Okay, parents, there’s no more denying it: Back to school time is here, or will be here shortly, for our kiddos. Chances are high that you’ve started or even completed any back-to-school shopping you planned to do. On our list this year for my older son was a new backpack, shoes, some fall pants and long-sleeved shirts, and socks. For my younger son, who has the biggest wardrobe in the history of two-year-old boys thanks to hand-me-downs from his older bro and some adorable items from his grandmas, he needed only shoes and a fall jacket. I shopped the sales, took advantage of tax-free week, and only ended up spending around $200 total. So, you can imagine I was shocked to read that the average amount parents spend on back-to-school purchases is $635 per child. I immediately thought, “Well sure, maybe college-aged kids, if their parents are paying for textbooks….” but no!  Back-to-college spending averages out at $837 per child!

I asked around to some of my mom friends to see what their thoughts were. The consensus was that this number only seemed outrageous because our kids were all fairly young. Older kids are more concerned with brands and trends. My four year old is quite happy in his Oshkosh track pants and sale jeans ($7! I got Gap Kids jeans for seven dollars, folks!) and, so far, doesn’t care if the track pants are a “babyish” brand or if the jeans are “last year’s denim color”. Older kids do care. I don’t want to raise kids who think brands and looks and style are the be-all and end-all of life, but I also don’t want them to feel like outcasts. My mother may or may not have forced me to wear pleated Brooks Brothers khakis my freshman year of high school, and I may or may not still remember the horror of those pants (I’m talking to you, Mom!). 😉

However, this made me start to think about the fact that more CT schools are starting to require uniforms. When I was in school, uniforms in public schools weren’t that common. I suppose if you’d asked 15 year old me if I wanted a uniform, I would have protested about individuality and freedom of expression. But looking back, it might have been kind of nice. I spent a lot of time worrying about what I was wearing, how to afford better “cooler” brands, and fretting that people would notice that I was a maxxinista before that was a “thing.” Would uniforms have allowed me to be a little less stressed? Would they prevent some of the cliquey behavior that goes on in classrooms? Perhaps.

Does your child’s school have a uniform policy? Do you love it, hate it, or are you somewhere in the middle?


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