Our Best Mom Tips for Back-to-School

Here we go! Those first days of school are upon us, and whether you’re sending littles to pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, daycare, or even a parent’s morning out program, you’re likely going to need a few essentials to make your new family schedule run super smoothly.

We polled the whole Project Nursery team (which includes a nationwide mix of brand new moms, moms of multiples, veteran moms, and every other mom in the spectrum!) and came up with the ultimate list of organizational, fashion, electronic (see our list of smartphone apps!), and accessory items for your kids’ first days of school. Find out more and see what we had to say about each item below.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FUN

Letterfolk Wordsmith Letter Board
“These letter boards have endless possibilities for kiddos! Snap a pic with first day/last day of school stats; post homework reminders; get your kiddo involved in menu planning for the week; document your quotable kid; step up your lemonade stand game; or use for next level pretend play.” 

Letterfolk Wordsmith Letter Board

Cheree Berry Paper First Day of School Banners
“A festive way to announce your child’s first day! Perfect for photo ops and social sharing.”

Cheree Berry Paper First Day of School Banners

FOOD & DRINK

Innobaby Din Din Smart Stainless Divided Platter with Lid
“One-stop shopping for healthy lunches. No bags to open or fuss with. Great for portion control, eating a rainbow and keeping food separated for picky eaters. Not riding the school bus just yet? No problem! For the preschoolers who come home for lunch, now they too can feel like they are still in school with their stainless steel bus shaped plate that separates foods.”

Innobaby Din Din Smart Stainless Divided Platter with Lid

Re-usable Snack Bags
“Pre-pack these cute bags with lunch and snack options and the morning rush will have one less thing on its list. Check out pinterest for a million different grab-and-go food options that can be put together quickly during a Sunday meal prep session.”

Thermos Funtainer Waterbottle
“I love these water bottles for my kids. They keep the water cold, and most importantly, have a button opening that kids can handle. They are extra durable, dishwasher safe and you can buy replacement straws!”

Thermos Funtainer Waterbottle

Contigo Kids Water Bottle
“This lightweight bottle with an easy-to-press open button is perfect for smaller kiddos. It easily packs into their bags without weighing them down and holds just the right amount of water.”

Wonder Water
“Skip the water bottles altogether with this packable drink option.”

Mr. Boddington’s Studio Lunch Notes
“I never pack a lunch without tucking in a note to let my little guys know I’m thinking about them during the day. Lift their spirits and share some words of encouragement with your little ones with these totally adorbs lunch notes!”

Mr. Boddington's Studio Lunch Notes

DON’T FORGET ABOUT MAMA’S DRINK

Ello Cole Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug 
“This is it! The travel mug that legit keeps my coffee warm for hours! Hours! The vacuum seal is strong, which means I feel comfortable placing a full mug of coffee into my tote bag and heading out for the day. Spill-free for almost one full year!”

Ello Cole Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug 

Bullet Proof Coffee
“Sometimes we miss the bus or other times I am racing to get both the kids out of the house and myself to a meeting or the gym. A cold brew Bullet Proof Coffee, is the jolt I need in the mornings while on the go. Their brilliant “Brain Octain Oil” makes me feel like I have it all together.”

BACKPACKS & GEAR

TWELVElittle Big Kid Courage Backpack 
“A super durable and well-made backpack for preschool and early elementary age kids. Comes with optional iron-on patches for a pop of personality.”

TwelveLittle Big Kid Courage Backpack 

Nap Mat
“If providing your own nap mat for daycare or pre-K is your thing, then choose an option that is both cute-as-can-be and super breathable to cut down on germs.”

Retro Animal Nap Mat

ORGANIZATION & SCHEDULING

Paper Source Great Big Calendar
“While admittedly I depend largely on my iPhone calendar, I find it super helpful to have everyone’s schedules in one spot in my kitchen. This large kraft paper calendar is a workhorse in our command center.”

Dry Erase Magnetic Calendar
“My kindergartener loved having a calendar that we specifically used for school and kid activities. We made magnets for all his school specials (gym, art, library) and moved them week to week. It helped him learn his schedule and prepare for each day. It also helps me keep track of everybody’s activities now that I have two school-aged kids.”

Savor Baby and School Years Keepsake Boxes
“These display worthy boxes store all of the treasures your little ones bring home from school and can be stowed away neatly on a shelf or desktop.”

