The following was contributed by Jennifer Miles who will be seeing four children off to school this fall.
It’s mid-August and the last thing on most kids’ minds is that oft dreaded 6 letter word —school. While most kids aren’t keen to leave the carefree days of playgrounds, water parks and beaches behind them, there is always a certain excitement when it comes to getting ready to go ”back”. In our household the kids are always excited to catch up with friends they may not have seen in 2 months, meet their new teachers and of course to go shopping for new gear.
While the flyers may have started piling up in July, most of us will likely only be thinking about supplies in the week or two leading up to Labour day. Seeing as we are a family of 7 we tend to stick to a pretty tight budget and like to teach our kids that not everything need be brand new each year. A lesson my Dad tried so hard to teach us when he insisted that last year’s protractor would work just as good the following year and that the unused paint set need not be replaced.
That being said I’ve enlisted the help of our four elementary school aged children to compile a list of some must-have items for kids this year.
1. A sturdy backpack
Kids are lugging around more and more gear these days and all too often their backs are overloaded and way too heavy for their small frames. The British Columbia Chiropractic Association offers tips for parents and kids to “Pack it light. Wear it right.” to avoid possible health risks.
Look for a pack made of light weight material with straps at least 2 inches thick and a waist strap. Keep in mind that living in BC, your kids are likely to get wet on their way to and from school quiet often so water resistance is also important. Of course style is always a factor and with everything from Dora the Explorer to Roots to Burton available, no matter the age, your kids will find something that suits their own taste.
2. Stainless Steal Water Bottle
As our Dentist likes to remind me each time we see him, kids should really not be loading up on sugary fruit juices throughout the day. At our kids’ school teachers encourage kids to bring re-usable water bottles that they allow them to keep on their desks throughout the day.
3. Good Quality Shoes
When it comes to kids shoes the old adage ”buy cheap, buy twice” is all too true. We learned our lesson quickly when we were having to replace inexpensive shoes nearly every month. With 3 active boys tearing up the playground every lunch hour and recess, we have found that the best value is to purchase a better quality shoe at a higher price as they easily last 6 times longer. Make sure shoes offer good arch support, they have non-marking soles for gym floors and they are properly fitted.
At the end of each year schools in our area send home a list of required supplies for the following year. Duo-tangs, packs of paper, pens, paint sets and more. The lists can be daunting for parents who can’t afford the basics so the Salvation Army is looking to help out over 2,000 kids in need this school year.
There are 2 ways you can help:
- Drop off new school supplies and backpacks at Starbucks locations in Vancouver proper, and at Fitness Town locations throughout the lower mainland.
- Make a financial donation at participating Staples locations in Greater Vancouver.
Even though local shops have been loading their racks with long sleeved shirts and corduroy pants for the past month, summer is long from over. September is typically warm and dry in Metro Vancouver so don’t stress about spending a ton of money on ”fall fashions” before school starts. The kids are normally still wearing shorts and Ts for the first few weeks of school so your budget can take a break before shopping for warmer clothing. When buying clothing for school here a few tips: Think age-appropriate (your 6 year old doesn’t need to look like Miley), think comfort (sitting on the floor at music class or playing dodge ball in the gym), think weather (fall in Metro Vancouver means lite-weight, water proof jackets, hoodies, jeans and of course rubber boots).
To give parents a boost for back to school Miss604.com has a prize pack to give away courtesy of London Drugs.
This includes a $100 gift card, a Roots backpack, Roots thermal cloth lunch bag, thermos, pencil crayons, lined paper, folder, pencil case, pens, and a laptop case. The winner can keep the prize, spilt it up, or even give it to a friend or family in need.
Here are a few ways to enter to win this prize pack:
One will will be drawn from all entries August 26th at 9:00am.
Update The prize pack winner is Bonnie Y. — congratulations!