Step #2? The Backpack Superlatives. When it comes to backpacks, a simple checklist just isn't realistic. Unlike other containers, backpacks just don't come in that many options. And even though
organizing by STYLE is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, there's tremendous overlap from one style to the next.
And so, in the spirit of yearbook ballots everywhere, and in an effort to simplify this process, I bring you The Backpack Superlatives. With your child's styles in mind, along with lessons learned from last week's endeavors, use the suggestions below to narrow the search.
Least likely to benefit from all those little pockets: Kids with the I know I put it somewhere organizational style. A specific pocket will be the perfect place to store something in the moment, but when it's time to retrieve things, these kiddos struggle to remember which thing is in which pocket. For your sake and theirs, keep the pockets to a minimum. The fewer places they have to search, the more time they'll save.
Most likely to bring home smashed papers, regardless of the system they set up: Kids with the cram and jam organizational style. Their best bet is one big, open space -- the smaller the subdivisions, the more wrinkled the papers. If you can get these kiddos to put all their papers inside one file folder (no pockets) or clip them to a clipboard, you might minimize the damage.
Most likely to benefit from labels and clear pockets: Kids with the I need to see it personal style. Out of sight is out of mind for these kiddos, so anything that enables them to see things that have been put away is a great assist. Roomy backpacks help, too -- they can peek inside and see what's there. (The I know I put it somewhere organizational style is a close runner-up for this category).
Most likely to need subdivisions or more than one backpack: Kids with the I love to be busy personal style. These kids often do best when things are organized by activity, and they may excel at using multiple folders and/or containers to separate things they need for one activity from things they need for another.
Most likely to use a messenger bag: Kids with the drop and run organizational style. Like their cram and jam counterparts, they need one-step, one-stop storage. The easier it is to put it away, the more likely it is to get there.
One last thought before you go shopping. Keep in mind that containers (and backpacks qualify) have three attributes: form, function and style. While all backpacks serve the same function, they're not all created equal in kids' eyes. Giving your kids some leeway on the form (size and physical attributes) and style (aesthetics) will increase the likelihood they'll put that backpack to use.
Not to mention the fact that you're paying for the backpack.
(Yearbook graphic from clipartsheep.org)