Help Your Kids Pack Their School Bags: Top Tips and PDF Checklist


  1. How to best pack school bags for primary school
  2. How to best pack school bags for secondary school
  3. Help your child be organised: PDF school bag checklist
  4. School bag FAQs

The start of a new school term can bring on a mixed bag of feelings: excitement to see friends; nervousness about scary teachers; uneasiness about schoolwork, and enthusiasm for a fresh start.

Dealing with all those emotions at the same time might make your child feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to going back to school, so why not lend them a helping hand in getting at least one thing sorted: their school bag?

We’ve got some super-useful tips for how to best pack your kid’s school bag so that they can start the term off with ease and continue to stay organised throughout the year. 🎒

kid school bag

How to best pack school bags for primary school


These are our main tips to help your child pack their school bag with ease 😀


1. Time for a refresh

If you’re opting to use the same school bag from before summer, it might need a little clean-out. Remove all the contents and ask your child to help you separate what’s needed, and what’s not.

Put all rubbish in the bin and give the bag a shake in the garden or over the kitchen sink to get rid of small bits and crumbs. 


2. Needs and wants

Once all the contents from the school bag are out, sort them into two piles: needs and wants. The list of things your child needs will look a little like this:

  • Essential stationery (check pens are all working, pencils are sharpened, and rubbers are clean)
  • Pencil case
  • Notebooks, schoolbooks, and homework planner
  • Folders
  • Calculator
  • Lunchbox

Once the essentials have been established, ask your child what they’d like to take. They might have a favourite set of pens, markers, or other art supplies, or they might want to take their mobile phone to reach you. 📱

Make sure the things they want to pack are sensible and are unlikely to bring on any problems for back to school.


3. Balance the weight

School bags can get heavy, so make life easier for your child by packing heavier items low in the bag and close to the back. Adjust the straps so that the bag is resting snugly against your child’s body.

Smaller and lighter items can go in the bag’s pockets and compartments meaning they’re less likely to get lost or crushed in the main bag area. 💁

Download Your Checklist PDF


How to best pack school bags for secondary school


Children are expected to be gradually more responsible learners in secondary school and that is reflected on what they need to pack their school bags.


1. Be organised

Staying on top of a busy secondary school timetable is tough; help your tweens and teens tackle any back-to-school anxiety by packing their books in order. This way, they won’t waste any time looking for books at the start of a lesson. 📚

2. Paper prep

Loose worksheets and endless pages of class notes should always be kept tidy in folders, organised by subject and, if possible, by date. Not only will this keep the pieces of paper in good condition, but your child will be able to access exactly what they need for homework and exam revision. 📜


3. More energy means more focus

Maximise your child’s focus throughout the day by making sure they pack a water bottle and healthy, on-the-go snacks.

Pieces of fruit should be kept in plastic tubs to avoid unnecessary messy situations. Nuts are also great energy boosters, as is hummus with carrot sticks or a delicious slice of flapjack. 🥜

Download Your Checklist PDF


Help your child be organised: PDF school bag checklist


Lists make everything easier, right? For the ultimate school bag packing session, we’ve prepared a checklist that you can tick off as you go along. Do this with your child so that they can see what’s going inside their bag and remember what they need each day. 🧠

Download Your To-Do List PDF


School bag FAQs


Here are some answers to common questions about school bags. 💬


What is the recommended school bag weight for kids?

According to the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists, a child’s school bag shouldn’t exceed 10% of their body weight. And to avoid unnecessary back pain, kids should wear both straps of their rucksacks as opposed to having one strap suspended from one shoulder.


Are tote and messenger bags good for school?

Tote and messenger bags tend to rely on one shoulder taking all the weight, meaning that your child might lean to one side to carry their bag. This can lead to lower and upper back pain, as well as a strain on their shoulders and neck.

It’s best to opt for a backpack or rucksack because, when worn correctly, they distribute the weight more evenly. Check with your child’s doctor or family GP for professional and tailored advice.


How to wash school bags in the washing machine

It’s often recommended that backpacks shouldn’t be put in a washing machine because fastening hardware like zippers might get damaged, colours might fade, and any water-repellent covering might be destroyed. Therefore, handwashing the bag with lukewarm water and gentle soap might be your best option.

However, handwashing can be time-consuming so if a washing machine is your preferred choice, make sure to set your machine to a gentle wash and put the bag in a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase before you put it in the drum.

If you want your child to brush up on their knowledge after the summer holidays in preparation for a new school year, our excellent tutors are here to help out! Book a free trial lesson with GoStudent today and let the learning begin. ✨