It’s almost back to school time! Let’s look at some great tips to help you find the best backpack for your elementary school child.
If you have an elementary school child, you may have the annual back-to-school rituals down pat by now, but it is always wise to double-check the list of needed supplies, including a backpack. Most schools will allow children to bring backpacks in the color or design of their choice, but there may be requirements about wheels or no wheels, size, materials, or types of decorations. Just like understanding the school dress code, you will want to understand any rules that apply to buying elementary school backpacks.
You will also want to make sure that your child’s backpack fits. It needs to be big enough to hold all their stuff, yet small enough to fit securely on their back and be easy to maneuver into and out of cars and school buses. A good rule of thumb is that it should be just below their shoulders, just above their waist, and not wider than their body. Children come in all shapes and sizes. Try the backpack on them and adjust the straps to get a good feel for the size. Make sure that your child’s backpack will fit at the beginning of the school year and have room to grow, too.
Back-to-school shopping is almost a competitive sport—lol. From kids’ jeans to T-shirts to colored pencils, if you have ever waited until a “reasonable time frame” to begin shopping, you may have discovered empty shelves or picked over merchandise. To give your child some choice in their backpack for this year, start early.
Online shopping can be easier and less stressful for both of you. Just make sure that if you go online instead of to a brick-and-mortar store, you choose a site that has a great return policy (like Lands’ End does). That way, if you need to exchange it, you can.
Do you have a budding fashionista who is all about the latest styles and logos in kids’ sneakers but not so interested in things like warm jackets or quality backpacks? Make sure their backpack is practical, too. Of course, you’ll want to give your child the ability to choose their own backpack, but make sure they are choosing from a list of parent-approved choices. Their backpack will need to be sturdy, at least somewhat weather-proof, large enough to carry all their stuff, and have some handy zippered pockets to stash items securely.
Don’t be surprised if their taste has changed dramatically from last year. The cute cartoon character or favorite color may have morphed almost overnight. This is part of the fun (and part of the challenge) of parenthood. Do your best to respect their new preferences, whether it’s for the perfect kids’ graphic T-shirt, that new boy band (as long as the lyrics are parent-approved), or that new BFF.
Your child will be transporting important items to and from school. In addition to textbooks, papers, and all-important personal items, they may have school-issued electronics, too. Make sure that you learn in advance what types of electronics your child will be using in school this year and whether they will be coming home. If your child needs to transport an iPad, for example, chances are the school will provide a sturdy case for it, but you will still want it to be in a waterproof (and preferably padded) area of their backpack.
Your child’s ability and understanding of how to keep things secure and in good shape will still largely be up to you during elementary school. Set reasonable expectations like when they need to charge school electronics and check their backpacks before they leave the house. This will help them to build good habits about keeping important items secure. Take special care of kids’ lunchboxes, too. Basic habits like emptying out their lunchbox and putting any dishes that need cleaning into the dishwasher are elementary school-aged tasks. If you get them started now, you will thank yourself when your little ones are big teenagers.
Don’t forget to take those pictures! Consider having them pose with their new backpack before the first day of school for some extra pics, but it is always fun to have an official first day of school pic. Plan extra time into everyone’s morning schedule so this will be a fun activity instead of something that is rushed. Don’t aim for the perfect pose. This is about making memories with your child and being able to share them with family and friends.
Have fun buying your elementary school child’s best backpack this year!