The Complete Guide to Back to School Shopping for Kids

Ah, summer time! Splashing in pools, chasing fireflies, eating popsicles. Life is carefree and easy for your kids. But guess what? It’s time to start your Back to School shopping: gathering school supplies and preparing your children for their next year of school. Here are some ideas to make this time of transition easier for you and your kids.

Three Steps to Getting Started with Back to School Shopping

1. Contact your school to find out if there is a dress code. Things may have changed over the summer and it’s best to be prepared before you head out to the mall or go online shopping.

2. Make a list of all the items your child will need in the upcoming year. Include clothes for gym classes and any other special activities your child may be participating in (soccer, cheerleading, band, etc.).

3. Before you whip out the credit card, give last years clothes a review. See the list below for ideas on cleaning and organizing your children’s clothing closet.

Closet Cleanup

One afternoon when the kids are at the movies with friends or on a playdate, set aside time to evaluate the kids’ closets. Bring three bags or plastic storage containers with you. Mark the containers:

* Give: These clothes are in good shape but no longer fit your child. You can give them to charity or sell on them on Craigslist or eBay or take them to a local resale/consignment shop – it’s your choice.

* Keep: Clothes that fit and are clean and presentable. You may also want to keep clothes that are in good condition that may fit a younger sibling or relative.

* Toss: Stained, torn or otherwise damaged clothes should be added to the rag pile or tossed with the trash.

Ready to shop? Great. Here are some of the hot items your kids may be after for BTS.

Back to School Fashion Trends

Pleated skirts and peasant tops.
Leggings (worn under skirts) keep legs warm on chilly fall days.
The layered look: Horizontal striped polo shirts layered under long-sleeve tees.
Skate boarding inspired clothes are popular with logos prominently displayed. These styles tend to be baggy and loose.
World Cup mania is going strong: Look for soccer jerseys and logo gear from Adidas, Puma and Nike.
Camouflage clothing and cargo pants and shorts are still cool.

School Uniforms

Many schools (both public and private) have adopted school uniforms to make life easier on parents and kids. Uniforms remove clothing competition from the schoolyard and allow kids to focus on more important things like algebra, American history and recess!

The Internet is great resource for purchasing school uniforms. Popular Spots for School Uniforms: All Hearts Kids, Dickies, French Toast, Lands End, JC Penny, Sears.

BTS shopping can be an overwhelming experience for your kids, so sit down with them prior to beginning your shopping so there aren’t any surprises.

Tips to Make Back to School Shopping a Breeze

* Involve your kids in making the shopping list.

* Explain the school dress code so they don’t select inappropriate clothes.

* Lay out the budget. Sure this is a lofty concept for them, but it’s never too early to encourage your children to be responsible with their money.

* Get them involved. As a parent you are responsible for selecting the style, then give your children a choice when it comes to things like color or prints.

* For older kids and teens allow them to search for items on the Internet and then make a presentation on their wardrobe and the total cost (Give them a budget and shopping list). Then you can make the final decisions.

* Remember:

o You are in control, not the kids.
o Don’t shop with your kids when they are tired or hungry.
o Don’t give into peer pressure. As a parent you set the rules for what your kids wear – not their friends or MTV.

Budget Friendly Ideas

* Check out your local children’s resale shop.
* Organize a clothing swap with other parents at your school.
* Use online resources like eBay and Craigslist for gently worn clothing.

Enjoy these last precious weeks of summer, knowing that this checklist will make your life easier.

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