The first day of school is one of those landmark events in your child’s life, so it’s only normal that you’ll be having a lot of feelings about it. Maybe the thought makes you a bit teary, or maybe you’re planning to hotfoot it out of the classroom on day one, yelling ‘good luck’ to the teacher over your shoulder. We’re all different.
However you’re feeling about it, it’s good to be prepared. You’ve probably already bought everything on the uniform list, and you might have started gathering stationery supplies, but it can be difficult to know what else you need to think about.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a few survival tips for parents to help you get through those first few weeks:
The school years can seem like an endless cycle of notes, letters and permission slips. Start as you mean to go on and designate a place for everything school related, so when you’re doing the last-minute rummage for a letter about trumpet lessons you know you needed to return, you’ll know exactly where to look. A box file is perfect for this, and you can use the tabs to separate documents by type.
However, if you’re the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ type, filing letters away might make you forget they ever existed. Don’t worry, there’s a different solution which might work for you. Put a magnetic whiteboard up in a busy place in your house. The hallway or kitchen works well. Use the whiteboard to write on the schedule for the week every Sunday evening – you can add in things like swimming lessons and school trips to really help you keep track of everything. Then use the magnets to keep track of letters and slips, right where you can see them. If there’s space, you can also display those works of art they’re bound to start bringing home. Sorted!
If you’re a working parent, you’ll already be used to getting the whole family ready and out of the door, but school can add an extra level of challenge to your mornings. Lay out their uniform the night before, along with any PE kit or anything they’ll need for activities on that day.
Think about you, too. If you’re always rushing around in the mornings, your kids will copy your behaviour. Save them from a lifetime of lateness by making your lunch and choosing an outfit before you go to bed. Pick up our outfit organiser to help save precious minutes in the mornings.
Label their stuff
Sewing name labels onto tiny clothes seems like such a lovely idea until you realise exactly how much time that’s going to take. Most schools will ask that everything be labelled with their name, so when you gather together a week’s worth of shirts, jumpers, cardigans, trousers, skirts, tights and socks, plus any PE kit they’ll need, it quickly adds up. Not to mention that kids constantly wreck or lose their stuff, and seem to grow out of things at least once a term!
Save yourself the time and hassle and just write their name on the label with a laundry marker or permanent marker, which you can also use to label shoes, bags and lunchboxes.
Stock up on stain removers
Ask them what they’ve done all day and nine times out of ten they’ll say ‘nothing’. But don’t worry, their previously pristine school shirt should give you all the clues you need to pull the full story together.
Top up the medicine cabinet
The beginning of school means the beginning of germs. If your little one’s been in nursery you’ll be no stranger to the bugs they pick up there, but if they haven’t, brace yourself. Their fledgling immune systems are about to face an onslaught. Keep paracetamol suspension, vapour rub, nit spray and all other baby medicine in. You’re going to need it.
Also tissues. Send them with tissues. Their teachers and the sleeves of their uniforms will thank you.
Take a home time snack
It’s always worth taking a snack and drink when you pick them up at the end of the day. All that learning is hungry work, so taking a pack up to the school gate is going to earn you some major parent points.
Choose low-mess snacks like apples, raisins or grapes if you’re driving, unless you want to be hoovering crumbs out of your seats until the end of time.
We hope that helps you feel a bit more ready for the big day. Good luck to you and your little ones!
Find your essential back to school supplies at wilko.com.