Savor Baby and School Years Keepsake Boxes

Crate&kids Multicolor Desk and Wall Caddy
“Get kids organized, and keep all those freshly sharpened pencils and supplies within their reach with these colorful school supply organizers.”

Hanging Wall Display Steel Wire Rod Set with Clips
“Create your own art gallery on a playroom or child’s room wall. Prominently and neatly display all those little masterpieces your kiddos bring home.”

Hanging Wall Display Steel Wire Rod Set with Clips

ToteSavvy Insert
“If your bag needs changing as often as mine, depending on the day and/or child, you’ll benefit from a bag insert that keeps your essentials in the same place no matter which tote, baby bag or backpack you choose for the activity.”

Petunia Pickle Bottom Inter-Mix Deluxe Kit
“Back-to-back-to-back activities, pick-ups and drop-offs mean a lot of logged time in the car. Keep the forms, snacks, and supplies organized and within reach with an organizational system for the car.”

Inter-Mix Deluxe Kit

DON’T FORGET THE MOMIFORM

“No need to resist the momiform, ladies. These sleek, black leggings are comfortable and stylish. They even look great with more fashionable tops and shoes!”

Project Nursery Wine Tee
“Let’s get real. Some days are just about the promise of a glass (or two) of wine and a few uninterrupted moments by ourselves at the end of the day. This tee is a staple for your real momiform (a.k.a. yoga pants and a comfy tee that speaks your truth).”

Project Nursery Wine Tee

APPS & TECH THAT MAKE OUR LIVES EASIER

Instacart
“I’m stoked because Instacart is finally available in our tiny town. Up until now, we’ve been roughing it with FreshDirect, Peapod and Shoprite from Home. Kidding, sort of. Sometimes life is so hectic, you just don’t have time to plan ahead and do your online grocery shopping, much less buy groceries in an actual brick and mortar store. Enter Instacart. Groceries delivered within an hour of when you remembered you were out of everything you needed to make dinner. Hallelujah.”

Quizlet
“Flash cards can be a drag for tech savvy school-aged kids. Quizlet’s desktop site and mobile app let you customize fun quizzes and games, so they’ll study their spelling words and math facts without a protest.”

SignUpGenius 
“If you’re a mom and you haven’t already heard of this, you will soon. This online sign-up tool is literally used for every school-related, sports team and volunteer event you can think of. Create sign-ups, coordinate volunteers, send reminders, and stay organized with this widely used, free service.”

Audible
“If you’re like me, and you haven’t finished reading a book in its entirety since the birth of your first child, then Audible is right up your alley. I have literally used this audiobook app to save myself from embarrassment at the book club I joined but never get around to reading the books for. Perfect for moms on-the-go. Listen as you exercise, while driving around doing errands or as you’re folding that dreaded laundry.”

Waze + Google Calendar
“Sync your google calendar with the Waze GPS app and everytime you hop into the car, your phone is ready to give you turn-by-turn directions without any additional input from you! Plus, Waze will send you an alert when it’s time to leave so that you’ll make it to your next stop on time.”

Life360
“If you have kiddos who ride the bus or walk home from school on their own, this one is a must. You can track your child’s location in real time on a hybrid map, so you know exactly where they are at all times. See when your child left and if he arrived safely. Check in and send messages through the secure app. Connect with the entire family—Mom, Dad, kids, grandparents and babysitters—using the family circle feature. Plus, it’s free!”

Project Nursery Smary Nursery Baby Monitor System with Alexa 
“This one is a no-brainer. Keep an eye on a napping (or not napping) child at home or when he’s with a sitter. Set timers and reminders for the bajillion things you’re supposed to remember to do each day. Rock out to some tunes while you do the dishes. Seriously a must-have for moms!”

Project Nursery Smary Nursery Baby Monitor System with Alexa 

Echo Dot Kids Edition
“With three different wake-up times and three different school schedules, my elementary and middle school kids rely on their Echo Dot Kids Edition to wake them up. We also use it to break up the monotony of homework with super fun Alexa skills ranging from trivia to a kids court, so mom doesn’t have to always be the tiebreaker.”

For more of our back-to-school favorites and to enter for a chance to win an over $600 prize pack of back-to-school essentials, visit our Back-to-School Giveaway. Go now because giveaway closes very soon!

*this post contains affiliate links*

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