Kids Motherhood

Do Your Kids Really Need a New Backpack This Year?

Written by Kristen Hewitt

The girls saw a commercial for kids clothes on sale and begged to go shopping for back to school. While there we strolled through JCPenney’s and they were oohing and awwing over backpacks. They loved the floral ones of course, and the ones with wheels that light up. And the one with tablet covers were tres chic for the budding nine-tween-year-old.

But my eyes bugged out when I saw the price.

$74.99 Jansport on sale for $45.99. (Is it gold-plated?)

But Jansport was too boring for the little one, she wanted a Justice sequin flip up initial backpack for $39. And that was the sale price. I am not normally cheap, though I do like a good bargain, but something stopped me from making the purchase.

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“Let’s wait and see what we have at home. I mean we can’t buy the first backpack we see, that’s like buying the first wedding dress you try on!” I chided them, trying to buy some time to hit TJ Maxx or find a deal on Amazon.

I, like our girls, always loved the beginning of the school year when I was a kid. Getting a new lunchbox and puppy designed Trapper Keeper. It was so fun picking out the new school supplies, clothes, shoes and of course the best accessory, a backpack. But if I’m being honest, I don’t remember getting a new backpack every year.

And as I was looking at the price of clothes, sneakers, and school supplies, I kept imagining all the backpacks we have at home.

And here they are. Eight.

No we don’t have eight kids. Just two. And we just gave away three others. (Backpacks, not kids!)

When I laid these out on the floor the girls saw a rolling backpack that looked brand new from first grade, and an adorable kitty backpack from preschool. No one has seen these at their school, like that even matters. But I started thinking, why can’t they use what we already have?

Is it a given that our kids need everything new every single year? Are we perpetuating materialism by giving into every single whim when what they have is still usable? Why is there so much pressure from society always telling us we need more, new, and better?  I talked to my husband to see if he agreed with my thoughts, and of course, he did.

So this year we’ve decided to stick with what we already have and not buy new backpacks for this school year. I’ll spruce them up and try to get them nice and clean. (You can totally throw them in the washing machine!) And if they break them then we can get one on sale after the school year starts. But I’d like to teach them how to reuse and upcycle what we have.

Teach them not to waste.

And teach them not to have expectations.

They are totally allowed to add a new patch, or hook on some keychains they collect. Or maybe even use their art supplies and bedazzle them if they want! And my husband told the girls they are welcome to purchase their own backpacks using their own money. (Which was declined immediately.) But let’s use what we’ve have and break the habit of buying just for the sake of trying to fit in.

And please, if you get a new backpack every year I’m not chastising you. I did it too – every single year for the past four years. And sure we can probably afford to get new ones. But I’d rather use that $80 on something we really need, like a book on how to raise kids without going broke.

Do you get new backpacks every year?

This article originally appeared on Facebook at Kristen Hewitt

About the author

Kristen Hewitt

Kristen Hewitt is a 2-time Emmy Award winning Television Reporter for Fox Sports Sun and the Miami HEAT. She’s also the founder of  the popular lifestyle & parenting website mommy in SPORTS which was named the Best Blog by the Miami New Times in 2016. You may have seen her written work around at the Huffington PostShe Knows, Bustle, and the parenting websites BundooScary Mommy, and TODAY Parents, to name a few. Her favorite job though is raising her 2 miracle girls with grace, gratitude, and a lot of laughs! Say hello to her on Facebook, Twitter, or Insta!