No Stress, Last Minute, Back To School Guide - The Real 4 Must Haves

With back to school right around the corner I have received some panicked messages from friends and clients who have left prep to the last minute, and are feeling overwhelmed. So many parents believe they need to break the bank and buy a tons of supplies to make sure their little one is ready, but that's not the case. I firmly believe back to school shouldn't be stressful for parents, especially if you're little one is headed to Kindergarten (or early elementary years, grades 1-3). We are very fortunate to have the majority of school supplies provided here by our public school board, so don't waste your money. You can always buy supplies in the future if the need arrises. (*If your child attends a private school, please follow the list they provide)

In an effort to calm nerves and help anyone who is worried that they're not doing enough, here is my super simple, no stress, totally last minute, back to school guide. There are only 4 Must Haves on my list...yes technically some categories have more than 1 item, but you probably have at least 1 at home. Yay! See, you're already winning ;) 

4 Must Haves for Back to School

Back to school

1. Litterless Lunch: Most schools ask families to pack lunch and snacks with as little disposable packaging as possible. There are tons of amazing lunch boxes on the market these days, so take a look around before you purchase one. You can always use some simple containers eg. yogurt and sour cream containers, for the first few days if you're waiting on your lunchbox to arrive, or still deciding. One thing to ensure is that your little one can independantly open whatever containers you send. It's a good idea to do some practice runs in the days leading up to the start of school to give them confidence for the big day. We did a practice walk to school and a picnic so Lucy could try out her new gear. Needless to say it was a total hit.


Each kid typically needs a lunchbox and bag, an ice pack, a leakproof water bottle, a reusable cutlery set, a napkin, and a thermos (if you intend to send any warm food). We love our PlanetBox lunch boxes (See previous review here), and are really excited to try out their capsule water bottles and cold kits this year. These are definitely an investment, but with Ben going into his 3rd year with his, I'm feeling pretty great about the purchase. *Edited to note: Get 25% off PlanetBox products until August 31, 2018 with code SCHOOL25. 

We typically pack the PlanetBox with a healthy lunch, and then pack 2 snacks in the front pocket of the carry bag (you could also pack these in the front pocket of their backpack). For snacks we typically do 1 piece of fruit eg. apple, pear, orange - no package, or wrapped in abeego, and something that fits into the planet box big dipper snack container eg. nut-free energy balls 

2. Indoor Shoes: Schools usually ask that kids have a comfortable pair of shoes to be left at school for daily use indoor. I always try to pick something that's breathable, since our kids are running around inside and sweating a lot. I love runners with a strong mesh fabric upper. These are the ones I have bought for Ben for the last 2 years (In pic above). I have been really happy with the way they have lasted all school year and through the summer for camp, and how comfortable he's found them. I highly recommend finding something similar with good breathability. There are tons of great sales on right now, so hopefully you can save some money on this purchase. 

3. Change of Clothes: A labeled, season appropriate, change of clothes is important to pack on the first day of school (including socks and underwear). Place the extra clothes in a labeled resealable plastic bag to be left at school for future accidents or mishaps. I have used Mabels Labels on clothes, bags, water bottles & lunch containers with success for 2 years now and have barely lost anything. I highly recommend labelling your kid's stuff in some way (even simply using a sharpie), otherwise you will lose a lot of stuff, and be unable to easily identify it.  

I don't rush out to buy a ton of fall clothes for back-to-school, because September tends to be warm in our area. When I do buy school clothes I like to stick to basics that can be handed down to siblings. If your little one is in need of some new cloths for the school year, check out the amazing new line of Tiny Basics Tiny Trendsetter just launched. 

Skip Hop Backpack

4. A Backpack: Every kid obviously needs one, but what size? There are so many these days that it can be hard to know what is appropriate. Most schools ask that kid's bring a full size backpack (eg. one that fits a binder) starting in Kindergarten. Mini backpacks, like these adorable Skip Hop ones, are perfect for preschool and daycare, but not appropriate for full day school. I always try to find a backpack that will fit lunch, snacks and library books, but that also fits my kid's frame and doesn't overpower their ability to stay upright ;)

If you're in need of some last minute back to school gear check out Tiny Trendsetter. They have a huge selection of adorable backpacks and back-to-school basics to choose from online or in-store. 


I hope this simple list helps put you at ease, and let's you focus instead on your little one, and the big transition that is to come. Lots of love to all of the nervous parents out there (don't worry, I'm one too!). One thing I can tell you from experience is that it's usually harder on us than it is on them. You've got this!

As always please feel free to ask questions below. 


In This Post

Tiny Trendsetter Herschel Backpacks, Skip Hop Backpacks    |    PlanetBox Rover Lunchbox, Capsule Water Bottle, Carry Bag + Cold Kits    |    The Shoe Company Nike Running Shoes

*This is a sponsored post which means I was provided compensation and/or product for this post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I only partner with products and services that I genuinely love and want to recommend.