The Back-to-School Shopping List for Parents

The Back-to-School Shopping List for Parents
Back to school shopping isn't just for the kids, here's what you may need as the must-have parent. (Stock photo)

You've printed off your kids' school supplies lists. They're about the length of your forearm and include specific instructions on the types of pencils, folders, papers and markers to buy. Maybe you've already done your shopping.

Funny thing is, no one ever tells you, the Must-Have Parent, what you will need to get your through another school year.

I'm sure I didn't think of everything but, based on several years of back to school experience, here's a shopping list to get you started:

Parenting Supplies

  • 1 tote bag, large enough to carry all the stuff your kid forgot and needs you to bring from home
  • 1 wine opener
  • 1 slow cooker
  • 2 phone chargers for the car (because one will get caught on something and get dragged out of the car and into a mud puddle)
  • 1 clone (in lieu of a clone, 1 reliable midweek babysitter, to watch children while you attend each child's parent-only school meetings, will suffice)
  • 1,473 sandwich bags, and you will need to buy additional during the second semester
  • 3 people to list as emergency contacts. At least one must be real. If you have just moved, this rule can be waived.
  • 7 sheets of white poster board for projects that don't get mentioned until the night before they're due
  • 1 cordless mini vacuum to use while waiting in the carpool line to frantically suck up the french fries before the teachers open the door
  • 3 travel coffee mugs
  • 2 refillable water bottles
  • 3 phone numbers for pizza places that deliver
  • 772 juice boxes
  • 27 bags of frozen chicken breasts
  • 43 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 35-lb. bucket of peanut butter (Sunbutter may be substituted for those with nut allergies)
  • 1 2-oz. bottle of Ben Gay (to rub on your hands after writing your name; address; pediatrician's name and phone number; preferred hospital name, address and phone number; dentist's name, address and phone number; emergency contact names, addresses and phone numbers on 17 different forms for each school-age child)
  • 7 photocopies of your state-issued photo ID, in case you want to volunteer for anything
  • Access to a Notary Public
  • 1 checkbook (Preschool parents need to have at least $500 in available funds to cover all the fees that were somehow not mentioned before the first day of school)

Required Reading

(*These are necessary in order to quickly create excuses for why your family can't participate in the Halloween/Christmas/Pizza/Cookie Dough fundraisers.)

Parent’s Clothing List

  • 2 pairs of yoga pants, preferably black
  • 3 LuLuLemon garments, any configuration (Not required, but seem to be preferred attire for volunteering)
  • 1 pair PajamaJeans
  • 4 hair scrunchies
  • 1 ball cap
  • 2 pairs flip flops, size and color unimportant
  • 1 pair of running shoes (can substitute Uggs)
  • 1 bulky sweatshirt (to be used for warmth and also in lieu of a bra)

I'm sure I have forgotten something on this list -- like the 40 bottles of wine I need to go with my wine opener. I'd love to see what you think every Must-Have Parent needs to get through the school year.

Keep Up with the Ins and Outs of Military Life

For the latest military news and tips on military family benefits and more, subscribe to and have the information you need delivered directly to your inbox.

Show Full Article
Family and Spouse Parenting