This year has been a big one for back to school shopping. All of a sudden I have three children getting ready for the new term, and only one staying behind at home. It’s going to be so strange to have such an empty house throughout the day, and even stranger to have one child in high school! Actual high school. I could weep for the years that have passed! And with the high school uniform list also came quite an extensive list of stationery and books that were are needed for all year seven pupils, which led me, inevitably, to The Works. I love that shop! We managed to get all the bits we needed and at a fraction of the price too. But I digress. Here are my top five tips on getting ready for back to school with The Works. Hopefully some of these will help you to make the transition a little more easily…
Write a list and break it into chunks
It seems like only five minutes since I was qualifying as a teacher myself, and sending my first born off to her reception class with a heavy heart. Now she has her own key and an iPhone and… and I guess time is moving on. And so must I. And so in my quest to be okay with it all, I decided that I needed to spread out the back to school shopping in the hopes that it won’t hurt too much. One of the best decisions I made was to break up the essentials into chunks, and one of those chunks was high school stationery and books- all purchased at The Works this year. The Big One needed a french and spanish dictionary, 2HB pencils, notebooks, colouring pencils… the list went on. But because I’d made a list for these bits separate from the uniform bits we needed, the entire shop was a lot less daunting than it could have been.
Let them choose
I always find the back to school shopping a whole lot easier if I let the kids have a say in choosing the bits that they need. When it comes to uniform they have to like it or lump it, but when it comes to school bags, notebooks and pencil cases they can make their own mark. The range at The Works is great because its more than reasonably priced and the kids love the character themed lunch bags so we all came away happy. Win!
Don’t forget to label it
I’m willing to bet that there are thousands of parents across the UK siting at home right now either ironing on labels, or perhaps even sewing them on? The first thing a teacher asks you when your kids lose a jumper? Does it have their name in it? Because if it doesn’t, its gone. And in the past I’ve spent a small fortune on personalised stickers and iron on labels etc, but each and every time I end up resorting to permanent marker to get the job done. We picked up a pack from The Works and yes, you guessed it- thats my job for tonight! The good thing about using a permanent marker is that you can use it to label water bottles, bags, books and shoes etc too. And the labels won’t fall off half way through the term.
Make sure you’re organised
Now that I have three in school, (sob!) I need to be organised. There’s going to be three sets of newsletters, trip letters, reminders and dates to remember. Three sets of extra curricular activities, three sets of snack money invoices to pay. Three piles of admin to organise. So this year I’ve bought a planner (yep, thanks The Works!) and I’ve also got a box file with dividers to keep the paperwork safe until its no longer needed. And that’s not all. I even managed to find a solution to the tiresome ‘Shoes! Socks!’ nightmare of school mornings. I bought a little storage box to put the socks in and that now lives in the porch where the shoes are kept. So when its time for the kids to put their shoes on, I won’t need to run around the house trying to find socks. Believe me, thats going to save a lot of time in the mornings! I’ve also bought some small snack boxes that I’m going to fill and leave in the fridge. As the kids will all eat a hot lunch, they can take their snack boxes when they’re hungry after school and help themselves to the food inside. Thus saving me the stress of cooking a dinner that nobody is going to eat.
Take a photo!
The first day of school is a precious day and not just when they start in reception. I take a photo every year and often I love that one much more than the professional ones they have taken in school. So my final tip is don’t forget to take that photo, and treasure it dearly. I have an album for each child that I update now and then and their first day of school photos go in every year. They’ll get it as a present when they turn 18. For now, the photos are just for me, but one day they’ll treasure them as much as I do.
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