Even though a lot of kids are going back to school at public and private institutions that require uniforms, it’s easy to throw in a little personality with the right backpack.
From superhero to ballerina, urban sophisticate to artistic chic, the companies that make kids backpacks seem to be getting wiser to the looks kids want – and subsequently have managed to put their collective finger on the pulse of “The Backpack Generation.” And even though your kids might be wearing plaid skirts and knee-socks or navy trousers and white button-down shirts to school, their backpacks can still speak volumes about who they are – and who they want to become.
The Young Ones
Being the mother of a 13-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, I’ve been through the kid years. Mine are now officially a teen – and unofficially (though she certainly has the taste of) a tween. And what I’ve learned from shopping for my kids’ backpacks in those formative years has gotten me through each back-to-school season as a hero.
First of all – let your kids shop with you. Kids’ backpacks are personal, and letting them have an active role in choosing them will help you avoid arguments and encourage them to stay organized all year long.
Secondly – if you let your kids buy two different backpacks – with different themes, colors and styles – it will solve the backpack version of “I have nothing to wear” (and it will give them one to use for toting their soccer, gymnastics or sleepover gear and one to use for books).
Lastly, when it comes to kids backpacks, durability is key. Don’t let your kid choose something that’s thin, flimsy and without support. Instead, redirect him or her to something that looks similar but will hold up for the entire year (otherwise you may end up spending a fortune on kids backpacks that simply aren’t up to snuff).
With my daughter, the tween years promise to be difficult. Already she’s about as style-conscious as they come. So when it was time to go shopping for girls backpacks you can bet that pink ponies just weren’t going to cut it.
Fortunately, we found a middle ground that neither helped her look like she was trying to become the next hot MTV act, nor projected an image that was too sweet for her moody, artistic 9-year-old mind. And where we found these promising girls backpacks: stylish backpacks and product information, we poured over the site for hours and found just the bags she wanted – and I wanted her to have. (We even managed to snap up a super-stylish rolling backpack from J World for all her art supplies.)
Less style conscious than his little sister, but somewhat more into “cool”. My skateboarding, punk-loving teenage son wanted a bag he could personalize with band patches and carry his board in (which is allowed at his school). So we did a search and settled on a black Zitteli with everything he wanted (and needed) in a bag. I also managed to talk him into getting a cool Timbuk2 bag for days he didn’t bring his board. And while we were on a roll, we found him the perfect rolling backpack for carting around all his soccer gear – and keeping any remnants of his stinky cleats out of his school bags.
As with most things related to parenting, it just takes time and communication. And if you can manage to give a little, your kids will find bags that are functional and perfect for their personality – and you get to be the hero that buys them!
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