When it comes to back to school labeling, there are two questions to consider: 1) What should I label? 2) How should I label? Let’s first tackle the “what.” School supplies are probably the first thing that comes to mind: notebooks, folders, pencil cases, and binders. But think about all of those times when your kids came home from school without their jacket or mixed up their lunch bag with a classmate’s. Even the things that your kids haven’t lost yet predict that they will: sports equipment, shoes, water bottles, food containers, stuffed animals, backpacks, and more. Labels also serve the function of letting others know something about your children, such as allergies or medical conditions.
Now on to the “how.” Every parent is different, so when it comes to labeling, there’s a labeling mechanism for each parent-personality. Are you a parent on a budget? Do you have two or more kids? Are you obsessed with mom hacks/dad hacks? We’ve got a labeling method for every parent, complete with ideas for what to label. Just as no parent is the same, no child is the same, so every process involves customization, whether it’s designing your labels online or writing in different Sharpie colors. In our back to school labels guide, we’ll uncover many answers to the question of how to label!
There’s one more bonus question: the “why.” Why is labeling so important? There’s the obvious answer — labeling stops your kids from losing things — but labels serve many other purposes. First, they prevent germs from spreading. While your little one may not have lost their lunch bag or water bottle, they could have mixed it up with someone else’s in the classroom. Labels let everyone know whose item it is so that other hands aren’t touching it by accident. Especially in a close-quarters class of young kids, germs spread fast, so keep your kids healthy by labeling. Next, labels provide comfort for parents in knowing that all of their child’s belongings are safe. No need to worry if your kids will come home with the new pencil cases you bought for them! Another comfort for parents is that the labels are a real money saver. Sure, you spend money on the labels themselves, but those labels prevent your kids from losing more expensive items. Last, but certainly not least, labels are a real confidence booster for kids. Seeing their name on their items provides little ones with a sense of ownership. They have all of the school-related materials they need, labeled with their favorite colors or icons, to tackle the school day. When kids come home with everything that they left within the morning and receive praise from their parents, they develop more confidence in themselves and gain independence and responsibility.
Let’s dive into the many ways to label, categorized by parent personalities in our back to school labeling guide! And if you’re looking for a new backpack for your little one, check out our backpack guide.
Minted: For the Instagrammer, Aesthetically-Conscious Parent
Minted offers stylish clothing and name labels for your back to school needs. As for clothing labels, peel and stick the label to care tags, not the actual fabric! Minted labels are great for labeling coats and jackets that kids take off when they get to school or your little one’s favorite stuffed animal that they bring to daycare. In addition to clothing labels, Minted offers labels for notebooks, bottles, food containers, toys, sports equipment, lunch boxes, pencil cases, and more. All Minted labels are dishwasher safe, waterproof, laundry safe, and non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about the labels wearing down. Minted offers a variety of designs. After choosing a design, you get to personalize your label with the color and text. On average, Minted labels are 67 cents each, and the smallest number of labels you can purchase is 30 (30 for $20). For the parent who’s looking for durable, yet aesthetically-pleasing labels, Minted is the place to shop. The labels are Instagram-friendly with plenty of customizable options! $20 to $160. minted.com
Sharpies: For the Parent on a Budget
For the parent who believes in labeling, but doesn’t necessarily care about the design or aesthetic of the label (as long as it gets the job done!), Sharpies are the way to go. You can still get creative by buying a pack of multi-colored Sharpies. There are many styles of Sharpies available: fine point, extra fine point, retractable, metallic, neon, mini, twin tip, brush, and many more. The Sharpie possibilities are endless! Write directly onto your kid’s notebooks, folders, and clothing tags. $6.99, target.com
Avery Clothing Labels: For the Parent on a Budget Part 2
Avery No-Iron Clothing and Customize Labels go along with Sharpies. They’re great for t-shirts, baby and kids’ clothing, caps, coats, backpacks, sweatshirts, and more. Just write on the labels with permanent marker (that’s where Sharpies come in), peel, and stick it directly onto the fabric. The no-iron are available in an of 45 labels of assorted shapes & sizes for only $8.32.avery.com.
