13 Essentials for Your Back to School Shopping List

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It seems like summer just started, and yet, parents across the country are already thinking about back to school shopping lists for their kids.

With the coronavirus pandemic changing a lot of the way we function — like purchasing necessities like food — it's also going to take a bit of a different approach when getting your children ready for their big day.

The wisest tactic to take is to create a master list and scoop up items over the next month or two when you see them on sale. That way, you save both money and frustration.

Here's a sample back-to-school supplies list to get you started.

Essential back to school items during a pandemic

back to school cleaning

Schools in some areas plan to reopen as usual in the fall. Others might take a more wait-and-see approach. Contact your local district for details — your child might experience changes like more online learning and smaller class sizes.

When your child does head to the physical location, they'll need a modified back-to-school supplies list.

Add the following four items to your inventory:

1. Hand sanitizers and wipes

You want your child to wash their hands frequently, but in school, they must ask permission to use a public restroom. Make it more realistic for them to stay safe by stocking up on hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.

With back-to-school season soon approaching, you should start your search as early as possible, as supplies will sell quickly. Pick up extra for the classroom if you have the means.

2. Sunscreen

Expect your children to spend more time outdoors at recess due to the pandemic. Protect their delicate skin by packing sunscreen. Look for a variety with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above to prevent skin damage and sunburn. You might need to check with your child's teacher about whether they can apply it as necessary or whether they need adult supervision.

3. Tissues

If your child comes down with a cold, you should keep them home until their symptoms subside. However, if they have allergies, a personal stash of tissues prevents them from using the public box — or a scratchy brown paper towel.

4. Medications and inhalers

You'll most likely need to keep your child's medication with the school nurse. Contact the district in advance to review the rules. Most require written authorization from your child's doctor, so you may need to add this to your to-do list.

Basic classroom supplies

back to school supplies

If you want your child to succeed academically, add the correct learning tools to your back to school supplies list.

While your district may provide this information on individual student syllabi, you can guarantee your tyke or teen will need the following five items:

5. Pens and pencils

You can never have enough of these. If your child isn't particular, or you have a tight budget, you can find these at your local dollar store. If you have more wiggle room in your wallet, sites like Rifle Paper Company and Poppin' offer unique treasures.

6. Crayons and markers

Younger children can make do with dollar store items. If you have teenagers on an art track, you may need to hit a craft store for specialized colored pencils and artist-quality ink.

7. Notebooks

You can never have enough of these, so get thee to the dollar store and stock your supply.

8. Planner or binder

Some schools give each student a planner, but don't rely on your district to do so. Plus, buying in advance of the semester's start lets you review crucial study skills like writing down daily assignments and setting goals that often get lost in the rush.

9. Posterboard

If you have the space to store it, you can nearly guarantee your child will need this item for one project — or several.

Other school-specific items

girl with backpack

Depending on your district, the following additional items deserve a space on your back-to-school shopping list:

10. Backpack

Due to the rise in school shootings, some districts now require students to carry clear backpacks — make sure yours meets the standard before you purchase.

11. Lunch box

Your child's lunch hour might look different in COVID-19's wake. Some cafeterias may offer limited selections, and other students may face long, socially distant lines to get grub. Then, they need to walk back to the classroom before they can eat. Make sure your children get adequate nutrition by brown-bagging it.

12. Gym clothes

P.E. will also look different — contact sports won't play a role. However, your child may need gear to do yoga and calisthenics.

13. Shoes

Maintaining social distancing can result in taking a ton of extra steps daily. While the added exercise will benefit your child's growth, make sure they have comfortable shoes that don't pinch their tiny — or lengthy — toes.

Get your student ready to go back to school with this shopping list

If you're a parent who has had a bit too much togetherness with your little angels during the shutdown, you may find yourself singing, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," while cruising store aisles.

Contact your district for additional details, as supply requirements may vary by grade level and curriculum. Otherwise, the back-to-school supplies list above should contain everything your child needs to make this their most successful year yet!

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