Besides Pencils and Notebooks, What Supplies Will Your Middle School Child Need?

Time has flown and now your sweet little son or daughter has graduated from elementary school to the big leagues of middle school. Upon entering what a friend of mine has called “the armpit of childhood”, doing your back to school shopping for your middle school child is a far different experience than taking your adorable first grader out on this venture.

As a veteran parent of one child who has come and gone from the hallowed halls of middle school and with two about to enter this fall, here is what parents need to bare in mind as they drag their children to do their back to school shopping.

Essential Middle School SuppliesCredit: www.pixabay.comEdited by author in

Photo from Pixabay

It is Important to Ask Questions

Most schools now have their supply lists on their website, making your back to school shopping a lot easier.  There is no guesswork as to what you need.

But these are just the basics and have nothing to do with the peer pressure that begins to mount during these late tween and early teenage years.

As parents, we try to teach our children that it is important to be yourself and not go along with the crowd.  While this is easy for us to say, if we think back to our own early adolescent years, we know that this is just not something that is done-at least not easily.

Conforming to the norms in your area is what your child is going to want to do so s/he can fit in with the others.  They may want to “be themselves” but in reality, they act just the opposite.  If you have ever seen a group of 12 or 13 year old girls hanging out at the mall, you know what I mean.  They are all wearing the same jeans, shirts and wear their hair the same way.  It is a strong individual who bucks the system and does her own thing.

If this is your first child attending middle school, it is important that you ask questions of your friends and neighbors who have older children what is “in” or “popular” with kids this age.  You might even want to consider a quick phone call or email to the school principal to see what the kids do-they would know best.

For example, when my older daughter was in middle school, kids stopped bringing a lunch box and instead used a brown bag.

Now, eight years later, I have been told by friends with children who attend the school that children use lunch boxes and not brown bags-the complete opposite of what used to be!

Get Organized for the New School Year

Back to School Clothing and Accessories for Middle School Children

No more Garanimals, Justice or Children's Place

Adorable character backpacks used to be what my children looked for each new school year.  Whoever was popular-Phineas and Ferb, the Angry Birds, Hello Kitty or the newest Disney princess-that is who graced my children’s backpacks.

Kiss that good-bye!

Your children are more grown up and their tastes are going to reflect that…and so is the price tag!

Credit: www.pixabay.comEdited by author in banner.fotor.comIn my area, girls carry their middle school books and supplies in a Vera Bradley backpack.  While these are on the more expensive end, you can find a great sale if you look. Boys tend to use a sold colored backpack, which are easy to find on sale. The one thing I do look for is quality, as unlike elementary school, when I would buy my children a fresh new backpack, this will not happen in middle school.  If a backpack has a high price tag, it better be a higher quality and meant to last more than one school year.

With the pressure to have what the others have, what can a parent on a budget do?

I have a deal with my children that I will pay a certain amount and they have to come up with the difference.

My son, whose feet are growing at an alarming rate, wanted very expensive sneakers.  This is what the boys are wearing now, and I cringe at paying $100 or more for a pair that he will outgrow in two months (and this has happened).

What we do is wait for a sale or a coupon, I pay the first fifty dollars and my son pays the rest. This compromise works for all of us-they get what they want and I spend what I am comfortable spending.  It is a win-win for our family.  

Other Supplies Not on the List

While the school will hand out to you a supply list of items your child will need to bring to class each day, there are things that they have left off, as they are not necessary for school, but for getting through middle school.

A Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School was one of the best books I bought my daughters.  Issues that girls may face are discussed in a way that tweens can relate to.  It is an easy and necessary read and it provide help and guidance to my older daughter and is doing the same thing for my younger one as well.

Your Daughter Will Thank You for This Book

A Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School (American Girl) (American Girl Library)
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jun 23, 2016)
My daughter and her friends lived and breathed this book when they started middle school. It makes a great gift and helps girls feel less anxious.

Personal Hygiene for Tweens

Credit: www.pixabay.comEdited by author in

With puberty knocking at the door (if it has not already arrived), hormonal changes that are taking place in your child's body need to be addressed. Deodorant needs to be applied every day and a second one should be stored in the gym locker.  No one wants to be remembered as the kid who smelled!

For girls, menstruation will more than likely begin during these years and they will need to have a supply of sanitary napkins both at home and at school (unless she wants to go to the nurse and change there).

Acne, zits, pimples...the scurge of the teen years.  Your child has to be taught how to take care of his or her skin to keep it as clean as possible. Acne medication and facial wash will now be a regular part of your shopping trip. 

Essential middle school supplies are much different that what you have been buying your child all these years.  Accept that s/he is growing up and enjoy the experience as much as you can...high school is just around the corner!

Discreet for Purses and Backpacks

Sanitary Napkin (Sanitary Pad) Case (Bag, Pouch, Holder), Cotton Fabric, Large
Amazon Price: $14.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 23, 2016)
This comes in many different patterns and is an easy way for your daughter to carry around her essentials.