Surviving the first few weeks of school can be tough as we re-calibrate our Mom Brains and shift things into overdrive. Mornings are especially hard and not for the faint of heart—there’s a lot of last-minute lunch packing and snack labeling and lost-shoe shenanigans. We drink much coffee. We stand poised, pen in hand, ready to sign every form, slip, and waiver.

And then, we wait, ever so bravely, for the first cough and cold to arrive.

Quite honestly, if you want to survive “The Season,” you’ll need to have a mom bug-out bag at the ready. To help you survive those mornings that pretty much border on apocalyptic, we’ve rounded up the top 12 items that moms actually need. You can even enter (at the end of this post) for your chance to win our fully loaded Back-to-School Survival Kit (pictured above), worth $125! Rock on, moms! And remember—you will survive this year, too.

1. Ready-To-Go Lunch Box Notes

We’ve all been there. It’s the night before the first day of school and you’ve been hunched over the kitchen counter for, oh, at least 20 minutes now, painstakingly affixing googly eyes to cheese sticks and carving apple slices into hearts. Your intentions were good—but you know what you forgot? A handwritten note of encouragement to support your first-day-fraught child through lunch. Ensure this first-day faux pas never happens again by keeping a stash of ready-to-go lunch box notes nearby.

2. Sunscreen

Depending on where you live, it can get pretty darn hot during those precious 20 minutes of recess your kids get. Some of us moms find that a lively game of pass-the-tube-of-sunscreen-around-the-minivan is a fun way to work out all that early morning sibling crankiness. Just toss the bottle to the back bench seat and sip on your coffee while the kids duke it out.

3. Hyland’s 4 Kids Tummy Ache Tablets

Honestly, there’s nothing worse than rounding the drop-off line and—presto!—those back-to-school jitters your kid was complaining about a mile away (which you totally wrote off) have suddenly morphed into a full-on stomachache gone wrong in the back seat (you know where we’re going with this). Forget about grabbing an In Case Of Puke shirt on your way out the door; instead, keep a few of these homeopathic tummy ache tablets handy. (Hyland’s is a partner of ours and provided, free of charge, Hyland’s 4 Kids Tummy Ache and Hyland’s 4 Kids Cold ’n Cough products for this sweepstakes.)

4. A Boatload of Band-Aids

Band-Aids really do make everything better—especially when the ride to school involves any sort of paper cut, hangnail, or disturbed zit that was unknowingly popped en route. Besides, keeping a huge supply of Band-Aids around is a smart move; they’ll come in handy five months from now when you’re informed, ever so casually, about the “I Survived 100 Days of School” outfit you need to morning. Start counting out those Band-Aids, kid!

5. Extra Lunch Money

You’d never in a million years forget to grab your coffee on your way out the door, but chances are you’re definitely going to forget your kid’s lunch money at some point. Easily avert this crisis by keeping extra cash attached to your coffee mug with a “cash cuff.” Brilliant, right? It’s worth noting this cuff fits around your arm, too, in the unlikely event you have time to go for a jog after drop-off (muhahaha!).

6. An Actual Book 

Deep down, you love reading. You really, really do. But actually finding the time to do it with a gaggle of kids? Nearly impossible. If you can only muster the eye-strength to make it through five pages at bedtime, just pop a book in your bag and join the early birds in the pickup line. Crack the window, recline your seat, and you just might get through an entire chapter. 

7. Hyland’s 4 Kids Cold ’n Cough

That first week back is like sending your kids straight into a giant petri dish. No matter how much hand sanitizer you use, you know what’s coming, and the universe is not in your favor at this point. You can sure as heck bet the sniffles will strike within days of school starting. For this, you need The Holy Grail of Cough Syrup, Hyland’s 4 Kids Cold ‘n Cough. It doesn’t include any of those unpronounceable things you find in other common cold treatments—score!

8. Granola Bars

Let’s be honest—most mornings, your kids are too dazed to eat anything remotely resembling an Instagram-worthy breakfast pic, and oatmeal is just too...oatmealy. Enter your trusted sidekick: the granola bar (nut-free, of course!). Just don’t forget to stash one of those mini cordless vacuums in the trunk.

9. A Bazillion Safety Pins

Safety pins are pretty much the answer to any last-minute wardrobe malfunction. Broken zipper tab? Safety pin. Lost drawstring in a sweatshirt? Safety pin. A blown flip-flop? Safety pin. Static cling? Safety pin.

10. Disposable Toothbrushes

The last time you bumped into your kid’s teacher, you were sporting 50 shades of green in your full-on, new-school-year smile thanks to that vitamin-charged kale smoothie you made for the fam this morning (A+ for effort, though). Avoid any awkward schoolyard introductions this year by brushing on the fly. Red lights are a perfectly acceptable place to brush, but beware—you never know who could be watching in the lane next to you.

11. Wipes 

It's no coincidence that a canister of wet wipes fits so perfectly in your car's extra cup holder. Whether you go the way of baby wipes or antibacterial hand wipes, never, ever leave the house without them. 

12. Mints 

Because your morning ride is powered by coffee...and some parents actually like to talk to each other at drop-off. Enough said!

Hyland’s is in no way involved in the creation, execution, administration, sponsorship, or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes