10 Must-Have Items for After School

So, your kid is off to his first year of school. This is such an exciting time! But, don’t fall into the after-school blues or blunders. There are a couple of things you should have on hand to make your afternoon (once your kid gets home) run smoothly. Take a peek: 

1. Glue stick, safety scissors, crayons, pencil and sharpener
Kindergarten homework is loads of fun and there’s tons of cutting and gluing involved. I suggest a six-pack of glue sticks and an extra pair of safety scissors for when your kid loses his first pair (he will). There’s tons of writing and coloring, too. Keep everything organized in a kit that is just for homework. 

2. Nutritious snacks
Sometimes my son attends the after-care program at school because I work. Whether your kiddo is staying after school or coming home directly after school, be prepared for hungry little bears. I always have reduced-sugar juice boxes, baby carrots, cheese sticks, apple slices, crackers, and air-popped popcorn—even all-white meat chicken nuggets (just two does the trick!) on hand to curb a hungry tummy until dinner time. 

3. Health products
Ugh, sorry to bring this up, moms, but Lice is real and it’s freakin’ annoying. Knock on wood, my son never had it, but expect to get an official letter to the tune of, “There is a confirmed case of Lice in your child’s classroom … yadda-yadda.” If your kid doesn’t have Lice, AMEN, but please take action anyway! There are tons of products on the market that help to repel the annoying critters. We like Fairy Tales and Lice hate the lovely smell of its main ingredient: Rosemary. Use the shampoo and leave-in conditioner at night and spray the repel product in before your kid is off to the bus stop. Trust me. 

4. A quiet nook
Whether you live in a spacious home or cozy apartment (like us), try to find a space you can designate (like these stylish nooks) to your child’s learning, homework, and reading. It should be away from the TV and other distractions. I set up a reading nook for my son on the floor in the living room. I just threw a bunch of floor pillows on the ground for a Zen vibe. He loves it! Jack likes to do his written homework in my office. I have a little table/chair set up in there for him. And as much as the quiet nook is crucial, so is a designated time to get everything done. We do homework after dinner and reading before bed because that works best for us. 

5. A library card
Kindergarten is the new first grade and your child is going to learn how to read!!! It’s magical and glorious. Be sure to encourage his learning and hopefully love of books, by taking him to your local library for his very own card (it’s a BIG deal). If your schedule allows, spend an afternoon after school in the children’s section. Let him take out a few books and make it his responsibility to return them on time. 

6. An extra lunch sack
Hopefully your child doesn’t lose his lunchbox, but he might (d’oh, mine did — but luckily it was in the lost-and-found box the next day). It was relieving after a long day at work to have an extra, cheap-o sack on hand to send in the next day. 

7. A cold drink
If you pick your child up from school, be prepared — especially in the warmer seasons — for your kiddo to come running out of school thirsty as can be. On the days I manage to get Jack from school, so he doesn’t have to attend after-care, I always bring an icy bottle of water or sports drink — and it’s like Christmas morning! Ah, the little things. 

8. A mom folder
Tons of paperwork comes home reminding you about PTA meetings, a bake sale, a Scholastic fair, field trip permission slips, health forms, b-day invites, and other xyzs. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to absorb everything as you pluck it from his book bag. Stick all of these types of papers in a mom-only folder and catch up on them after your child is snoozing. 

9. Comfy clothes
I have a drawer in my son’s room designated to “comfy clothes.” Think elastic waist pants, hoodies, and soft tees. I mean when I come home from the office, I love to kick off my heels, peel off my dress, and throw on a pair of leggings and an oversize top. I give my son the same option and he just loves wiggling out of cute, coordinated outfits and kicking back in play clothes. And play clothes are awesome for you know, grass stains. 

10. YOUR time
Your child was just in school all day and maybe longer if he attended after-care. Take five minutes to cuddle and ask him about the favorite part of his day. Look at his seat and art work that came home and display it proudly. The most important thing any parent can do at the end of a school day is hug their kid and be interested in their day. Your child will always remember how you made them feel.

Photo: Shutterstock

*This post is sponsored by Mott’s