- Labelling clothes. OK, it might be a bit late in the day to tell you this now, but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind for any forgotten piece of kit (and there will always be one!). You can get lovely sew on labels (very time consuming!) or iron on labels (which will undoubtably come off when you least expect them too), or as an alternative there are some great stickers which you can customise and stick onto everything! However, there is something I have found which is even better! Sharpies!! Bear in mind that everyone’s PE kit and jumpers look the same – so I decided to label all of the kids clothes on the collar and on the waistbands with their names in black capital letters using a sharpie. There was no way they could miss seeing it, they didn’t have to search for a tiny label and the teachers could find it easily! It worked like a charm and I labelled every item of clothes using this method!
- Keeping track of everything that happens in schools is hard. They are pretty good at sending out diary lists but there is always something else that is happening. So make sure you have looked in depth at the school website, seen if there is a blog for your class, and made sure you know when/if the newsletter is sent out (normally by email these days!) and where to go to get copies of any letters which have gone missing!
- PE kits can be the bane of any parents life. However, in Reception and even up to Year 2, it can be pretty easy. Pack your child’s PE kit on day 1 and send it in…then forget about it until half term. They will only wear it for an hour or so (if that) a week and it doesn’t tend to get dirty, so leave it in school each half term, and wash it over the holidays before returning it (it’s also worth checking at that point if any of it has become too small!!)
- Reading books! No matter what year your child is going into, there will be reading books sent home. Reception tend to be pretty good about letting you know when they are sending it home and when it is due back in – but you’ll be surprised at how easily a school reading book ends up on the bookshelves at home not to be found again until said child is in Year 6! So the easiest thing I have found it to use the book bag as it’s storage bag. Take it out, read it, and then immediately put it back into the bag – turns out it’s much harder to lose a bag than a book (although not impossible – believe me!!)
- Winter is coming! I know it’s still warm outside but it won’t be long until the bite of autumn and winter is in the air and you will want to be sending them in with hats, scarves and gloves. My only piece of advice here is – never ever ever send in the favourite scarf, or the football hat that is precious. You can guarantee that something will go missing at some point (no matter how diligently you label the clothes) so alway send in the least favourite of everything – then if it gets dunked in the water tray followed by the sand tray, your little one won’t mind so much! (You might on the other hand, when you have to empty their child seat of an entire beach of sand!)
- Socks! Oh my goodness the painful times we have with socks! You have probably been asked already (or certainly will be asked during the Home Visit the school will do) whether your child can put their own socks on. And of course we will say yes – and then panic afterwards! It’s not that they can’t, it’s just that socks are possibly the trickiest piece of clothing ever! So my hack is…buy socks the next size up! They might not look great but your child will be happy at being able to get them on themselves!
- This one is for the parents of girls. Particularly the girls who have decided they absolutely must have patent shoes because they are so shiny! I absolutely get that, but I also hated the fact that the patent was scrapped off them within days. So….clear nail varnish! Coat the toes with a layer or two of clear nail varnish – and you’re done! Scuff proof shoes (at least for a while!)
Sending your child to school for the first time is a huge step. That first day looms large in your mind! You’ve spent the summer thinking about whether they will cope with such a long day, whether they will make friends and whether you are going to cry as you watch them enter the big world without you by their side. But soon they will have had their first day and the relentlessness of the school year will be all consuming. Have they got their book bags? How can they have had two shoes on Friday but only one come Monday morning? How on earth can one small person go through so many pairs of trousers – don’t they have chairs in their classroom? And so it goes on. However, don’t despair, there are several hacks you can use to make life just that little bit easier!