Back to school season is stressful for parents of children of all ages. There are a multitude of questions spanning a variety of topics which arise during this time. So, to try and make the transition easier, we have compiled answers to Google’s most frequently asked questions on the subject of going back to school to save parents’ valuable time.
1. When do schools go back?
If your child’s term dates aren’t listed on their school’s website, you can find their school term, half-term, and holiday dates on your local council’s website. The quickest way to do this is by visiting the Government’s dedicated portal and inputting your postcode.
2. How do you prepare a child for school?
Starting school for the first time or even going back to school after the summer holidays can be daunting for a child. To help ease pre-term nerves, try casually bringing school into conversation at a time when your child is comfortable, relaxed, and likely to be most open with you. Ask them what they are looking forward to, what they are excited to learn about, and whether they’re excited to see their friends. As part of this conversation, you can also ask them what they may be unsure about and help reassure them about any specific concerns.
It can also help to find photos of you and other family members at school, and chat about happy memories from your own school days.
Practicing the school morning routine is another good idea to help your child become accustomed to how most mornings will run. Plus, it will reduce the stress for the whole family when term begins, and mornings become busier.
3. What do I pack for my child’s first day of school?
Knowing what to pack for your child’s first day back at school can be tricky, especially if they are going into a new key stage or an entirely new school. The list below is a good place to start:
- Pencil case
- Water bottle
- Pocket packet of tissues
- Snacks for break time
- Hair ties (for children with long hear)
- Weather appropriate clothing e.g., raincoat or sunhat
- Suncream (if it’s a sunny day)
- Any medication they need throughout the day – ensure it is clearly labelled
- PE kit, if needed
Remember the lighter, the better!
4. When should I buy school uniform?
Due to the unpredictability of children’s growth spurts, you should avoid buying your child’s uniform too far in advance. However, you will also want to avoid heading to uniform shops late in the school holidays as this is by far the busiest time of year, with some parents queueing for hours. June is typically a good time to hit the shops in preparation for the next academic year before the summer holiday rush.
5. How much uniform should I buy?
A variety of factors come into play when deciding how many pieces of uniform to buy.
To help decide, you should consider:
- How often you are prepared to wash uniform throughout the week – fewer the washes, the more clothes you’ll need.
- How active your child is and whether they are likely to play outside on the grass.
- How strict your child’s school is on having pristine uniforms.
Once you’ve answered these questions, it should be easier to work out how much uniform you need to invest in. However, we’d recommend a minimum of two complete sets of uniform per child to avoid any stressful overnight turnarounds.
6. How do I measure for school uniform?
If you’re looking to avoid the high street chaos, ordering uniforms online is a great solution. To do this, you will need to measure your child to determine their size.
For a perfectly fitted uniform, you’ll need to measure four key areas: height, chest, waist and hips.
- Height is a relatively straight forward measurement to take. Remember that shoes should be taken off, feet should be flat together, and your child should be stood completely upright. It’s easier to have them stand up against a wall or door frame and measure their height from the tallest point on the crown of their head.
- To measure chest size, place a tape measure under the armpits, and measure the fullest part of the chest, including the shoulder blades.
- To take a waist measurement, wrap the tape measure around the natural waistline which typically the same level as the belly button.
- Measuring hip size by wrapping the tape measure around the fullest part of your child’s hips, ensuring to keep the tape level all the way round.
7. How do I alter school uniform?
Buying a size up is a trick many parents use to avoid their children outgrowing expensive uniforms within a few months due to the unpredictable growth spurts. However, this can result in children having to wear an uncomfortable outfit almost daily. Luckily, there are some ways to temporarily alter a uniform.
For hems that are too long on trousers, skirts, blazers etc., try leaving the excess fabric attached instead of cutting it off, so that you can simply take the hem down as your child grows. Using removable iron-on interfacing and a simple running stitch is a great way to prevent the excess fabric moving around, without permanently altering the clothing.
Many items are also now available with adjustable waist bands, so they can be taken in and let out to accommodate your child’s growth, without the need for you to make any alterations yourself.
8. How do I remove stains from school uniform?
One thing’s for certain, the brand new, pristine uniform seen in all the ‘first day back’ photos on Facebook, won’t stay like that for long. Grass, ink, and mud are all common culprits for uniform stains. Here’s our top tips for getting rid of them:
- Grass – Try making a paste using white vinegar and baking soda. Apply to an old toothbrush and scrub the stain before washing.
- Ink – To remove this stubborn stain, all you’ll need is hairspray and a damp cloth. Spray the stain liberally with the hairspray and use a damp cloth to lightly blot – but do not rub. Repeat as many times as necessary and then wash as normal.
- Mud – Eliminating a mud stain is simple, let the mud dry and scrape off as much as possible before covering it with a paste of washing powder mixed with a little water and letting it sit for 10 minutes. Then wash the item in warm (not hot) water.
9. How do I label school uniform?
Every parent knows that unless every single item their child takes to school is clearly labelled, there’s a high chance it won’t return home at the end of the day.
Labelling no longer has to be a time-consuming task as there are now options available which don’t require a needle and thread. We have an extensive range of iron-on and stick-on name labels available in a variety of fun designs. You can also read our guide to labelling for more top tips.
10. Can I get help with school uniform?
Kitting children out in school uniform is expensive, especially for parents with multiple school-age children, all growing at a considerable rate. But there are initiatives which can help families manage the cost.
One option is to look into your Local Education Authority (LEA) as they may offer support for low-income families.
There are also several online second hand uniform shops, such as, oldschooluniform.co.uk, grownoutofit.co.uk or uniformerly.co.uk. These are a fantastic option for all families as buying second-hand is not only a great way to save money, but it’s better for the environment too.
Facebook is also a good place to check for parent groups of former or current pupils who have outgrown their uniform and are looking for other parents to take items off their hands.
Finally, enquire with your child’s school or have a look on their website to see if they have a second-hand uniform or ‘swap shop’ scheme.
For more back-to-school and labelling advice, read our name stickers for kids post.