When your child starts school, there is a normal feeling of discomfort. Compared to the kindergarten years, you have a rapid increase in the number of things you have to pay attention to that you don’t know how to handle. It’s a process of learning through trial and error, and over time you will become an expert.
Some of the most difficult things include packing a backpack for school. The number of items elementary school students have to carry to school each day is staggering. When you first take your school bag off, you realize how heavy it is. Its weight goes up as they get older and more subjects and activities are added to their curriculum. A typical high school backpack is between 16 and 20 pounds. Depending on the extracurricular or in-class activities the student is involved in, the weight may increase, or the student may need an extra bag.
In reality, heavy backpacks are often the cause of into back pain as well as back discomfort in children. Studies have also proven that when school backpacks weigh more than 10% of a student’s body weight, they can have a significant negative impact on the cervical spine and lead to poor posture.
Therefore, as a parent, it is important that you understand how to pack your school backpack to ensure that its weight is within an acceptable range and that the weight is evenly distributed. Your child may not be aware of the consequences of carrying heavy loads, which is why you should be able to discuss this issue and make sure that when they are older, they are taught how to independently pack their backpack for school.
Choosing a school bag
Some schools have rules about the type of backpacks that are allowed to be used at school. Therefore, you should research this before choosing the right backpack for your child. As your child gets older and her height and weight change, the backpack will need to be adjusted.
Most likely, your child will need at least three backpacks throughout her school years. The first is through elementary school (grades 1-5) The second is for middle school (grades 6-8) and the last is for high school (grades 9-12). Depending on your child’s growth rate, she may need two different backpacks during her elementary years. Picking the best book bag will go a long way in simplifying the process of packing a school bag.
The school bag you choose must have several compartments. This will allow her to easily arrange her books and secure her laptop (if she is allowed to bring it into school). Also, have separate compartments for her pencils or other school supplies that she may bring to school, as well as her lunch box.
It is critical to make sure that everything that goes into the backpack for school is kept in the designated area and does not move around too much. If the contents of the backpack, especially notebooks and books, are moved around a lot and are heavy, it may strain your child’s back and shoulders.
The size of the backpack is also critical. It should not hang any lower than the waist. This can put a lot of strain on the shoulder and back muscles.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your backpack should have two shoulder straps. Don’t buy the kind of backpack that only has one strap. Two straps that evenly distribute the weight and provide the necessary support are crucial. If your backpack comes with padded hip belts, that’s even better. The hip belt can share some of the pressure on your shoulders.
Create a checklist of all your belongings
Before we get into the steps of learning how to pack a proper backpack for school, both you and your child must prepare a checklist of items that should be packed. This may seem excessive at first, but you will appreciate the benefits as time goes on. You already have a school schedule.
From there, you can create an agenda of what needs to be packed for each day. The schedule and list can be displayed on top of the table where your child studies. Each morning (or even better, before bedtime at night), your child and you can then refer to the list and pack their school bag without thinking twice. This will ensure that you don’t miss the most important things and will be done in no time.
A typical morning is busy. You may need to dress yourself for work, prepare breakfast, get the kids up, get them ready for school, etc. With this list, minimal tasks will be simplified.
Create separate lists for equipment that must be packed for the gym or sports and anything else your child needs for after school activities such as dance or music lessons. If clothes or attire need to be brought, include them in the list as well. Ideally, these items should be stored in an extra duffel bag or gym bag, depending on the item, rather than in the elementary school bag. This list complements the school supply list.
Post a notecard on the refrigerator or in the cafeteria to remind you that you should also pack your lunch box. This is not something you can do the night before, unless your child buys lunch in the school cafeteria and you provide them with lunch money each day. A reminder will ensure that you don’t get caught in the morning rush.
Pack the school bag
Items must be packed in an organized manner so that it is possible to get to it when you need it. Separate compartments within the school bag will help organize items more efficiently.
The curriculum will tell you what books, exercise books or notebooks you will need for a particular day, as well as journals for labs. When you start packing, put the books you need for the first lesson in the front, then the books for the second lesson in the back, and then the other books next to them. This way, your child will know where to store the journals and books needed for each period. Label all flipcharts, books, folders, journals, and other school supplies to make them easier to find and organize.
Laptops and Tablets
If your school allows students to bring laptops, they should be placed directly behind them. When wearing a backpack, the laptop should be placed on the child’s back. The backpack should have an internal strap to hold the laptop in place and stop it from moving around.
Other academic items
Other academic or study-related items, such as pouches or pencil cases and calculators, should be placed in a compartment or pocket inside the backpack. These items should be readily accessible and should not be placed in the main pack of the backpack, as they may fall into the bottom of the pack and be difficult to access.
The lunch box should be placed in an external bag or in a pocket on the back of the backpack. It should be kept away from bed linens and books. There is no need for spills that occur to ruin books or other learning materials inside the backpack. The ideal way to pack your lunch is in a sealed, airtight container as well as a Ziploc bag.
All essentials, including cell phones and school IDs, keys, wallets, etc. must be kept in an external pocket.
Many schools provide students with their own lockers that can be secured. Some of the things included are: sports equipment, sanitary pads for girls and umbrellas or raincoats, spare cell phone chargers and pencils and pens that are not in the locker, and anything else your child does not use at home that can be kept in the locker and must be stored there. This means that these are just some of the items that she does not have to bring to school. What your child doesn’t need to carry around all day is an essential aspect to consider when packing a proper backpack for school.
Tips for packing a school backpack
Encourage your child to get into the habit of cleaning out her backpack regularly. Any paper, wrapping paper, tissue paper, etc. that is not being used needs to be removed. If not cleaned regularly, these items tend to fall near the bottom of the backpack and consume space. Wrapping paper and other trash can also create an unpleasant odor in your backpack.
In any case, everything in your backpack should be removed from your backpack when you get home from school and put back in it before you go to bed. This is an ideal habit to ensure that you do not bring unnecessary or unwanted items to school.
Purchase thinner rather than heavier exercise books to take notes during class. This will make the backpack weigh much less. It is not your responsibility to control the books in the school curriculum, but you will be able to purchase smaller exercise books for your child.
A checklist can help you determine which day’s backpack is likely to be the heaviest. The backpack should be filled with the necessary items needed for the day, then weigh the backpack. It should weigh no more than 10-12% of your child’s body weight. So, if your child weighs 100 pounds, the backpack should weigh no more than 10-12 pounds. If it’s heavy, try to find ways to lighten the load. Also, discuss the problem with the school and with other parents to figure out a solution together.
At first, you will have to help your child pack their backpack for school, but in the meantime, teach them to pack it themselves. This will not only help your child prepare for school each day, but it will also help them become disciplined and carry over into other areas of their lives.