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Pandemic parenting: Your guide to back-to-school shopping

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Pandemic parenting

The pandemic has been hard on everyone but parents are one of the groups facing the most challenges right now. Every situation is different, but many parents are trying to balance working from home with their children learning from home as well, or going through all the ground-work to get their kids prepared for a COVID-19 school year, only to have them potentially shut down again. It’s a lot to navigate.

Whether your kids will be doing remote learning this fall or heading back to the classroom, there’s a lot to consider during this year’s back-to-school season. In this post we’ll look at how to shop safely during the pandemic, products and subscription services that can make your life easier right now, and how to use reviews to make sure you get the right products (and the right prices) as you prepare your family for the new school year.

Shopping during a pandemic

With everything going on right now it’s probably safest to do your shopping online. But in case you’re in a time crunch or that isn’t an option, there are some simple steps you can take to stay as safe as possible while shopping in-person. Some of the easiest ways to protect yourself (and others) are to look into curbside pickup options and to bring as few people with you as possible. This keeps stores less crowded and makes shopping safer for everyone involved.

There is also a pretty large variance in how different retailers are handling COVID-19, so it’s always a great idea to check their reviews on Trustpilot to see if any of the recent reviews include information specific to in-store shopping and whether or not customers felt safe. Chances are, if they’re not promoting a socially distant and safe environment, there will be less-than-happy reviewers sharing their experiences in reviews.

Remote Learning Essentials


Does your child have the right laptop or tablet to spend part of the year learning at home? A quick search can show you tons of different back-to-school deals on these devices, so this is the right time to buy if you think they’ll need one this year. Certain companies also offer student/teacher discounts on top of back-to-school sale prices, so make sure you shop around to find the best deal out there. And if your child is enrolled at a college or university, some schools even have laptop reimbursement programs which are definitely worth investigating.

A laptop purchase is a big one and it’s important to carefully check reviews before making your final purchase. With so many different companies to choose from, there can be a pretty big difference between companies in terms of quality and customer service.

Customer service can be particularly important with tricky warranties and repair policies, so once you find a laptop or tablet you’re interested in, make sure to check the retailer’s Trustpilot page to get a sense of how they treat their customers. This may come in handy if something goes wrong with your new device down the road.

Home office furniture

New office furniture (desks, chairs, lights, etc) may be necessities for you, depending on how your home is currently set-up and how many people will be working or learning from home. Furniture is another area where it’s always absolutely crucial to let reviews help guide your decisions.

When you’re spending a significant amount of money, you want to make sure you’re getting the quality that you’re paying for, especially since there are so many variables that can cause you headaches when it comes to furniture shopping. Will you need to assemble it yourself or have someone assemble it for you? During a pandemic, this can be tricky. Typically someone entering your home to assemble it for you would be ideal, but right now that’s not something many people will feel comfortable with. Some furniture stores may not even offer assembly at the moment. There’s also the question of time and durability. Will the furniture last for many years or wear down quickly?

Reading a company’s reviews gives you the answers to these types of questions. Once you’ve found a few products and retailers you like online, head over to their Trustpilot profile page and see what their customers are saying about them. This will not only help you weed out the bad purchasing experiences, but it will typically give you an idea of which one is best as well. If the furniture company you’re looking into turns out to have disappointing reviews, considering checking our furniture category page for other 4 and 5-star reviewed companies.

Subscription boxes to simplify the back-to-school season

Whether your kids will be learning from home or heading back-to-school, there are a few areas that can always be frustrating as a parent. With the pandemic making life a little crazier, getting a little help from subscription boxes can save you lots of time and bring relief.


One of the most time-consuming parts of the back-to-school season for parents is clothing shopping for their kids. Clothing and shoe subscription boxes can remove this headache and bring the shopping experience to your home. If you’re unfamiliar with apparel subscription boxes, they regularly send you boxes of new clothes, shoes and/or accessories so you don’t have to worry about having something new to wear, and items can be returned or exchanged if they don’t fit your kiddo’s style. Companies like Stitch Fix Kids and kidpik help make sure your kids have new clothes sent to them regularly so that it’s one less thing you need to worry about on your to-do list and your kids regularly have new outfits.

Healthy snacking

Healthy eating is often one of the first things that get dropped when life gets stressful with kids. Sometimes it’s just easier to run through the drive-through or throw them a bag of chips so you can focus on all of the other things you’re juggling as a parent.

With healthy snack subscription services like Simpalo Snacks or SnackNation, you’ll be shipped a new box of healthy snacks at regular intervals, depending on the company and subscription level. Knowing that you already have healthy options on hand that you can feel good about giving your kids - especially for those really hectic days - can really make all of the difference.

Keeping your kids feeling challenged and engaged

Similar to unhealthy snacking guilt is television guilt. If you and/or your partner are both working from home it can be really hard to keep your kids engaged and entertained while you have so much to focus on for your career. But there are some great subscription box companies that can help keep kids engaged and away from screens.

Subscription book companies make it simple for you to build long-term reading habits for your children and turn them into book worms for life. They make selections for you so that you can know they’re getting quality reads without spending hours looking for books or heading to a store.

One example is Bookroo, a service that curates monthly boxes of books for younger readers to get them hooked on reading at a young age and instill a lifelong appreciation for reading. OurShelves selects high-quality books that feature racially diverse, LGBTQ+, and feminist characters and families. You can select how many books you want in each box and every three months they’ll deliver new ones straight to your home.

We’ve all groaned at our friends boasting about picking up new hobbies during quarantine, but this can actually be a great time to introduce your child to a new hobby to keep them occupied and feeling challenged. If you have a more creative child you might want to consider signing them up for something like Kiwico’s Doodle Crate. Doodle Crate gives them crafting materials with each box and teaches them general techniques to help them get started. It gives them enough instruction to know where to start while leaving enough room to foster their own creativity.

Alternatively, companies like Little Passports offer educational activity boxes for kids of all ages that help them learn while playing. Little Passport boxes cover subjects like science, math, geography, world cultures, and music.

Using reviews to guide you through back-to-school shopping

Regardless of which types of products and services you need to get you through back-to-school season this year, reviews are an excellent tool for making sure you’re getting the products you need while being as safe as possible. For any back-to-school needs, reviews are an excellent way to see what other parents and teachers are saying so you know you’re getting the right products for your child’s needs.

It’s also important to leave reviews and share your back-to-school shopping experiences with other parents as well. This way you can help other parents make better purchasing decisions based off of your experiences and we can all work towards a world with ever improved experiences for everyone.

Trustpilot is a review platform that is open to all. The companies and profile pages referenced in this article are provided for informational purposes only and are not recommended, endorsed by, or representative of the views of Trustpilot. The Trustpilot companies linked in this post are expected to abide by Trustpilot’s Guidelines, but have not been reviewed for compliance.


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