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Smart Style: What’s Cool For Back-To-School

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

It’s one of the happiest times of the year for parents, but when it comes going back to school, as far as the average kid is concerned there’s nothing “cool” about it….not even the shopping.

Lets face it while going back to school is a great “excuse” for a sundry array of students to insist on new duds and back to school “gear”, most of the shopping is done and/or paid for by their parents, aka, adults, who know virtually nothing about back-to-school cool.

Experts assert that while we reflect what worked for us (back then) and what makes sense to us NOW, such as practicality, quality, price, durability, and above all safety, what’s important to remember is that while our criteria changed, kids haven’t changed that much and fitting in is still KEY. Besides, one minor faux pas on your part, and you child could become a prime target for ridicule, and “scarred” (for life).

That’s not t say that you should compromise on your values or indulge your child in (all) the latest trends and (all) he or she wants, especially if you can’t afford it, or if you are trying to instill in him/he/them the value of money and what’s really important.

On the other hand, you certainly don’t want your child to “stand out” or be singled out (as someone others can pick on), leading him or her to be treated like or feel like an outcast.

Remember, that we DO live in a competitive, material world, where peer pressure, appearances, and (first) impressions are prevalent, even for many adults, and on various levels.

While older kids may be more open to being their “own” individual (though status and labels at this age and stage may be relatively important) and may opt for options that may leave you shaking your head, younger children are not necessarily be so concerned with status symbols of statements of identity but rather with what’s hot, what’s in and what “their” group of friends considers cool.

Your job is to either take your child on his/her back-to-school shopping spree with you, or to figure it all out beforehand.

Here are just a few things to take into account and keep in mind:

1. Tubular Traditions: TV (especially if you allow your kids to watch it) and movies play a major role in their life and what they like. Chances are that children’s tastes will vary and change much quicker than our own, but knowing what they are into “this” TV/movie season may clue you into whether you kid is more Blues Clues or Captain Jack.

2. Play It Again Sam: Experts suggest taking note of how your child plays or your children play when they are alone or with others. Keep record of the types of activities he/she/they gravitate towards and you’ll likely tap into a facet of their personality they wouldn’t mind showing off, ensuring that if YOU pick out items reflecting their favorite hobby, you’ll be playing it safe.

3. Work It Out: Younger children are especially enamored with growing up and what they want to be (when they grow up) Try to purchase items that fit into the theme of your child’s future ambition(s). Look for items such as sports jerseys for sports fans or things with lots of faux bling and frills for future actresses (or princesses).

4. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Strategy): Look for things that worked well the year before and that won’t make other students feel cast out or uncomfortable with more of and emphasis on functionality than fashion (as long as what you’re buying isn’t completely outdated). Base your decisions or help you child make a decision based on his/her favorite color, what fits, what he or she can comfortably grow into, what fits into the school and your personal dress code, what easy to maintain etc.

Note: If you feel “intimidated” about taking your youngin’ to the mall where long lines and a plethora of possibilities will try your child’s patience and your, you may want to consider either going with another mom or two, so you can each have someone to lean on, or (better yet) get it all done from the comfort of your own home, by shopping online. Not to mention you can collaborate with you kid at his/her convenience and you can allow for an instant veto.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Smart Style: What’s Cool For Back-To-School

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