back to school, 2024, mama disrupt, clarks

Back to School Checklist: Top 7 must-haves for a successful school year

In Features, MD Rated, Motherhood, Stories by Nicole Fuge


Ready for the school scramble? Buckle up, lady. We’re diving into the ultimate back to school checklist for a successful school year.

This guide comes to you in partnership with Clarks, helping you and your kiddo feel prepared to survive (and thrive) the school year. Sign up to our newsletter for more.

Oh, hey back to school season, you sneaky thing. There you are again, popping up just as we are getting comfy with our holiday routines.

Us mums? We’re on it, transforming into super-organised, list-ticking, lunch-packing ninjas to get our little champs school-ready. And, oh boy, isn’t it a rollercoaster.

For those of us who have been through BTS before, you know the drill; endless lists that seem to sprout new items every time you look. Uniforms? Check. Shoes that actually fit those feet that keep growing? Double-check.

Let’s not even start on the Everest of stationery supplies. It’s like a scavenger hunt across town, but instead of treasure, we’re hunting for that specific brand of glue stick or those elusive, perfectly ergonomic scissors.

And that is why we’re here, to share our secret mum-map – an insider back to school checklist that’s been around the sisterhood block (quite literally, around many, many school supply aisles lol).

This isn’t just any list, it’s our backstage pass to starting the school year on a high, with less stress and more ‘hella yes, we’re ready, yo.’


back to school, clarks, mama disrupt

1. Start on the right foot

School shoes are one of the most important things to get right – because kids spend A LOT of time on their feet. And as mamas, we want to make sure our boos are comfortable and confident as they move around. Which they do, A LOT, like we’ve said. The negative impact of school steppers that suddenly don’t ‘feel good’ two weeks into term is real – trust us, we’ve been there and it’s not pretty.

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to get it right if you stick to Clarks’ three golden rules:

  1. Choose a shoe that is supportive in every way: Choose a shoe that can handle a variety of activities, from classroom learning to playground fun. You don’t want a shoe that is not fit for purpose.
  2. Get a professional fitting: Have your child’s feet professionally measured for the best fit – in length and width. This is the only way of truly knowing that your child has the correct shoe to support their growth. Super important if you want a happy child.
  3. Get bang for your buck: Invest in a quality shoe that will last the whole year (or at least until the next growth spurt!). School shoes get a full workout and you defo get what you pay for.

Psst… Clarks has 20% off their school shoes, so it’s a perfect time to bag a bargain and make sure your kiddo starts 2024 on the right foot.

back to school, 2024, mama disrupt, clarks

2. Adventure pack

When shopping for backpacks, your kiddo may make a beeline for the one with their fav superhero, but there are a few non-negotiables when making your final selection.

Look for backpacks with features that support spinal health, things like padded straps and a supportive back panel. And make sure it has enough room for school books, a lunchbox, water bottle and any other daily necessities.

Pro tip: Pack a little health and hygiene kit for your mini bae and pop it into their school bag. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a small water-proof bag that can hold things like a travel pack of wet wipes, tissues and a spare pair of underwear (in case of accidents).

back to school, 2024, mama disrupt, clarks
3. Classroom couture

Depending on your school, there may be a compulsory uniform to choose from, or you may need to shop for your own. Whichever category you fall into, try and go for breathable, durable materials that can endure the rigours of school life, and opt for easy-care fabrics that resist wrinkles and stains.

Having at least two extra sets of uniforms can be a lifesaver during busy weeks (less frequent laundry, yes please) and it allows for unexpected messes.

back to school, mama disrupt

4. Inner strength strategies

Back to school prep isn’t just about the physical to-dos. There is also a bit of emotional groundwork that needs to happen – especially if your little one is starting school or moving to a new school.

It can be helpful to start adjusting your child’s routine a few weeks before, to ease the transition and get them into a new rhythm. Also, encourage them to talk about their feelings and remind them of the support network they have at home and school.

Creating a chill vibe at home is also a massive game changer, especially the night before school starts. So think about introducing calming activities before bed. Even simple things like reading or gentle stretching are amazing for good mind health … and they are useful relaxation techniques to continue throughout the whole year.

Pro tip: Another way to make this time of year less stressful (and to take away that element of the unknown) is to use an organisation planner. Look for one with features that suit your child’s age and learning stage to help through this transition.

back to school, 2024, mama disrupt, clarks

5. Personalise the process

Let your child choose some of their stationery to make them feel like they have a sense of ownership over the whole BTS process. Things like personalised pencil cases, key chains and book covers. Any way your little dreamer can add imagination and creativity to their day will help put them at ease.

Clarks’ cool collab with Minecraft and the brand new Cloud Castle range are literally made with this in mind. It’s all about making your mini bae feel more comfortable (and confident) at school.

Pro tip: While on the topic of personalisation, don’t forget to put their name on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g (because kids lose their stuff all the freaking time). Buy labels in bulk – ones that can go on school shoes, bags, uniforms, lunch boxes, water bottles, etc. It makes your life wayyy easier.

back to school, 2024, mama disrupt, clarks

6. Tech tools

Depending on what age your child is, they are likely to be using computers, laptops or tablets as part of their learning. This is an opportunity to teach them about responsible and safe usage of technology, including managing screen time. Plus, don’t forget to make sure you have all of the essential accessories like chargers, headphones, and protective cases.

back to school, 2024, mama disrupt, clarks

7. Snack pack

Lunches have changed a lot since we were at school. From following sustainability practices with ‘naked’ lunches, to being allergy aware, there’s a lot more to consider than whether your kids love or loathe bananas this week.

Ace school lunches with the ultimate lunch box – think BPA-free, compartmentalised, and easy to open. And when it comes to packing lunches (which is often the bane of our existence) pack a mix of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains to keep them nourished and energised for the whole day. Things like wraps, mini kebabs, and homemade muffins. But don’t overcomplicate it babe, it’s all about nutritious, fun, and fuss-free food.

Back to school, Clarks, Mama Disrupt

So, fellow warriors. As we stand (or more realistically, run) on the brink of another school year, let’s arm ourselves with a hefty dose of caffeine, and a sprinkle of luck. Because we’re not just prepping backpacks. We’re gearing up for a year of proud moments, growth, and maybe just a little bit of peace and quiet.

Here’s to conquering the chaos and making this school year the best one yet!

This guide comes to you in partnership with Clarks, helping you and your kiddo feel prepared to survive (and thrive) the school year. Sign up to our newsletter for more.