Dos and don'ts for backpacks
Backpacks come in all shapes, colors and sizes, with and without wheels, in double-strap and cross-body styles. Kids can express their individuality with the backpack’s exterior, but what’s inside remains rather consistent for all kids. Here are 10 things every kid should carry in his backpack, and five no-nos to avoid.
10 things children should carry in their backpacks
Something to write with
Elementary school children can get by with a pencil or two, while middle and high school kids should have at least one pencil for each class.
Something to write on
Paper is usually provided for younger children, but older kids should never be without a notebook for notes and assignments. Some schools require one notebook for each subject, in which case a three-ring binder can help keep them organized.
Papers can get awfully wrinkled in a backpack, so your child should carry a folder for papers traveling between home and school. For younger students, write "LEFT at home" on the left pocket for papers that your child can keep and "Bring RIGHT back" on the right pocket for papers that must be returned.
Every kid should carry an independent reading book to keep busy during downtimes.
For kids who aren't wired 24/7, there are good-old fashioned reference books. A pocket dictionary/thesaurus comes in handy during study halls.
Parents and students feel safer with cell phones, which are ideal for afterschool arrangements and urgent messages. Review your school's cell phone use policy and abide by it at all times.
Program your child's cell phone with emergency numbers. Younger children can carry those numbers on laminated cards.
Kids may want to keep a dollar and some change on hand for bake sales, vending machines or other little unexpected expenses.
During cold-weather months, encourage your child to carry a hat and gloves to keep warm should the bus break down or she becomes stranded.
Pack sample-size toiletries such as sunscreen, lip balm, tissues and Band-aids -- just in case. And unless they carry a separate purse, girls should keep a ready stash of pads/tampons and feminine wipes in their backpacks.