Every parent has a horror story about that never-to-be-forgotten back to school experience. You’ve left it a bit late to buy school uniform, all the shops have run out of notebooks and you totally forgot about that summer science project. What follows is a frantic and frazzled whiz round the shops, scavenging the remaining polo shirts and notebooks before being told they’re the wrong colour and totally uncool.
Perhaps it’s time for something different. This year, how about trying to get sorted before summer, so you can sit back and let other people rush madly round the shops?
Here are some tips to help you get your school stuff together before school’s out.
It’s more than likely that your child will have a project (or two) to do over summer, particularly if they are coming up to their GCSEs. Make sure you’re aware if they do – ask tutors or the school if your child isn’t forthcoming – and talk to them about it. Ask what they’re really interested in or might like to learn about, and think of some fun activities based on those subjects. Pinterest and Instagram are full of creative ideas for kids, or pop over to your local library and see what they have on. By taking an interest early on in their projects, they’re more likely to feel prepared and perhaps even enjoy doing their homework over the summer holiday.
There’s a tendency to avoid buying school uniform for the new term before the end of the summer holiday because the assumption is that children will shoot up over the break and nothing will fit. However, children don’t grow any faster during summer than any other time of year – it just depends on what their age is and whether they are going through a growth spurt. Some uniform items, like jumpers and blazers, can be bought ahead of time and ‘grown into’. With other items, like shirts or trousers, you can regularly measure your child over the summer months and then buy school uniform online closer to September, saving you time and hassle.
Who doesn’t love buying stationery? Well, any parent who has a picky kid to please! Rather than wait until the last minute to get the school stationery sorted, buy it up early – either one of their favourite characters or colours, or go plain and have a customisation session so they can decorate notebooks or pencil cases themselves. You can also do this with school bags, perhaps buying simple items ahead of time and then getting your kids to personalise zip tags or key chains as a fun, creative activity.
Stationery is a good item to bulk buy, helping you save money and ensuring there’s always a steady supply of the right kit in the house. For specialist stationery, like art supplies or maths equipment, try buying online to get it sorted ahead of time. And to stop them using it all before summer starts, keep it tucked away and share it with them a week or so before term begins.
And for everything else…
For all those things you know you’ll need to buy in person, or nearer the start of school, plan ahead and make it into a fun date. Pick the day with your kids, get it in the diary and turn it into an outing that combines the practical – such as trying on school shoes – with something fun, like a visit to the cinema or favourite café. Getting it in the diary early and making it something to look forward to will ensure when the day comes, there aren’t that many complaints – and you might even enjoy yourself too.
The back to school period should be an exciting adventure for your kids, and as stress-free as possible for you. Getting just a few things sorted before summer, from bulk buying stationery to buying school uniform online, can help make that happen.