Ready or not, it's back to school time again! In the middle of all the end-of-summer paperwork to fill, appointments to schedule, and school supplies lists to shop for, you have another even more challenging back to school task to complete—shopping with your kiddos to create a brand-new school wardrobe.
We're sure you've made a list of what your children need for clothing this year. But there's another way to think about their school wardrobe before you start shopping: What if you approached back-to-school clothes as a chance to help your kids prepare for the kind of experiences they'll have? This back-to-school shopping list can help you do just that. It focuses on filling their closets with gear that will support all of the things they'll be doing this year.
It's easy to scan the items in your children's closets and make sure that they have enough of each of the basics (jeans, T-shirts, etc.). But there's another "basic" element of the school wardrobe you can consider too, and that's how many items they have that help them express their unique personality.
Choosing items in their favorite colors is a great place to start. But you can take this even further by looking for back-to-school gear that features logos, characters, animals, or even favorite sayings as a prime way for children to practice expressing themselves.
One of the best ways to do this is by incorporating unique personal touches on an item they'll have with them each and every day — like a backpack or school bag that highlights their hobbies and favorite subjects.
Experienced parents will tell you that back-to-school clothing can't just be cute. It needs to be tough enough to stand up to the rough-and-tumble play of the school day. But in addition to wardrobes made of tough fabrics, it's a great idea to add a few items that incorporate performance features, like sweat-wicking to encourage movement and activity on the playground and beyond.
Perhaps the most important way to do this is with kid's shoes options. It's valuable to make sure their feet are ready for lots of action, which means finding shoes with a great fit and enough traction to stand up to waxed hallway floors.
For many children, every school day feels like a trip through all four seasons; for example, the gym might be chilly while their classroom is warm, or they're cold at lunch before recess but work up a sweat when they hit the playground. Outfit options that make it easy for your kids to adapt to temperature changes during the day will help them feel comfortable and ready to focus all day long.
The trick here is to think layers. Look for easy-on/easy-off options that they can add to or subtract from their outfits without needing help from a grownup. Girl's cardigan sweaters and hoodie sweatshirts that they can zip or button up rather than pull over the head are a convenient way to accomplish this.
Pro tip: Be sure to write their names inside so you can find sweaters and hoodies again if they're left behind in a classroom or at the playground.
Whether your children are performing in the school play, going to the theater on a field trip, or participating in a recital, there's a good chance that at some point they will need a dress-up outfit. You can prevent a panicked last-minute run to the store then by including a special event outfit in your back-to-school mix.
Options include a girl's dress or a skirt, or it could be a nice boy's dress shirt and trousers. Whatever you select, it should be something that your kids will look forward to wearing so that every special event during the upcoming semester is fun.
It's easy to get kids to pick out their favorites. They know the colors, the styles, and the items they love. Getting them to focus on things they don't like as much can be more of a challenge. But back-to-school wardrobe shopping is a great opportunity for you to slip a little something new into their wardrobe lineup.
Do your children adore rugged outdoorsy items? Mix in an item or two that's a little dressier. Do they only want clothes in their particular favorite color? Introduce a few patterns featuring that color along with other cool hues that they could learn to love just as much.
Adding these items that are a little off the radar is a fun way to help your children explore new interests, and it just might wind up introducing them to the gotta-have favorites. Here's hoping it's the kickoff to their best year yet!