Your kid comes home on the first day upset that her backpack isn't cool enough.
You might be tempted to send your child off with a plain blue backpack (the sturdy one that you like, without a bunch of silly bells and whistles), but folks, your kid's not in preschool anymore. It's important to let elementary-schoolers pick out the gear on their class supply list -- even down to things like notebooks and pencils -- within reason. Why? "Kids at this age want to fit in; that's what makes them feel secure," says Barbara Micucci, an elementary-school counselor in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
If you did let your child pick out her backpack, and now she's unhappy with her choice, ask her to explain why. If she simply decided she wants a purple one instead of red, you may want to stand your ground, reiterating that she loves red and that's why she chose it. But if there's a larger issue that relates to school -- for instance, if the bag doesn't have a special pocket for her water bottle like everyone else's -- tell her you'll think about it. The whole thing may blow over after a few days, but if it continues to bother your kid, it's probably worth compromising.