Oh September! The time for fresh new beginnings and the excitement of going back to school; not to mention shopping for all of those new school year essentials!
F Scott Fitzgerald once said that ‘life begins all over again when it gets crisp in the fall’ and I’ve always felt that was true. Not only does the new school year start in September, but it also heralds the start of the new season and all the joys of Autumn. The month has a vibe of new beginnings.
One new beginning you might be facing is your child starting school – an emotional and difficult time for most of us parents, but also a time of excitement. I was completely overwhelmed when Lily started school; there were so many things to do and buy and prepare and I forgot about a fair few items too. She’s now about to go into year three and so I *think* I’ve got the back to school prep all figured out now!
If your child is starting school for the first time you might not know where to start, so this list may come in handy. And if you are a bit more experienced with school prep you might find it useful to have a checklist to tick off items against.
This is a pretty obvious one if your child will be attending a uniform-wearing school. It’s important to make sure that you get enough of the uniform to last the term. Particularly as you will find it tough purchasing additional pieces in the shops after September.
I purchase at least five school shirts/blouses for Lily at the start of the school year – uniform gets dirty and damaged so quickly. It’s easy to underestimate how many pieces they will actually go through!
The first year that Lily went to school I bought all of the official school uniform from her school’s preferred supplier however it cost me a fortune and her school cardigans had gone missing within a couple of months. I just can’t justify that kind of expense and so I now buy all of her uniform from Asda – it’s so much cheaper and is really good quality.
As well as the regular shirts/cardigans and pinafores you need to remember to pick up the right PE kit. Lily’s PE kit changes every term as some terms they take swimming lessons, others they do outdoor athletics etc. Plimsolls and shiny new school shoes plus plenty of vests and tights always make their way into my basket. I find that either Clarkes or Marks and Spencers are the best place to go for long-lasting, good quality school shoes.
A high-quality coat is a must-have! I love the 3-season Storm coat from Muddy Puddles. It is a real versatile piece and suitable for all seasons.
Don’t forget to make sure that you label all of your kid’s school uniform. It’s so easy for pieces to get misplaced and for other kids to pick pieces up by accident. Of course having them named doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get lost pieces back but it does make it easier!
I order ours from MyNameTags – I tend to get the iron on ones as I’m a bit nervous about using the stickers just in case they come off in the wash!
If your child has a packed lunch then you will definitely need a nice lunch box to transport it in. I use these Sistema lunch boxes with the various compartments as I like being able to separate the types of food. One of these, a water bottle, an ice pack and a brightly coloured lunch bag and you are good to go! I also add a small packet of hand wipes to Lily’s lunch bag so she can clean her face and hands quickly and easily after eating.
Lily’s school insist on us using the official school bookbags with their logo on. Lily would, of course, much prefer a fun bag to take with her so I do let her choose a fun rucksack for her PE kit to go in. This starry one from Accessorize would be a popular choice of bag I’m sure! If your child is doing swimming lessons remember to buy a bag big enough for their towels and waterproof too!
Depending on the school you may be expected to provide stationery for your child to use. Lily likes to pick herself a pencil case, notepad and some pens (usually impractical sparkly scented ones!). I also make sure she has lots of normal writing pens and pencils to hand. A rubber, sharpener and ruler are great additions – although do expect them to get lost!
Something like this Staedtler 31-piece set from Tesco is more than enough for your child’s pencil case.
By the time the bell rings to signal the end of the day your kids will be ‘Staaaaaarving mum’. Whenever I get to do pick-up (not often as I work full time) I make sure I have snacks in my bag. Usually some fruit, raisins or crackers and a bottle of water.
Obviously not for the kids – but trust me after a week of attempting to get them out of the door and in on time. Asking them how their day was or what they got up to, only to get the replies ‘Ok’ and ‘I can’t remember’ you will be grateful for this addition to my list!
Have I missed anything you would say is an essential for the back-to-school checklist?