An image of a mom and her children, group of children, and school supplies.

The Parents Guide to Back to School 2021

Finally, for real this time, no fooling. Our kids are donning backpacks, lugging lunch boxes, and heading into classrooms five days a week. And because this cathartic moment calls not only for celebration but also for preparation, Parents presents a crash course in getting ready. Our full-to-bursting guide covers every aspect of this transition, from supercool first-day outfits and six of the cutest lunches that ever lunched to helping an anxious kid psych up for the return or a struggling reader play catch-up. As you hold tight to the lessons of that long stint at home—about togetherness and what matters most—try to savor this miraculous occasion: Our kids are back where they ought to be, ready to thrive, grow, and learn. Class is in session!
Optimism Infographic
Credit: By Cheryl Lock, Photograph by Tim Marsella
Credit: Tim Marsella
Backpacks on, lunch packed—and ready to hang with their teachers. | Credit: Paul Thorburn
Credit: Priscilla Gragg
Credit: Jen Causey
Credit: Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Credit: Paul Thorburn

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's September 2021 issue as "We're Back!" Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here