How to Make Back-to-School Shopping Special for Middle Schoolers

How to Make Back-to-School Shopping Special for Middle Schoolers

While kids may generally be excited about the year ahead, they aren’t quite ready to leave the joys of summer behind. Mentally, they’re still thinking about beach trips and playing in the backyard and trips to the park. The prospect of leaving all of that in favor of heading back to school can be more than a little daunting. Shopping for the return to the classroom only makes the whole transition feel a lot more real.

Fortunately, your kid isn’t alone. They can take comfort in knowing that there are thousands of others who feel the same way. Plus, there’s some new shopping to do — and picking out some fresh kids’ clothes is a great way to get them excited for the months ahead. You can make the experience unforgettable for them by treating it like a special occasion. They might even find it fun if you go about it the right way. Here are some ideas.

Create a List Beforehand

It’s likely that their school will provide a list of supplies that they need for the classroom, but that’s not the only list you should rely on when you’re shopping with your kid. Sit down together and develop a list of essentials that they might need or want for the school year. It doesn’t have to be too fussy — the idea is for this to be fun for your child, and they might not be too excited if the only items on the list are fall sweaters and winter boots.

Let them dream up little ways that might make their school year more special. Cute lunch boxes, for example, are always a hit among children, and if you let them take the reins and select one that they love, they’re likely to be extra-excited about the prospect of going to school and showing it off to their friends. Other ideas? Try cute shoelaces to elevate their sneakers, fun buttons they can attach to their backpacks, and colorful belts they can add to their outfits.

Make It a Real Event

You and your child may go out together often — but you want to make it clear that this is no ordinary outing. This is a chance for the two of you to bond as you spend quality time together, picking up the perfect items for the exciting months ahead. When you frame it this way and treat it as the special occasion that it is, your child may view the entire experience in a more positive light.

Head to the mall and plan to hit each of their favorite retailers. If you’re looking for backpacks for school, have them try on different styles — and snap their photograph while they’re doing so to make it even more of a big deal. You want them to feel special and excited about the moment. Stop for lunch after a while, too. Then let them pick out their notebooks, pens, and other supplies.

Get Into School-Year Fashion

When it comes to clothes, it can be fun to select an outfit for that first day. They might have a certain outfit in mind, so the two of you could go in search of those pieces to help them create the ultimate ensemble for heading back to the classroom. Keep the weather in mind as you do this. Usually the first day of school is relatively warm, but there’s always the chance that it could be a little breezy or cooler than usual.

Ensure they’re prepared by choosing something cozy that they can hang in their locker or stash in their backpack. On a particularly cool day, a kids’ fleece jacket makes a fantastic choice that will keep them cozy on brisk mornings. If it’s not quite chilly but there’s a chance that the temperature will drop when they’re outside at recess, give them a hoodie or a cardigan to keep handy. Thinking ahead will ensure that they stay comfortable throughout the entire day — and that’s definitely important for the first day.

Plan for the Months Ahead

The school year is pretty long, so it’s a good idea to make your shopping journey more all-encompassing. Allow your kid to choose some pieces they can wear throughout the year. Get them excited by thinking about the days ahead — even if it means mentioning the holiday season and the upcoming winter break. Be sure to touch on everything they might need during each season, from sweaters and coats to jackets and jeans.

There’s a little bit of an “anything goes” attitude where school attire is concerned, but make sure that their comfort is paramount. Have them select a few basics, like kids’ polo shirts, along with items like sneakers for gym class, boots for cold-weather wear, and dresses or skirts for the holiday season school events. The list could be long, but as you go you may just find that your kid develops an appreciation for back-to-school shopping.


The more that you involve your little one, the more excited they’re likely to be about gearing up for the school year. Sure, no one wants to bid farewell to the dog days of summer, but when they see all the fun and fashionable items that are in store for them you might find that they’ll actually enjoy heading back to the classroom.


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