By Karen Trombetta

If you’re like me, you’re counting the days until school starts again. Or maybe you’re like Cristina and your kiddos are headed to school for the very first time! It can be an exciting, emotional, and overwhelming time for all. One thing that can make things easier is to have an idea of what supplies you truly need for this new phase vs. what you think you need, but will actually never use. 

Here is a list of items I’ve tried and loved that can help make this school thing easier on you and your little.
BTW- none of these are sponsored, I just really, really like them.

Lunch Essentials

I have Pottery Barn Kids lunch boxes for my boys (McKenzie Classic Lunch Bag to be exact), but here are a few others that come highly recommended. The key is to get insulated ones that keep their lunch cold. Most classrooms don’t have fridges to store their lunches.
You want a bento box or containers with different compartments to make lunch packing easy, efficient, and practical. I use Easylunchboxes with the four compartments. It gives my picky eater options in small portions.
I also like Sistema Klip It – they have a bunch of different configurations. I buy mine at Target. So affordable and durable.
Here is a rookie mom move that I don’t want you to make: I bought the Pottery Barn Kids  bento box that ‘comes’ with the lunch box. DON’T. It’s enormous, so hard to put in and take out of the lunch box. It leaks. The sizes of the compartments are weird. Unnecessary. Let my waste of money be your smart move.
I also love using silicone baking cups to put in those containers with things I don’t necessarily want the other food to touch. For example, if I’m packing half a pb&j I can use a silicone cup to put in some grapes in the same compartment. And in the other part I can put pasta salad, etc. Make sense?
Most schools require you to pack a snack in addition to lunch. I use these baggies to send carrots, grapes, those green bean puffy snacks my kid loves so much, veggie stick chips, freeze dried mango, etc.
Water bottles are so important in my house. My kid wants one literally in every room, car, chair, hiding place. I love these. They’ve improved their design in the last year so the straw does not come off to wash. It’s a super easy and smart system that won’t fall apart in the dishwasher. They keep the water cold longer and won’t spill.
Thinksport/thinkbaby, Camelback and Thermos are also great.

Backpacks

Chances are your little one does not need anactual backpack for books and spirals, per se, but they will need something to carry their extra diapers, undies, clothes, etc. and toys they want to haul to school.
My kids have the Kanken Mini, but literally any bag that can fit their things will do.
Here are some that I like:
State (pricey, but you’re contributing to a good cause)

Must Haves

Kids get messy. Pack extra clothes!! Down to the shoes, cause let me tell ya those suckers get muddy, full of mulch, peed on, thrown up on, painted, slime, you name it. Most classrooms will have a cubby for you to store all of your kid’s stuff, so you can leave it in there along with extra diapers or undies. I leave a couple of plastic bags in case anything gets wet (always) and needs to be sent home to wash (always).

Labels

I swear by these, especially for water bottles because it’s so easy to move them from one to another while I wash them. Inchbug is also local to Austin. It’s also a way to not write with sharpie all over your kid’s stuff (no judgements to those who do) or putting sticky labels that might come off.