Before this past school year had even ended, I received my first back-to-school catalog in the mail. That same week, I took my kids to the craft store and found they had three aisles all decked out for Christmas. I mean, really? It was June.
Now, however, as we slide into August, it’s about that time when parents begin to dig out those supply lists, check the condition of last year’s backpack, reassess clothing and shoe sizes and get shopping.
I’ve been to this rodeo a few times now (seven, actually) and in addition to the pens, crayons, notebooks, and more that will likely be required of you, here are a few items I’d recommend:
Better Binders by Staples
A few years ago, Staples noticed (apparently) all of the annoying problems with the average binder—not durable and the rings become misaligned and are not easy to flip through—and answered them and more with their Better Binder series. Even people who don’t get excited over things like binders (with whom I cannot relate ;)) will love these. Available in various sizes and colors, these are the best binders out there.
L.L. Bean Lunch boxes and Backpacks
Well designed and well made, L.L.Bean’s backpacks and lunch boxes will meet your student’s needs and last, guaranteed. They wash well, come in a variety of sizes and storages options, and are backed by the company’s legendary return policy.
Elementary school children can benefit greatly by their parents help in preparing them emotionally to go back to school. One way to do that is to read stories together.
Here are a few of my favorites: “Richard Scarry’s Great Big Schoolhouse” by Richard Scarry, “If I Never Forever Endeavor” by Holly Meade, “Those Shoes” by Maribeth Boelts, “We Like Kindergarten” by Clara Cassidy, and “If You Take a Mouse to School,” by Laura Numeroff.
A Fluffy Companion
If you’ve got nervous young children, one strategy to ease back-to-school jitters is to “hide” a special, small stuffed animal in their backpack. My daughter loved knowing a special little bunny or puppy was with her all day. She knew she had to leave the toy in the tiny front pocket of her backpack, but that was part of the fun. After school, we’d talk about all that stuffie had learned that day.
The Aurora brand of stuffed animals (easily found on Amazon and elsewhere) makes adorable options and are usually not made in China.
A Free Day
It costs nothing, but can be oh so valuable when school begins. The transition to the school schedule can be a harsh one for both parents and children. Before your calendar gets filled to the brim with school activities and after school activities, plan a free day for your family.
Simply block out a day (probably on the weekend) where you’ll schedule nothing but relaxation, recuperation, and family fun that you’ll all enjoy. It will be a beacon of light when things inevitably get hectic.