The back-to-school season is starting earlier than ever this year, and many parents have already taken steps to prepare for the fall. A new survey of 2,000 American parents with children ages 3 to 13 found the average respondent began planning for fall 2021 on June 19. Typically, it takes 29 days from the end of one school year to begin prepping for the next — but 68% of parents are thinking about fall 2021 earlier than they would in a normal year. For those respondents, they started planning for the back-to-school season almost three weeks sooner than they would have before the pandemic. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Contigo, the study found that summer has been cut short with the back-to-school season starting earlier than ever. Seven in 10 (71%) parents surveyed have already taken steps to prepare to send their children back to school in the fall. Of those, 82% said this summer feels shorter than ever. The survey delved into the reasons why parents are prepping so early — in addition to ongoing concerns surrounding the pandemic, and the results found 28% feel like it'll be more difficult to get into a "normal" routine after this past year. Several of the top reasons also related to back-to-school shopping, such as the three in 10 who are worried about back-to-school items selling out more quickly this year. Not only that, but there's also more shopping for many parents this year — 44% said they have a longer back-to-school list than in previous years. What's new on their list this year? In a typical year, parents have about 10 items on their child's back-to-school list, but 2021 will see an additional five items added to the list: hand sanitizer, masks, disposable gloves, anti-bacterial spray and a reusable water bottle. "Our priority this back-to-school season is to provide parents with tools to make them feel confident in their kids' transition to in-person learning, no matter when they do their shopping," said Reggie Moore, Vice President and General Manager for Beverage in the Outdoor and Recreation Business Unit at Newell Brands. "The back-to-school shopping list looks different this year — with items like reusable water bottles becoming a necessity — but parents' overarching goal is the same as ever: making sure their child has everything they need for a successful school year. "When it comes to choosing a water bottle for the school year, we'd recommend one that's easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, and one that's spill-proof, so there are no water-stained projects during the hustle and bustle to and from school." When it comes to the 2021 back-to-school shopping list, 43% are using a list of their own creation — compared to three in 10 who are using a list from school and 27% who combine the two. The top items on parent's back-to-school list this year include hand sanitizer and masks, both tied at 67%, and disposable gloves (51%). That's in addition to anti-bacterial spray for desks or other shared surfaces (48%) and a reusable water bottle (43%). "We have been inspired daily by the efforts parents are taking to keep their children prepared in today's school environments. As parents are building their shopping lists, it's important to find a water bottle that's dishwasher safe and designed to ensure dirt and grime don't build up. Our kids water bottles contain no-spill technology that prevents spills even when the bottle is held upside down. Combine that with your child's name on a label, and you have a bottle you can trust for the school year," added Moore.
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