Getting back into the swing of the new school year is stressful enough without having to run to the shops after school because you’ve forgotten to buy a vital piece of kit. But with so many things to buy, how can you remember everything? Especially when you’re shopping with reluctant (and whiney) kids! Don’t worry: we’ve got your back.

From bento boxes to Velcro-detail school shirts, here is the modern parents back to school checklist, featuring everything your child will need to get them through the academic year:

The Essential Supplies

A school bag. All of these essential supplies are going to take up a lot of space, so make sure you choose one that is big enough. Practicality should be your main concern (as well as letting your kids choose the kind they want, of course). We recommend choosing a model with plenty of pockets, so that you kids can quickly and easily find the supplies they need, when they need them.

A book bag. Branded book bags are usually sold by the school and are essential for carrying home their reading books and homework folders.

A packed lunch box or lunch bag. Even if your child has a hot school meal, it is recommended that you buy a lunch box so that they have something to carry their mid-morning snack to school in. To keep things organised and easy to pack, we recommend choosing a sectioned bento box: especially good for fussy kids that don’t like their foodstuffs to touch!

A water bottle. Most Catholic schools in Townsville will ask that your child take their own labelled water bottle to school each day. This should have an easy close top (to avoid spillages all over their school bag) and be large enough to carry enough water for the whole day. Metal water bottles are very popular right now, as they are more durable and long lasting than their plastic counterparts.

A fully loaded pencil case. Set your kids up for success with a fully loaded pencil case. This should include pencils and pens, a rubber, ruler and pencil sharpener at a minimum. Your school may also ask that you supply coloured pencils for your child: if in doubt, ask!

Box Files. This is an essential for you, rather than you kids, but invest in two box files that you can keep in a prominent position close to your front door. Use one to store any school homework and books (so that this is always returned at the right time) and use one to store any actionable letters and forms sent home from school. This will save you having to rummage in their bookbags at the last minute to find any lost but vital information!

The School Uniform

You know your kids are going to need school shirts and school jumpers but how many of each? And which ones should you pick? Here’s the complete breakdown of all the school uniform your primary school aged child will need:

5 polo shirts/button down shirts (depending on your particular school’s uniform rules) in the appropriate colour. Children of primary school age are notoriously messy, spilling ink, paint and their lunch down their shirt on a daily basis. Having five shirts in their wardrobe will mean that you don’t have to do a mid-week emergency wash to get them through the week: simply wear a new shirt every day and then wash the all together at the weekend. If your child needs to wear a button down shirt then look for versions with Velcro buttons and elastic cuffs: these will make it much easier for the youngest school children to dress themselves before and after PE lessons.

2 pairs of trousers and two pairs of shorts for boys. These are less likely to suffer from spills and spoilage than their shirts, so you won’t need as many. Look for trousers with adjustable elasticated waistbands: these enable the waist to be tightened to fit your child then loosened as they grow, meaning that they’ll last for the whole school year.

2 pinafore dresses, skirts or trousers for girls. The bottoms you choose for your daughters will depend on both school rules and their preferences. As above, look for versions that can be adjusted to ensure that they will last a little longer.

Shoes. School shoes should be practical and sensible: save the pretty shoes for the weekends! Pick sturdy leather shoes with a scuff-free finish that are easy to polish. That way you can keep them looking neat and tidy all year long. Have your child’s feet measured professionally so that the shoes you choose have plenty of growing room and will last as long as possible.

Socks.  There’s nothing fun or exciting about buying socks but ensure that they have five pairs in the appropriate colour, and wash them every weekend with the rest of the uniform.

Lightweight waterproof coat (foldable). Most schools will ask that your child takes a raincoat when they go out for the day on school trips. Make carrying this coat as easy as possible for your little one by choosing a pac-a-mac variety that folds as small as possible. If you aren’t restricted by set school colours then pick a vibrant coloured coat, so that your child can easily find theirs when it’s stacked in a pile with 32 other children’s jackets.

Coat. A warm coat is an essential piece of kit for every child, regardless of whether they are at school or not. For the school child, choose a coat in a dark colour so that it doesn’t show up the stains or dirt it will inevitably attract in the playground. Black and navy blue coats are the most popular for school children; choose a coat with a hood for extra warmth.

Woolly hat and gloves. Most schools will insist that children spend time in the fresh air of the playground come rain or shine. During the winter months that means that they should have a warm hat, scarf and gloves set to keep them cosy and protect them from the elements. This is where your child can inject a little personality into their school outfit: let them choose their own winter accessories in their favourite colours, patterns, or featuring their favourite fun cartoon characters.

Name Labels. Don’t forget to buy a packet of name labels to minimise the risk of losing all of this new and expensive uniform! But leave the fiddly sew in labels of your youth behind: modern parents can save time and effort with iron in and stick in name labels.

The PE Kit

As if spending all that money on school uniform wasn’t enough, it’s not over yet! You’ll also need to tog your little angels up with a PE kit too. Here’s the breakdown:

Gym bag. Another aspect of uniform where your children can inject a little fun and colour into their school day. As long as the bag they choose is big enough to hold their kit, why not let your kids choose their own gym bags? These can be as vibrantly coloured and as fun as they want, helping to make the back to school journey a little more exciting.

Plimsolls or trainers. Before you buy these, check with the school what kind of footwear your child will need. Whether they ask for trainers or plimsolls, most schools will insist that you select PE footwear that won’t leave black marks on the ground as your child runs: double check before you buy!

Shorts. One of the cheapest and easiest piece of PE kit to pick up, you can buy school PE shorts in a wide array of colours in almost every supermarket during the summer months. Simply add to your trolley whilst doing the weekly shop!

T-shirt. Most schools will ask that you either buy your child’s PE top from them or in the correct school colours. Check the uniform guide and, if you need to buy this from the school, order in plenty of time.

Pair of socks. Pop a pair of socks in their PE bag just in case they can’t find them during the busy changing process. This is especially for girls who might be wearing tights that day.