Another affordable label option from Avery is Avery Durable Labels for Kids’ Gear provide another perfect solution for easy labeling. The labels are dishwasher and microwave oven safe, making them great for labeling lunchbox items, sippy cups, water bottles, thermoses, and more. Simply peel and stick the labels onto your kid’s school gear. Now, here’s where the fun part comes in: if you’re really on a tight schedule and your kids are of elementary school age or older, why not let them make their own labels? Lay down a garbage bag on the table and bring out the permanent markers. They can design their labels any way they want, with their name, doodles, and colors. Kids will love the feeling of independence, and every day they’ll get to see their mini-masterpieces on their school gear. But proceed with caution: as these are permanent markers (permanent markers are best for these labels), make sure that you completely cover the surface that your kids are working on. Parental supervision is definitely recommended. Also, make sure that your kids are old enough to handle permanent markers. If not, the Avery Durable Labels for Kids’ Gear are still quick & straightforward to do yourself! $4.19, amazon
Washi Tape: For the Crafty Parent
For the parent who jumps at any opportunity to get crafty and creative, Washi Tape is for you! Washi Tape comes in a variety of colors and patterns, so you can pick out your kid’s favorite color. Cut strips from the Washi Tape and stick them right onto pencil cases, water bottles, folders, clothing tags, and more! You can get very creative with Washi Tape, as you don’t have to stick with the strip. Create shapes such as hearts and squares, or write out your kid’s name in Washi Tape. A bit more time consuming than buying a label, but if you have some time on your hands and are in a crafty mood, give it a try! Worst case scenario and it doesn’t work out, Washi Tape is easy to remove with no damage to the back to school item you stuck it to. $6 to $18, amazon.com
Name Bubbles: For the Parent Who Cares About Giving Back When Shopping
Name Bubbles partners with Blessings in a Backpack to help raise money to provide food on the weekend for grade school children in the U.S. $1 from every school pack product purchased goes to Blessings in a Backpack! Name Bubbles has school packs for kindergarten, preschool, school, college, and sports, so you have plenty of options to choose from, tailored to your kid’s age. The packs come with labels for school supplies and clothing, and you choose whether the clothing labels are for clothing care tags or tagless clothing. You get to also choose the style, including animals, food, icons, patterns, font, and text. The nice thing about the packs is that you get labels for various uses, but all within the same theme! Labels are also dishwater safe, freezer safe, microwave safe, and waterproof. If you’re looking for stylish labels that also contribute to a great cause, Name Bubbles is for you. $10 to $40, namebubbles.com
School Mega Pack at Stickerkid: For the "Best Value" Oriented Parent
Are you always looking for the best deal — the one in which you get the absolute most for your money? If so, the School Mega Pack from Stickerkid is perfect. You get 32 large labels, 14 shoe labels, 120 small name labels, ad 48 clothes name labels, for a total of 214 labels! Label shoes, pencils, notebooks, pencil cases, scissors, folders, clothes, and more with this ultimate pack. Customize each label type with the color, text, and icon. The whole pack costs $49.95, which is quite the deal for all of these personalized labels. $16 to 40, stickerkid.com
Mabel's Labels: The Labels of all Kid Labels
Mabel’s Labels were started years back when a group of mothers frustrated by the lost items their kids seem to ‘misplace’ every year hit a tipping point. Knowing they could do better than scribbling down names on masking tape they started Mabel’s Labels. We have personally used the labels and appreciate that they are durable, laundry, and dishwater safe. We have seen hand me downs that have passed 3 kids in the family that are now on to a 4th child, and the labels are going strong a decade in! The combo label packs are a great value – lasting the entire school year and then some- we especially love the preschool pack for kids starting their first school year! $17 to 42, mabelslabels.com
Sticky Monkey Labels: For the Safety-Concerned Parent
Kids, especially preschoolers and kindergarten students, can’t always speak up for themselves, and they shouldn’t have to! While schools certainly take note of allergies and medical conditions, it doesn’t hurt to have another reminder. Sticky Monkey offers safety labels for allergies, medical alerts, car seat safety, and emergency contact. Label lunch boxes and bottles with allergy alerts, which lets other kids and teachers know of your kid’s allergy in a cute and creative way. If your child is diabetic, autistic, asthmatic, or carries an EpiPen, make sure that others are aware by sticking a label on their backpack, medical devices, or medications. Safety should always be a priority, whether your kids have allergies/medical conditions or not, which is why Sticky Monkey also offers car seat safety and emergency contact labels. If it’s the first time you’re sending your little one off to school, the safety labels will likely also make you feel more comfortable, knowing that your child is safe in case of an emergency. $4 and up, stickeymonkey.com
Twin and Triplet Value Packs at Kiddo Tags: For the Parent With Two or More Kids
If you have two or more kids, you could buy one value pack, but the problem is, kids are picky. They each have their favorite colors, animals, and shapes, so they’re not going to want the same labels. Besides, you want to customize the labels with their names, so one value pack for multiple kids won’t do. Thankfully, Kiddo Tags has Twin and Triplet Value Packs that allow you to design two or three different Value Packs for a lower price. The Triplet Value Pack comes with 450 labels (150 pieces each), of all shapes and sizes to fit many different purposes for $94.99. The Value Twin Pack includes 300 labels (150 pieces each) for $59.99. For both packs, you get to customize the character, color, text, and font for each child, so everyone’s happy and ready to tackle another day at school! $16 and up, kiddotags.com
Fun Label's for Older Kids: Kidecal Labels
You will know this as a parent when it happens. You lose control of the school supply and clothing aesthetic. You can hold your ground or you can choose your battles as this is a small one to give in to in the scheme of things. So why not give your child the labels that they will be happy to have on their belongings? Kidecal labels are fun and come in an eclectic range of designs that we guarantee you will find a label that your child (and you!) will love. Ther are even keyboard stickers for the computer! $19 and up, kidecals.com