Encouraging Healthy and Safe Back-to-School Shopping

Fill those backpacks without breaking the bank

Parents always want to be sure they get what their kids need and avoid overspending when shopping for back-to-school supplies. The twist this season is that parents need to provide their kids with additional supplies to help stay healthy and productive.

Use these tips to find deals and prep your kids for back to school during the new normal.

Create a list for the new reality

A good back-to-school supply list usually includes what the school recommends, the specific items your child needs to thrive at school and anything you plan to donate to the classroom. This year, a complete list should also contain what your child needs to help stay healthy in school and productive at home.

More than ever, you’ll need to plan and shop early, since many households are preparing for a hybrid in-school/at-home learning setup. Once you receive the school supply list, work with your kids to detail what they need to succeed wherever they’ll be learning. Students typically have strong opinions about what they will and won’t use, so make sure you factor in their tastes.

Remember, no sharing

Calculators, headphones for language labs and other items that are available for use in the classroom may be off limits in this COVID-19 era. Even if schools do continue to offer shared items, you may want to equip your child with certain supplies that they would typically get at school. In addition to technology and equipment, think tissue packets, small bottles of hand sanitizer, erasers and other items that kids might borrow and share. If possible, donate some of these items to the classroom, too, to help all children stay safe.

Choose a backpack early

A backpack is always an important item, and shopping early with your child will help you get a good price on the pack they want most. This year, the right choice might be even more crucial, since kids may have more to store and transport. For example, if you plan to put hand sanitizer or an extra mask in your child’s pack, find one with small and easily accessible pockets. Also, many kids are transporting school-provided laptops for the first time, so look for a backpack with a laptop pocket. Or, buy a laptop sleeve that can go into any bag. This is also a good time to invest in storage pouches to organize backpacks stuffed with extra items.

Shop early for health and wellness

Some safety items to protect against COVID-19 are in short supply. With that in mind, make your list early, and shop for availability and the best price. Stock up on extra masks for kids who lose theirs during the day. Schools will certainly have masks on hand, but your child is more likely to wear a mask when it’s one they chose. Wipes, hand sanitizer and protective covers for phones (if you want your kids to clean them regularly) are some high-demand items to shop for early.

Consider ergonomics

Just like adults, kids stay focused and motivated when they’re comfortable. For example, while laptops are great, a student working for an extended time at home may benefit from a keyboard, mouse or monitor. Likewise, the right chair can make a world of difference to a student’s ability to stay on task. A chair that’s the right size and supportive will reduce fatigue. If you have a designated work area, gaming chairs are worth considering – they come in fun colors and are designed with ergonomics in mind.

Look for deals

Promotions and sales are likely for back-to-school shopping, and when you start early and lock in these deals, you can find bargains. Particularly this year, consider starting early to find the best price. Shop online to find what you want at the price you want and select curbside pickup at your local store if you don't want to wait for delivery.