The Blog by Ellen Wags

a lifestyle blog for real mamas. featuring family-friendly home decor, casual mama style, and stuff to keep your kids entertained. 

Back to School

Kindergarten edition!

I shared on my Instagram stories last week that the back-to-school season has totally snuck up on me. We are officially one week away from the start of kindergarten and three weeks from preschool. WHOA – WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO!?!

As a first time school-age parent, I very well could be doing WAY TO MUCH in the BTS department, but #sorrynotsorry, it’s my baby’s first time at school, so I’m going to make the most of it. I figured I would share a few of the recommended things on our Back-to-School list (thanks to a few IG story polls and my slight inability to NOT over research things) to help with your shopping in case you haven’t started yet.



1) Backpack: large enough for the kindergarten basics, durable enough to last all year. We grabbed this cute colorblock option from State Bags. Other options that were highly recommended – L.L.Bean Original and Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie.

2) A cute lunchbox – I love this Bentgo option, but also grabbed a coordinating State Bags Rodgers Lunch Bag to pair with stashers (yay re-usable option!). We are sending home lunch for Abby, but all kiddos at her school need to bring a snack so you might want to grab a mini-lunch bag like this one from State Bags (Pro tip: get multiple so you have a few in rotation in case it gets left at school or a parent uses for a work lunchbox).

3) Water Bottle with name label – We love these Camelbak kid’s water bottles and to make sure it doesn’t get mixed up at school, I ordered a handful of these Inchbug Orbit Labels to slip around them! We used the Inchbug name labels back when Abby was a baby and needed bottles in the church nursery on Sundays – they last, don’t slip, and can stay on when the cup is run through the dishwasher.

4) SNEAKERS! Truth be told, my girls love to wear “pretty shoes”, but I have already been warned by several veteran parents that sneakers to school are a must. We grabbed a few new pairs to rotate through. My favorite are these from Cienta Kids – the slip on and no laces makes it easy for her to manage independently.

5) Primary Undershorts – Nine times out of ten, Abby will pick a dress as her outfit of the day (fave dresses are definitely from Alice and Ames), I stocked up on these undershorts for coverage.

6) Headphones – on her school supply list and WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THESE BEFORE. Definitely grabbed an extra set for Madelyn. Hello silence, no more listening to the music from their tablets!

7) Blanket – I couldn’t believe it, but apparently there is quiet time in kindergarten and some kids still take naps! Veteran kindergarten parents recommended a throw blanket so it fits in their backpack to take to and from school daily. We are using a Jamie Kay Tassel Blanket that she already loves, but if I was grabbing something new, I love this waffle blanket from Parachute home.

8) I’m listing this last but IT SHOULD BE FIRST. Okay, not really, but is it really the first day of school if you don’t have a cute photo to show for it!?! There are tons of cute prop options for your kid’s first day photos, but I love these first and last day of school flags from Ting Stationary. I used them back when Abby went to preschool two years ago and I knew I was going to grab them for her Kindergarten photos as well.

Also, wanna know the secret to cute first day of school photos? Don’t try to take them on the actual first day of school. Between the first day of school jitters, working out a new morning routine, and (if you live in Alabama), the early morning humidity, staged photos before actually heading to school can be a bit of a disaster. The weekend before, get your adorable kiddo in the outfit they are planning to wear, pick a time of day where they’re not grumpy, and enjoy a much less stressful first day of school photo experience!




Do y’all have any advice for a first time parent of school-aged kids? Drop your advice in the comments below, or let’s chat over on my most recent post on Instagram!

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