Of the many things on a back-to-school shopping list, one of the items every child needs at school is a backpack or school bag of some sort. Books, pencils, lunch boxes, jackets, homework, and all the other little things that a bag can carry for you make it a school necessity. But there are several kinds of bags. Perhaps your child is in a new grade and needs a new bag. Maybe an old favorite is finally on its last legs, and a replacement is absolutely required before next year starts. Whatever your needs, here are some guidelines for what to look for in a school bag and some bag recommendations so your child can be ready to go back to school.
The primary function of a school bag is to carry things. What sorts of things is your child going to need at school? Is your child on the younger side and bringing thin easy-to-read books and crayons to class? Is your child older and carting around heavy calculus textbooks? Take maximum function into consideration first. Think about the space needed to fit what your child needs to carry. Maybe bring along your child's lunch box and see how it might suit a potential bag's interior. When in doubt, err on the side of more space rather than less. It's better to have space and not need it than needs space and have to carry the rest. The traditional backpacks often have plenty of space, with some extending out to offer more packing options. Check these out if sufficient space is a concern. Remember, if the bag doesn't serve its purpose, it is not likely to be used, no matter how cool or pretty it is. And no one wants a wasted purchase.
After the space decisions, the next part of a good, serviceable school bag is that your child can carry and move it around—and hopefully, do so easily. You have a few options for this design element. The traditional backpacks have double straps that go over the shoulders. These are helpful for evenly distributing the weight of the bag so that neither side is overly strained. Of course, if both shoulders are tired, there's not much to be done. Addressing this issue, messenger bags and laptop bags have a single strap that can be worn cross-ways on the body or over a single shoulder. Being able to switch shoulders may make up for the uneven weight distribution inherent in this bag design.
If your child goes to a school with lots of stairs and carrying a bag is necessary, see what your child thinks about the pros and cons of each bag style and make the decision. That way, you get the school bag you need, and you get to teach your child a little independence. If, on the other hand, your child's school has few stairs, a rolling backpack, like a carry-on suitcase, removes the weight completely and makes transport relatively simple.
School requires a lot of little supplies. Pencils and erasers are small and easily lost in the dark depths of a school bag. A pencil pouch can certainly serve, but sometimes it's just easier to have a bag that already has little pockets specifically made for keeping those things found. If your child has multiple classes, having a backpack with several larger sections can help your child stay organized. If the bag has three sections, perhaps one can be designated for books, one for notes, and one for homework. Alternatively, if your child has a smaller preschool or elementary school backpack, it might make sense to designate one section for math and science subjects and the other for the literature, writing, and language subjects. Whichever method appeals to your child, being spatially organized is almost always a good thing.
If you have found a school bag that fits the three prior criteria, the last consideration is to make sure your child can find it easily. There are many children in your child's school, and all of them have bags of some sort. Sometimes at an event, bags may even have an area set aside so the students can leave their school stuff behind and focus on what's happening. The point is that there are many opportunities for your child to mix up or even lose a school bag. However, if the bag is unique and easy to identify, losing it becomes much less likely to happen, and it is also easier to search for if misplaced. Choosing an unusually patterned fabric or a personalized backpack can be a fun way to make your child's backpack stand out. There are also DIY decorating methods that will definitely make your child's bag unique. See what you can find to make your child's school bag special.
Now that you know what you are looking for in a school bag, take your child shopping and see which cool bag you end up with!