The school bag dilemma

This year my girl is on a higher floor. Her books have increased in numbers. There is about half a dozen books for each subject. So we are facing a school bag dilemma.

In the first two years, it was easy. We got her a trolley bag. Since she was on the ground floor that was not a problem. She is still using the same school bag. The bag has removable trolleys so we can switch between trolley and backpack.

My girl said that she would try both trolley as well as backpack to see which was easier to handle.

On the first day, she tried trolley. That was not a problem because there were no books. She came home with her timetable that day. When she was packing her bags for the next day, I took out several workbooks.

As I mentioned, each subject has about 5 or 6 books, 1 textbook, 1 activity book and several workbooks. Oh, and I forgot, exercise books. Each subject has several exercise books being used at the same time too. Since it was only the 2nd day or so I thought, I took out all the workbooks and asked her to bring only the textbook and activity book. In the end, she had extra homework because she could not do some work in school because she did not have the books with them. “Mummy, I have extra homework now because you asked me not to bring the books. Luckily teacher didn’t scold me.”

She dragged her trolley bag up and down the stairs on the 2nd day.

On the 3rd day, having learned a lesson from the 2nd day, we decided to bring all the books for all the subjects required. That made the bag very very heavy. “Mummy, my bag feels like the middle of school, not the start of school” . It didn’t look possible to drag the trolley bag up and down the stairs with such weight.

We tried it at home. We tried carrying it by the handle. It was too heavy. I think the strap is going to give way soon as it looks thin and frayed by now. So we tried carrying it by the trolley handle. It was too heavy. We tried dragging it. It was too heavy. We tried carrying it on our backs. It was too heavy. Even for an adult. At one point the girl said “I found the answer. This is so light. She carried it in front of her by hugging the bag close to her body.”  She was right. It felt the lightest that way but it would mean her bending and lifting that weight up daily which is a no-no.

Finally we took out the trolleys, split the books into another back and told the girl to carry it as a backpack with another smaller hand carried bag to ease the weight off her back. So on the 3rd day, it was backpack with another smaller hand carried bag.

When we went to pick her up after school, she was walking slowly, rubbing her neck and saying “Mummy, my neck very very pain.”

Yesterday, she had BM class. The BM teacher has told them which books to bring on which day. That eases some of the bag load. So today, the 4th day, it is back to the trolleys and dragging it up and down the stairs. She showed me how she was going to do it last night. “Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.” she went up and down the stairs. She has to do it fast as well. There are many kids going up and down the stairs. There is no way she can walk slowly and carefully, hold on to the handrails and carry the bag up carefully step by step.

The other day when we were at school, we stood at the bottom of the staircase and observed the kids. Some of them did this Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang technique. Others carried the loads on their backs doubled over like some grannny. One mum mentioned that she had seen some kids throw the bag down the stairs before running down. I can’t imagine what will happen if that load hits another kid. Another mum, bought extra books for her child to leave in the school so he can have a set at home and a set in school. In the end, I received her hand me down extras. They look brand new, obviously not used very much. I don’t think that is the answer as it causes confusion for the child who may forget to bring homework back home and forget to bring completed work to school.

My girl does not have a locker in school. She is advised to leave her books behind in her desk. However she is reluctant to do that. “Mummy, if I do that, I may forget to bring the book home if I have homework and I will get scolded.”

My girl is tall but she is thin. Some of the other mothers who have small sized girls, shared with me their worry that the bag will topple their girls over at the stairs.

As at the point of writing, we have not resolved our school bag dilemma but for today, it is Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang.

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12 thoughts on “The school bag dilemma

  1. Same issue here and it starts since day 1 (as in Standard 1 till now as the school has no classroom on the ground floor). Many of them to the bang bang bang thing…I wonder how can the bag last.

    Better for the bag to be worn and tattered than for the back to be injured, I am sure you agree.

  2. If she is not a forgetful person, you can teach her how to use book strap. Carry some books by hand.

    I gave her another document bag like a little plastic briefcase to carry some books by hand but the load is still too heavy for her.

  3. When I read your post, I felt sorry for the children who have to struggle each day with the heavy load. By the time they finish school, they will need to visit chiropractors or physiotherapists to correct their spine. Is there any way, the school or govt can provide lockers for the children? I am sure not all books need to be brought home and back to school every day. Hope something is done to help the children.

    Some schools do. However some kids tend to get mixed up about when to bring which books home or simply forgets to bring books home when there is work to be done and some feel terrified about being scolded by teachers for forgetting.

  4. My daughter has to climb 3 floors up to her class. On Wednesday, she has 9 subjects, her bag is very very heavy on that day. I just bought another set of text books and “forced” her to leave only the textbook in school locker. Hope that will reduce some load.

    Yesterday my form 2 niece told me that there is this Nike Air bag which can help heavy load problem…I have yet to check it out.

    I think the bang bang bang idea is not that bad after all. It’s still worth to buy 2-3 bags a year if that can prevent any future “health issue”. Each visit to the doctor is already costing us a school bag…

    Yes, I prefer to change bag than visit the doctor.

  5. I think my niece and nephew change their trolley bags frequently, if I’m not mistaken. They have a small carry bags for the books too.

    My girl carried hers for two years, but now that she is going upstairs, I think I have to change frequently too.

  6. Oh dear oh dear! My girls are very fortunate that their classrooms are on the ground floor. Otherwise, yes… It will be bang bang all the way too. I guess, the best option would be to carry a smaller bag, for exercise books and stationeries.

    Yes, the other day I stood observing the kids and some of them carry a recycle bag, struggled with a heavy bag while struggling to keep the long recycled bag straps on their shoulders. Poor kids.

  7. how about a good backpack with good support of extra buckle around the waist to distribute the weight evenly between the waist and both shoulders…. that’s how backpackers are able to carry their super big abd heavy backpack around…. i m carrying my 12kg girl around with a carrier that has good shoulder and waist support… the same principle can be used in school bag too….

    Yes Linda, it is available. Called impact. Costs $250-350 if I am not mistaken. Imagine paying that amount for a school bag but most parents who are desperate and who can afford it do. We can only try to do our part. Even then, I have yet to hear any parent who is using this bag with a waist harness say that it is a good help. Everyone still complains that it is too heavy. Those Impact bags are not very large because they are built with the idea that the bag is not supposed to be a certain percentage of your body weight.

  8. that BANG BANG BANG method seems scary and what if it topple down if the kid above is not holding it properly?

    now qiqi just started school with a new syllabus, and i am praying hard that they will find ways to ease their bag load.

    My boy is in year 1 too. Your blog helps me so much. I couldn’t understand half of whats being said about the new syllabus but you have nicely translated it for me. 🙂

  9. For such a heavy load, I will still prefer to devide it into 2 bags (1 backpack + 1 hand carry). I see a lot of students doing this.

    Backpack will be easier for them if they need to move up and down staircase.

    In fact, we adult also got difficulty to carry such a heavy bag, not to mention the small kids.

  10. i have 2 girls in primary school. Std 4 and Std 1. What I find is that school bags designed for primary school kids are heavier. They have so many compartments and zips. So I think that makes it heavier. Also This year I bought for my them lighter bags. Also roller bags on it’s own have some weight already.

    So this year I bought them bags like the kids in secondary school use. Helps some. And they also carry two bags. Exercise books in a smaller bag. My older girl’s class in on the 3rd floor too.

    Maybe leaving textbooks in school might not be a bad idea.. 🙂

    I see some of the kids do. They have a whole stack of books under their desks. My girl wouldn’t do it though. She is so afraid of forgetting things so she insists on carrying everything home and bringing the needed books to school again.

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