.

1st-day Photo Tips: Start the getting ready process at least 30 mins early. This way you have time for pictures! Let the kiddos know ahead of time so they’re prepared. If taking pictures outside in the morning, the sun is likely up and super bright (at least it is here in Florida) or it may be just coming up. If sunny, it’s better to take some pictures in the shade and use an app like Lightroom to brighten them up. This way the kiddos aren’t squinting because the sun is in their face.

*ProTip: We normally go right in front of the closed garage or
on our patio. It’s a solid background and usually has a little bit of shade, but the sun is shining in front. I use the app Lightroom with set presets (you can find some on Etsy or some of your fave bloggers may sell them too, I personally use Aubrey Alley or Alexa Jean). Presets are amazing because it’s all set for you, you just click and it adds the preset to your picture (brighten, clarity, saturation, etc).
If you want a sign in your picture, make sure it is done ahead of time! The last thing you want to be doing is getting that together the day of. Remember that the day needs to have as little stress as possible so we all start the school year off great.

Ideas for Signs:
- Board with letters like we have pictures with Maddie. We love this because you can use it year-round and change it up (fun saying, encouragement, birthdays, etc).
- Print a sign online! Yes, you can literally google “first day of
school signs” and find a ton of options
- Check with your local friends/family that may be a little more creative and they can make one for you
- Cardboard with chalk markers

*Those are just a few options, you may have some other ideas, feel free to share in the comments section!

That’s all I have for you! I know getting ready for the first day
can be super overwhelming, but know that you’re doing a great job and your kiddos will have an amazing year in school! I hope all of these helped you BUT I would also love to learn any tips and ideas you have!!


Lindsay P. Hutchins
AKA: Maddie’s Mommy

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