For some reason, lots of kids like to fill their schoolbags as if they are going on an expedition to the Antarctic. It may be because they don’t want to devote any more time to school than they have to, or because they think they have the energy to carry everything. Whatever the reason, overstuffed bags can have detrimental effects on children’s backs. Here, we’re going to lay out a few simple but effective tips to lighten the load and make sure your kids don’t take more than they can carry.
Buy the Right Size
The most effective way to limit how much stuff your children carry is to limit the amount that they can carry. Bags come in all shapes and sizes, but the average size seems to increase every year. While your child will probably have a preference for the bag they want, convincing them to choose one on the smaller size will mean that they will be forced to take out any unnecessary items, preventing them from overloading themselves.
Weigh the Bag
Research by the UK charity Backcare found that over 80% of children there carry bags that are about 20% of their own weight. The recommended weight of a schoolbag from this charity is 10% of the child’s body weight, so weigh your child, and their bag, and make sure that the bag doesn’t weigh any more than 15% of them. Teach this method to your child, and it will give them a very straightforward figure to work with, rather than adopting the attitude of taking everything just in case.
Use Multiple Bags
Depending on the extracurricular activities your child is involved in, they may have more than just books and copies to carry. Whether they need sports equipment, extra clothes for P.E., or large instruments for music class, these can add a lot of weight to a bag when they are, for the most part, unnecessary. Using multiple bags means that these items will only be carried on days that they are needed. Depending on the kind of lunch your child eats, a separate lunchbox could also help clear room in the bag as well.
Use Smaller Binders
Most schools will use plenty of handouts and loose pages throughout the year. While these are not heavy on their own, they do add up over time, and can make bags heavier than they need to be. With extra-large binders, it is often easier to simply leave the notes from the year before in there, rather than taking out dozens of individual pages. Using smaller binders, colour-coded by subject, will prevent these little things from adding up, and make it easier to keep track of schoolwork.
Empty the Bag Regularly
With so many different things going in and out of schoolbags every day, it doesn’t take long for clutter to build up. Whether it’s loose pages, water bottles, or uneaten snacks, it’s easy for unnecessary items to build up fast. Making a regular time to empty the bag completely and removed items like these will stop clutter building up over time, and will also prevent important documents from getting lost.
Most kids would rather carry around a heavy bag than spend the time organising it, but it can be very damaging, even if the child looks and feels fine. Incorporating these few tips into their routine will make it easy for all of you to keep track of what is being carried, and prevent your child from overloading themselves.