Written by Phie Bannister
Some of you will be relieved to know that the summer holidays are almost over, others may be sad… no judgement here! We’ve pulled together a check list of things to do, to get you organised before the start of term.
Does their uniform fit? Has it been washed (including PE kit)? Is it all named? It can be super expensive, so check if your school PTA or office has a second hand uniform sale. You can also ask friends with older children and look in local charity shops. There are so many ways to label uniform now – sewing, iron-on, stick-on, stamp and fabric pen. Do what works for you, but definitely label everything because children lose their belongings!
You can find out more information about school uniform, including details of local uniform banks in Hastings and Newhaven, here: https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/education-learning/schools/school-life/uniforms
Has your child had a growth spurt this summer? There’s a fine line between waiting until the end of the holiday to give them time to grow, and waiting so late that all the shoes are gone. Yes that is actually a thing, not just a scene from Motherland (if you know, you know)! Don’t forget PE trainers and possibly even wellies if your child does forest school.
Lunch and snacks
If your booking system allows, order school lunches now to get organised. Don’t forget that all children in reception, year 1 and 2 get free school lunches, so it’s a good way to save yourself some money. Children in year 3 and above can get free school lunches if their parents/careers get certain benefits. See if you’re eligible here: https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/education-learning/schools/school-life/school-meals/free-school-meals
Get packed-lunch ready by making sure lunch boxes are named and stock up on healthy store-cupboard items as and when you see them. Keep the lunch box nut-free, healthy and varied.
Everyone should be taking a named water bottle to school. Ideally go for plastic, rather than metal or glass, and most schools request that they’re clear and just contain water.
You do not need to buy a new bag for each year, just make sure that there is a bag that does the job. And that job is… being showerproof and big enough to fit any books and stationery needed, lunch, water bottle and anything else that your child regularly takes to school. If you can, name it.
Travelling to school
Start the year off healthily by trying to walk, scoot and cycle to school, if you can safely do so; most schools will have bike sheds.
Will different people be picking up and dropping off your child each day? Make a note of it to give to the school office and new teacher, and don’t forget to let them know in advance of any last-minute changes. A family calendar that has the times, locations and nominated people of every pick up and drop off is a must for busy households!
If your child is older and making their own way to school, have they practised the journey? Are they confident about the safest route and what to do if they feel unsafe at any time?
If your child travels by bus, taxi or train, book their passes/tickets in advance, if you can.
Have you booked your school clubs and wraparound care? Do you need to get uniform or equipment ready? Check if you can pay for clubs using a Tax Free childcare account, as most children in full-time education are eligible, and it will save you 20%.
If your school was mean enough to give summer homework(!!), make sure it’s done at least a couple of days before the end of the holiday. Nobody needs that ‘Sunday night feeling’ the evening before going back. Try to set a homework routine going forward, that works for your family. Is there a quiet and appropriate space to study? Can it be done one weekday evenings or date weekends better?
Children and young people definitely deserve a break over the summer. But it’s great if they want to do a bit of reading before they go back. It’s amazing how much can be forgotten after 6 weeks off! Try to make reading fun, rather than a chore. It doesn’t matter what they are reading, just that they are. The summer reading challenge finishes on 10 September, but there’s still time to take part. Just make sure that you return your library books in time to get the prizes.
Individual schools and year groups will have different items that you need to buy. But it could include pencil cases, pens, calculator, ruler, rubber, notepad, folders, text books, even laptops. Check what’s needed and make sure you have it, and that it’s named!
Try to ease them back into the school sleep routine by shifting bedtime 10 minutes earlier each evening for the last week. If your child has a device or phone that they use before bed, encourage them not to use it for the last hour before they go to sleep – yes they might be annoyed, but the blue light makes it harder to fall asleep.
If they’ve got into the habit of lying-in over the summer, try waking them up a bit earlier each day for the last few days of the holiday too, to make sure that they’ll have time to get ready and eat breakfast before they leave. Children and young people shouldn’t be skipping breakfast, so have a few ‘grab-and-go’ options for the first couple of weeks.
It can be daunting starting a new class or school. Ask your child if they have any worries or questions that are bothering them about the new year. It’s a good habit to get into, so that they know they can share their concerns and problems.
What have we missed!? Let us know in the comments.