The Do’s and Don’ts of Back-to-school Shopping

It’s probably fair to say that most kids don’t particularly enjoy back-to-school shopping. As we ready ourselves for all the newness back-to-school brings, our kids would much rather soak up their last bits of summer than shuffle into a dressing room with mom and a pile of jeans.

While I can’t help but get excited at the prospect of seeing my kids looking sharp in new school clothes, experience has taught me that getting them into those new clothes isn’t always easy.

Armed with lessons from school years past, this year I vow to do back-to-school shopping differently. Check out my do’s and don’ts of back-to-school shopping after the jump!

  • Don’t go inside the dressing room 1 of 18
    Don't go inside the dressing room
    Your older kid is probably embarrassed you drove him to the mall in the first place; don't add insult to injury by following him into the dressing room. If your kid is old enough to dress himself, wait outside for the big reveal.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do try to make it fun 2 of 18
    Do try to make it fun
    Break up the monotony of shopping with your kid's favorite lunch, a visit to the game store, or an ice cream break. Understand that marathon clothes shopping is the furthest thing from their idea of fun.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Don’t make them try on clothes outside the dressing room 3 of 18
    Don't make them try on clothes outside the dressing room
    I'm famous for this mom move. Learn from my mistake and save your kids the embarrassment of trying on clothes over their clothes in public view. Dressing rooms were invented for a reason.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do give them the choice to stay home 4 of 18
    Do give them the choice to stay home
    Dragging a reluctant kid back-to-school shopping never ended well. Give your kid a choice of whether to stay home or go shopping, but remind them of the consequences for trusting your taste in style.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Don’t bring them together 5 of 18
    Don't bring them together
    I know your time is limited, but a faster and more pleasurable back-to-school shopping experience can be yours if you take your kids shopping individually. Trust me.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Don’t get overly excited 6 of 18
    Don't get overly excited
    Love that new dress on her or that sharp collared shirt on him? The more you love an article of clothing, the less they will. Play it cool Mom, play it cool.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do bring sample sizes 7 of 18
    Do bring sample sizes
    Should your kid opt out of back-to-school shopping and you go it alone, bring sample sizes of your kid's clothing for size comparison.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do reward yourself 8 of 18
    Do reward yourself
    Back-to-school shopping pretty much sucks so make it worth your while with a couple of new items for yourself!
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do let them pick their clothes… 9 of 18
    Do let them pick their clothes...
    ...within the confines of the school dress code and your back-to-school shopping budget.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Don’t wait until the last minute 10 of 18
    Don't wait until the last minute
    Hunting from store to store for a roller backpack only to come up empty handed is frustrating as hell (ask me how I know). Shopping on first day of school eve is a rookie mistake.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do purchase a shirt for picture day 11 of 18
    Do purchase a shirt for picture day
    Picture day in late September/early October will be here before you know it. Buy a shirt for picture day now and save yourself the trouble of shopping for it later.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Don’t expect them to be happy 12 of 18
    Don't expect them to be happy
    Back-to-school shopping reminds your kids of impending school doom. They'd obviously rather spend their last few moments of summer having fun than shopping for new jeans.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do expect stores to be picked over 13 of 18
    Do expect stores to be picked over
    You will have trouble finding jeans and shoes in the right size. This I guarantee.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Don’t buy too much 14 of 18
    Don't buy too much
    Kids don't need a whole new wardrobe to learn. Besides, kids grow too fast!
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do stick to the basics 15 of 18
    Do stick to the basics
    A few jeans, a few shirts, maybe a sweater or two and new shoes is plenty.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Don’t argue about clothes 16 of 18
    Don't argue about clothes
    Discuss budget and style considerations and stand back. Remember who will be wearing the clothes.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Do save your receipts 17 of 18
    Do save your receipts
    Whether they hate what bought without them or that new sweater is just too itchy, expect to return at least a few items.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Don’t do it all in one day 18 of 18
    Don't do it all in one day
    Shop for school supplies and school clothes on two different days. There's no need for a marathon day back-to-school session.
    Image credit: Shutterstock

Have any bits of back-to-school shopping wisdom to share?

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