Back to School: Backpacks & Supplies

Back to School: Backpacks & Supplies

TRUTH: The countdown to the beginning of school is around the corner.

What, how is that possible?!

I can “see” many of you rolling your eyes and “hear” your deep sighs with the realization that as July comes to an end, you need to think about the end of summer and the start of school in August.

YES, you read that correctly, I said, “August”.

First day of school! ~ Photo: PPW

First day of school! ~ Photo: PPW

Oops, sorry, this in no way is meant to take away from your upcoming family vacation but is a gentle reminder of… let’s say, the beginning of fall, does that sound better than the end of summer? I think so.

Translated, the local magic date is Monday, August 15th, 2016 which means we have two, count them two more wonderful summer weekends.  So, let’s enjoy day 16 and start counting tomorrow, 15 days to go!

Go have fun!

Summer Fun! Photo: PPW

Summer Fun! Photo: PPW

Others of you are scratching your heads wondering what I am talking about because you just started your summer and will return to school after Labor Day. Lucky you!

And then some of you fall in between. If you are at the onset of your summer fun, carry on and bookmark this for later.

To see what I mean, take a look at  CNN‘s “Why August is the New September” which shares a map of school start dates (2015-2016) highlighting the variation across the country.

The thought of back to school shopping elicits different memories for each of us. For parents, there is the realization that our children have grown leaps and bounds before our eyes and that their clothes and shoes will surely be too small.

But, along with the practicality of clothes and shoes you know you must replace there are the other back to school supplies. You can check your school district’s website for supply lists. Leon County Schools Homepage  has the supply list arranged by school and by grade.

Supplies are just the beginning of a creative year! Photo: CCC

Supplies are just the beginning of a creative year! Photo: CCC

Some children may be excited about shopping for shoes and clothing, but I dare say, all children are thrilled with the thought of new school supplies.

The wonder of a new box of sharp crayons, markers that are filled with color, pencils with clean erasers, and paper to create and share their thoughts in their writings and drawings.

As a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), I confess that the part about the children creating and sharing their thoughts is one of my favorite aspects of back to school shopping.

How do I know my friends are excited? That’s easy!

They share how their parent or grandparent is taking them shopping usually followed by a special ice cream or other edible treat.

Perfect! This is an SLP’s dream come true.

As an SLP, I know we are about to begin a journey together filled with new vocabulary, concepts, creative and critical thinking and expression of emotions.

My friends begin to tell me about either an upcoming event or in some cases, a recent event if it already occurred. In either case, the Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) opportunities are vast.

The Center‘s session can now focus on their choice for the topic and include all their SLP goals and objectives. This leads to creating (planning and organizing) their shopping list (word recall, descriptions, categorizing, phone calls for comparison shopping), budgeting (math), sequencing their shopping stops (temporal/time concepts, map use, mileage), and more, but don’t tell them, they think we are “just having fun!”

Along the way, we will hear the children exclaim, ” I need a new lunchbox and backpack too!”.

Enter this SLP, ready to interject and share with my friends the difference between want and need and what to expect as they begin their shopping adventures.

Backpack fun! Photo: PPW

Backpack fun! Photo: PPW

There are those children who desire a matched set for the lunch box and backpack, those who want two different designs, and those who have no preference.

As always, the “theme” is what attracts our children to the backpack.  They will often go into great detail about perfect backpack and jump for joy at the thought of selecting this all important back to school item.

However, as grand/parents, we must remember that it is the fit that is most important.

This is true for all who use backpacks, from our youngest children through our college students, and as adults, for us too.

According to this Huffington Post article (2014), at least 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries every year.

Learn how to fit your child/ren to avoid unnecessary injuries to their necks, backs, knees, and shoulders. Check for padded shoulder straps, width of the straps, size of the pack, and think about what your child will be carrying in the pack.

It is important to keep your child’s pack balanced to avoid unnecessary stress from poorly fitting packs or over-filled packs. The weight of the pack’s content must be considered in relationship to your child’s age, weight and size.

This article from the National Safety Council (NSC) provides guidelines for your backpack considerations.

In addition, you may want to review this article from the United State Consumer Product Safety Commission which shares a “Back to School Safety Checklist”.

For information on a new backpack designed specifically for children with autism, read more here.

Be sure to watch for upcoming blog posts and visit the previous posts: Back to School Series: Tax Free Weekend and Volunteer to Grad Student.

Here’s to looking forward to a school year filled with curiosity for learning, abounding creativity, the joys of teaching, respectful interactions, positive solutions and new friendships!

Before the start of school, remember to make some time for summer ice cream,

Summer ice cream! Photo: PPW

Summer ice cream! Photo: PPW




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