Parents’ Guide to Surviving Back-to-School Shopping

We all dream of a smooth transition from summer vacation to back-to-school, but too often the crush of activity in the days and weeks leading up to the school year is a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some back-to-school tips for making the most of your Back-to-School shopping.


Take the Kids Back-to-School Shopping

A survey conducted by Staples Canada in 2013 revealed that two out of three students appreciate the back-to-school season and look forward to the new school year. The same survey revealed that 62 per cent of parents prefer shopping for supplies with their child or children. It’s no surprise then that an increasing number of parents are making back-to-school shopping an annual ritual that can be shared and relished between parent and child.

“I try to double up on my level of patience and make a great day out of it,” says Antonia Aristizabal, a parent of four from Uxbridge, Ontario. “It’s become an annual tradition. We’ll spend time at our local Staples, list in hand, then I usually treat them to a nice lunch or ice cream. There’s actually a lot of joy in choosing notebook colors, brand-new scissors, pencils and other supplies that will hopefully be with them for the entire school year.”


Choose Carefully

Studies show that today’s kids are hyper-conscious about trends and fashions: they know what’s cool and what’s not from year to year.  That’s all well and good until tastes change in the middle of the school year and that Transformers backpack is suddenly no match for Iron Man. Smart parents strike smart deals with kids who tend to have fickle allegiances. One way to remain adaptable is to buy stickers of favorite characters that can easily be removed or covered over as school supply trends change. Or both parties agree to purchase only lower-cost items emblazoned with trendy images and sayings. It’s much cheaper to buy a new pencil case or folder than a new backpack.

If you’re doing your back-to-school shopping solo, keep your child’s personality and interests in mind, style consultants advise. Make sure you’re honestly shopping for them and not for who you think they should be. Use their interests to create a theme, so it’s easy to co-ordinate colors and supplies.


Avoid the Back-to-School Shopping Rush

Although there are often sales pegged to the school calendar, some parents prefer to do their back to school shopping off peak. Pick up the items you know you’ll need throughout the summer or once September comes. Can’t pass up a deal? Then consider shopping at off hours, like later at night just before closing or earlier in the morning, when fewer customers are in the store, lines are shorter and it’s easier to spend time getting tips and advice from sales associates.


Shop Online

Of course, there’s never a line-up on the Internet, and expert help is always a click away. Staples, for example, has gotten to the point where more than half of its sales are through online channels. That means retailers are getting good – rather, very good – at servicing the needs of customers through the internet. That’s why many parents will do their back-to-school shopping “virtually”. Consider getting your kids to create online favorites lists for items so you can discuss options and plan expenditures.

By Adam

July 14, 2014