Heading back to school is an exciting thing. But when it’s your tween who’s headed back, that excitement can mean stress for you. It’s on you as a parent to help your tween pick out all of the back-to-school essentials, and it can be hard to find the stuff that will help him or her stand out in all the right ways. Kids are tough, and you want yours to feel great about themselves and enjoy essentials and accessories that really make them happy.
Relax — we’re here to help. We’re going to run through the back-to-school accessories that your kid has to have, and we’ll even give you some tips on how to tell the cool stuff from the stuff that only lame parents like us would like. Here’s what you need to know.
Lunch bags and totes
Lunch is an important thing for kids, but school lunches aren’t always the healthiest options. Sending your tween to school with a packed lunch can be a great idea. But those packed lunches need to be packed in something, and that raises the question: What sort of lunch bag does your tween want?
If your tween is a girl, she may not want a lunch bag or lunch box in the sense that you picture them at all. She may be more drawn to lunch totes — hip tote bag-style lunch carriers that keep food fresh while also looking fresh.
A lot has changed since we were kids, but backpacks are still very much a thing — even if they sometimes look a little different from what we remember. A lot of different styles of backpacks are out there, and one size does not fit all. This is definitely one purchase that you’re going to need to work on with your child.
Athletic tweens may gravitate toward athletic packs from well-known sports brands. Others may prefer the hip simplicity of a toned-down fashion pack from a brand such as JanSport or Herschel. These backpacks can get pricey, so consider your budget and how useful they may be for other things. Backpacks suitable for day hikes could be used on family hikes, for instance, and may be worth spending a bit more on.
Headphones probably won’t be allowed when class is in session. But still they’re an important back-to-school accessory. They’re must-haves for the school bus and for downtime, and they may even help your kid block out noise during study hall.
But headphones are an important fashion statement, so tread carefully. Enlist the help of your tween as you shop, and consider cool over-ear headphones that may help block noise (and will keep noise from escaping, too — which will keep your kid on the right side of any school rules regarding that sort of thing.
Kids wear through shoes pretty quickly. The return of the school year is the perfect reminder to get your kid a fresh pair. Comfort is key here, but don’t force your tween into clunky trainers that will embarrass him or her — tweens can be cruel, and you want your kid to have a great back-to-school experience. Shop around and look for tough, high-quality shoes that actually make your kid happy. Hopefully they’ll last a little longer than the last pair did!
If your kid is one of the many young people toting around a smartphone, then you’ll definitely want to invest in a nice case. Make sure that the case is a cool one, because you want your kid to use it — but make sure that it’s a sturdy one, too, because kids can be very rough on their pricey smartphones. If you spend smart on a case, you won’t have to spend lots of money on a replacement smartphone.