Moms of rough and tumble kids, rejoice!
Yes, you heard me right – there is hope if you have a child who gets holes in their brand new shoes by the end of the first month of schools, rips in the knees of every pair of pants they own, and refuses to wear anything that doesn’t make them look like they’re taking batting practice for the Jays or shooting hoops with the Raptors.
THERE. IS. HOPE.
Back to school shopping has historically felt like an exercise in frustration for me. I was spending a lot of money on a lot of shoes and clothes that would be all but destroyed before winter arrived.
My two boys are rough on clothes and even rougher on shoes – actually, I’m being kind…they are the Destroyers of Shoes (D.O.S). [lucky they’re cute!]
I have never in all my years witnessed children who managed to create rips or hole or scuffs so quickly and, quite truthfully, I felt like I was throwing money in the trash every year I purchased their new back to school shoes. That is, until I discovered the secret to making back to school shopping a breeze for moms of D.O.S.
Buy Less, but Buy Quality
I used to go wild purchasing tons of inexpensive clothing and shoes for my boys right before school started…only to be frustrated when shoes came home with massive holes within the first month and those new clothes were ripped and unwearable not long after.
Last year I caved, listened to my husband (I KNOW) and bought the boys quality shoes from Sport Chek. Guess what? BOTH my boys had the same pair of shoes all year long.
ALL. YEAR. LONG.
This year, I am not taking any chances. No, I don’t change my back to school shopping budget, but I do choose quality items that will stand up to the Destroyer of Shoes that I have spawned. What I have learned the hard way is that one pair of quality shoes may cost me a bit more in the short run, but it will save me SO MUCH MONEY in the long run (and headache, and frustration, and trips to the mall too!).
Let Them Choose
Moms, this is a hard one for me. But if you have children who are rough on their clothes, I have found that allowing them to shop for their own outfits makes a huge difference.
You see, when mom mysteriously drops a new t-shirt or pair of sweats in their drawer, it is just another piece of clothing to destroy or lose. But when they choose an item, help purchase it (maybe even with their own money), and get excited about wearing it…that’s when it lasts longer!
It may make no sense, and it may mean that your child ends up with 5 pairs of dark grey sweat pants that they rotate [you will go through the sweat pant phase, I guarantee!], but it will also mean that clothes are better cared for and that is a win!
This leads me to our next tip…
Yes, obviously you already know that online shopping is amazing. But online shopping with kids who can’t stand physically shopping and who will just grab anything and say they like it is truly a game changer. My boys are now old enough to scroll through and add the items they want to our online shopping cart [which I, of course, edit before purchasing!]. In our house, online shopping has eliminated arguments and complaining and helped me stick to a realistic budget!
Even better for you? Stores like SportChek.ca offer online assistance right through FACEBOOK! Confused about sizing? Your kids have a random question about a pair of shoes or a hoodie their friends all have that you can’t seem to find? Ask away right on Facebook and get the answers you need in real time. #gamechanger
Also, when you shop online you can still return items in store, which means a lot to someone who never makes it to her local post office!
Save the Name Brands for Hoodies and Shoes
I know that both of my boys are influenced by the name brands they see their favourite athletes wearing so I understand their natural inclination to name brand everything. However, we all have budgets and name brand everything is often just not a realistic possibility.
The compromise is to save name brands for items that will be seen and used most often – for us that comes down to hoodies (or Bunny Hugs if you’re in the Prairies) and running shoes. This year, both my kids were adamant that they purchase Under Armour shoes – and I was happy to oblige because here’s a secret: I love purchasing brand name hoodies and shoes for my kids as it means they’re going to be wearing quality clothing items that look great (big bonus!) more often. Another win for all!
Don’t Buy Too Much
It’s easy to want to go crazy and buy every single clothing item your kids could ever need or want during the first week of September but resist the urge and slow your roll.
Keep back to school shopping to the essentials (new shoes, new “cool weather” outerwear like hoodies, backpack, and a 1-2 new pairs of pants or shirts as needed) so you have flexibility later on in the year when orange hoodies are no longer cool and baby blue zipper jackets are everything… [I know you know what I mean!].
Keep it simple, keep it quality, keep it fun. The cardinal rules for moms with D.O.S. kids like me!
Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Sport Chek and have received compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own.