There are two approaches to back-to-school shopping: buying whatever is cheapest or shopping for the cuteness factor. Here’s an argument for the latter: Many children, even young preschoolers who aren’t yet able to articulate their feelings very well, see their school supplies as an extension of themselves. That’s why they want to walk through those doors on the first day of class with a colorful backpack featuring their favorite animal or character, and why they begged you for a specific pencil case that cost five times more than a simple hard shell box. It may be hard to see the point in novelty pencils when a bulk pack of No. 2s seems much more practical, but cute school supplies can be so much more to a child than simply tools to help them complete their schoolwork.
Talismans, conversation starters, simply an object that sparks joy… cute school supplies were my saving grace as a painfully shy kid who felt anything but comfortable at the start of the school year. When I went to school and pulled out my frog-topped mechanical pencil and strawberry-scented bunny eraser at the start of class, I felt a little more confident than I would have if I didn’t. Countless friendships were started over an ice-breaking I like your pencil or Can I smell your eraser? Before I knew it, my distinctive eraser would make its way around the table, and a likeminded classmate with a penchant for quirky school supplies would bust out something oddly shaped or silly smelling of their own. Then the teacher would have to tell us to keep it down.
Of course that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on an entire collection of ridiculously adorable back-to-school essentials to make your child feel comfortable — unless you want to. The point is, a pair of scissors can have some personality and a stapler can be anything but boring, and if an extra-cute school supply can make your child feel a little more confident and happy in the classroom, I say go for it.
This back-to-school season, consider getting your child a few cute school supplies that they love. They may not help your child ace any tests, but they can make your kid a little more excited about going to school — and that’s nothing to scoff at.
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