As much as I almost hate to bring it up and spoil the summer fun, August is just on the horizon and where I come from that means back to school shopping and a lot of chaos for frazzled mamas. Whether you’re reluctantly sending your last baby off to kindergarten or you’re giving your oldest child a going away party as they begin their freshman year of college, this list of back to school essentials written by a Minimalist will guide your back to school shopping and help you decide what’s truly an essential. Psst– it’s not just school supplies!
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BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING ESSENTIALS THE MINIMALIST WAY
Your child’s school supply list is given to you by the school your child attends, but we know he comes home on the last day of school he’ll have most of his supplies unused or in great shape. Salvage the items from last year that you can use again this year then let’s talk about those extra school supplies that he’ll need. Here you’ll find a list of essentials to guide your back to school shopping no matter the age or schooling situation your child is in.
Back to School Essentials
Clothing- This is a category of back to school supplies that is easy to go overboard with. I recommend creating a small capsule wardrobe for your child before you go shopping to give you an idea of the things you may need to purchase before you’re in the middle of Target wondering which way is up or down. Read exactly how to create a capsule wardrobe for kids in this post and grab a copy of my free printable to take back to school shopping with you. If you’re wondering what kinds of shoes your child needs for their capsule wardrobe, I have a post for that, too. Click here to read about which shoes work best for capsule wardrobes.
One of the biggest hurdles with back to school shopping for clothes seems to be the issue of the time of year being between seasons. Replace the items your child has worn out 1:1. Have a set number of items in mind that you want to purchase before you ever enter the store and stick to it. Think of it in terms of how much laundry you want to do every day- ya feelin’ me, Mama??
Book Bag- If your child’s book bag from last year is looking worn, purchase a new one. Buy a book bag that is extremely supportive and adjust it correctly so that your child’s neck and spine aren’t feeling the repercussions before age 30 (Ask me how I know. Major ouch.). A cross body messenger bag can be a more stylish alternative to a book bag for older children or young adults.
First Aid Kit– Let’s face facts. Back to school means back to sick. Ughhh. You’re going to want to have your home first aid kit (or one for your adult student’s dorm room) at the ready and in it you’ll want to include a digital thermometer from Generation Guard. I received one for free to try and I have been very happy with it. The true test will come when one of the babies get sick.
It’s also a good idea to create a small first aid kit of bandages and water wipes, and pack it in one of the inner pockets of your child’s book bag just in case.
You don’t want to be caught without a great thermometer when one of your little loves is ill. Click this link to purchase a digital thermometer from Generation Guard and use coupon code MAMABM15 to receive a 15% discount! Don’t you just love back to school savings??
Hygiene Bag- Along with a first aid kit, your child may benefit from having a small pouch filled with products that promote hygiene. Depending on the age of the child these items will differ, but some suggests are: floss, travel toothbrush and toothpaste, menstrual cup, facial wipes, deodorant, chapstick, hand sanitizer, small hairbrush, Q-tips, sample makeup set, lotion, or a change of clothes (esp for younger children or females of menstruating age).
Obviously including all of these things would create a huge bag filled with items that your child may never use, or items that your 5-year-old will have demolished in a day. Choose wisely and teach your child to use these items conservatively and only for days when they’ve forgotten to brush their teeth at home which is a huge faux pas in school culture. Obvi.
Relaxation Baskets- Everywhere I turn online I see articles on self-care and its importance for mamas. With back-to-school in mind, I’m wondering what we could do for our children to help them unwind after a long day in the classroom and build them up to be their best selves. No eye rolls, please. Self-care is something totally different than “spoil your kids.”
Self-care should build connection between you (the parent) and your child while making your child feel like they can relax for a few moments before continuing their day. I think a great idea is to create a basket that is exclusively for self-care for our kids and only allow those items to be used or played with at the predetermined times. Include items in the self-care basket that your child values.
For example: your kindergartner may enjoy a beautiful, princess coloring book and some one-on-one time with you while your daughter in junior high would prefer having a spa night with mom watching a movie (or alone… preteens are wishy washy.). Choose items for self-care that center around relaxation, building self-esteem, and creating a bond between family members (even if that means some family members need alone time).
What items are on your back-to-school shopping list that aren’t school supplies?
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