We're matching donations at checkout, to support No Kid Hungry.
Labor Day has passed and now school is either starting or in full swing. Here are five tips for what to pack in your child’s backpack to get your child (and you!) ready for the school year.
- Choosing a Backpack: In our home, our son loves to choose the color and design of the new backpack that he will wear on the first day of school. Remember to choose a backpack with a padded back and wide, padded shoulder straps, especially if your child is older than 2nd grade. It is important to remind your child to always use both shoulder straps, since using a single strap over one shoulder may cause a muscle strain. Also adjust the shoulder straps so that the bottom of the back pack sits about 1-2 inches above or at your child’s waist. We don’t recommend having your child’s full name monogrammed on the outside of the back pack – although it is cute, it's best to avoid so that strangers do not know your kiddos full name.
- What to put in the Backpack: Your school or teacher will usually provide a list of things that your child will need to have for the school year. Try to pack light! Organize the backpack and use all of its compartments. When packing the backpack, place heavier items closest to the center of the back. As a general rule, the backpack should never weight more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight. If possible, your child should leave some books in their locker so they do not have to carry all of their books at one time. At the end of the week, go through the backpack and remove any unneeded items to avoid any unnecessary weight and to keep it light.
- Packing Lunches and Snacks: Before deciding what you should pack for lunch and snacks, it’s important to find out your child’s schedule, as well as what snacks are allowed. Many schools are peanut and tree nut-free, due to the increased prevalence of these allergies in children. Also, the kids may have snacks and lunch at atypical times so it’s important to pack something that will stay fresh until eaten. Remember to put in an ice pack if you are giving them something that needs to keep cold. FEED's Lunch Box is great in that it wipes clean and has plenty of space for an ice pack.
- Water bottle: We recommend a thermos or a water bottle that can keep your child’s water cool and also prevent any accidental leaking. In general, kids should drink the same number of cups (8 ounces) of water as their age with a maximum of 64 ounces of water for children 8 years of age and older. Make sure to encourage your child to drink water throughout the day, especially after physical education and playing outside on warm days.
- Pick-ups and Emergency contact: Remember to let your school and your child know who will be picking them up. Most schools require you to fill out a form with a list of people, parents, grandparents and nannies, that have permission to pick up your child. It is important to write down the phone numbers for parents and other contacts in your child’s back pack in case of an emergency.
Check out other Ask Dr. Dina posts on our blog and stay tuned on social to submit your own questions to our resident experts! For more, follow them @pediatriciansguide.
Imagery features Ulla Johnson and daughter, wearing the FEED Kids' Collection.