Ready or Not… It’s Time! Back-to-School Shopping Advice From Your Favourite Learning Strategist!

I know, I know… you may not be ready to start thinking about back-to-school shopping quite yet, but here we are at the beginning of August and, before you know it, you will blink and it will be time for students to head back. 

Based on my experience as both a Learning Strategist and a Mom, I can confidently say that now is the best time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping if you haven’t already.  Getting organized early will help to make the transition less stressful, especially considering many students who may be returning to school in-person this September will be doing so for the first time in a long time.  That being said, with looming threats of a potential 4th wave, there may still be a lot of uncertainty about whether your child will be going back to school on Zoom or in the classroom.

“The other big question mark remaining around back-to-school season is when parents will start to do most of their shopping. Some parents still don’t know yet whether or not their kids will be back in the classroom, and as such may not be ready to kick off back to school shopping at the end of July, when sales have traditionally started.”

Whether you have already made a list of things you need or you haven’t spent one single second thinking about it, here are some tips that can help:

I find it very important—and cost-effective!—to take inventory of all supplies you already have. There are certain items that are required each year, and it’s important to review what you have left over from previous years to avoid unnecessary spending. As you conduct this inventory, you can make a list of items you need and understand which supplies you actually need to purchase. It is also a good idea to see if your child’s teacher or school has provided a list of recommended items.  Walmart also has great checklists by grade level from Kindergarten to College.

I also recommend doing the back-to-school shopping a little earlier than you’d like! Prices may go up as we get closer to Labour Day, and options may become more scarce. I also try to keep an eye out for prices from different stores since, for instance, costs may differ between Walmart and Staples. Online price comparisons and flyers can be helpful for spotting the best sales.

Consider quality vs. quantity as well! There are certain supplies where you may wish to purchase more heavy-duty products. For example, middle schoolers are likely to toss around their three-ring binders, and flimsy binders can result in missing sheets and poor organization. Backpacks may also be an important place to shoot for quality. A properly fitted backpack, especially one with padded shoulder straps and back, can prevent insidious injuries for your child’s joints. If their school supplies and books are too heavy, a rolling backpack is a great and ergonomic option.

I always recommend planners—they’re essential for helping people stay organized, especially those who have trouble with deadlines. With that, great school supplies in general can certainly make organization and academic work less stressful and more enjoyable.

I have a confession, I actually love shopping for back-to-school supplies! It helps me move back into the back-to-school mindset. There’s also something about having new school supplies that motivates students to learn.  So, whatever you decide for you or your child this September, it will be helpful to get organized early and purchase the supplies you need in advance.  Why not start now?! Consider this your friendly reminder. 

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