You and your child may enjoy back-to-school shopping, but it can also be a chore. You have to admit that getting new clothes, shoes, school supplies, a new lunchbox, and a new backpack can be fun. However, this yearly ritual is also prone to overwhelm parents financially, organizationally, and emotionally.
Here’s a realistic guide to help. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to back-to-school shopping, including a definitive list of what you don’t want to leave home without.
The number and type of shoes your kids need will depend on their activity level and their school’s dress code. For young children, some schools prohibit flip-flops and open-toed sandals. In addition, PE days may have specific requirements to prevent tripping, accidents, and floor damage.
During the back-to-school season, it’s a good time to reexamine your child’s school clothes and add needed items. This list of recommended clothing items most kids will want to keep in their closets. However, there is no perfect quantity, just what works best for your family and budget.
Accessories for Back-to-School
Almost every student needs a backpack, though their accessory needs depend on individual style and taste. Many states offer tax-free weekend events during the back-to-school shopping season, but accessories are not typically tax-free, so check your state’s laws first. Other accessories worth considering include:
- Facial masks
- Hair clips and ponytail holders
Your child might require different types of coats or more than one, depending on where you live. Generally, most children need the following items of outerwear:
- Mittens or gloves
- Rain boots and snowshoes
- Windbreaker, raincoat, or fleece jacket
- Clothes for winter
- Hat for winter
Supplies for the classroom
Make sure to ask your child’s school for a list of the back-to-school supplies you’ll need to purchase before you shop. You shouldn’t assume that the school supplies your student needs will be the same as when a sibling was in that grade previously.
Middle school students typically need more writing supplies, while elementary school students require fewer organizational supplies and more art supplies. There may be specific items necessary for electives or higher-level math and science courses, such as paint, brushes, and scientific calculators.
Bringing electronic devices to schools
Schools are increasingly using and misusing cell phones and other electronic devices. These items are often restricted or prohibited. You should speak with the school to find out the rules and recommendations.
Some schools even require or encourage students to bring their smartphones, computers, or iPads, but others provide them to all students or those who do not have access to them at home. Despite not always being required by schools, most teens and tweens have these gadgets, particularly a cell phone. Young people have access to laptops as well.