It’s that time in the holiday when thoughts turn to the great return to school. Kathryn Thompson has some advice.
With most of the UK now into the final stretch of the long school holidays, parents of school age children will be feeling a mixture of emotions. Relief that they’ll no longer be spending large proportions of the day breaking up fights between siblings. Sadness that the dawn of a new school year serves as a reminder of how quickly our babies are growing, and panic that the school uniform shopping still hasn’t been finished.
I have labelled school uniform shopping day as ‘Operation Uniform’ and it is marked in large red letters on my calendar each year. It usually means a day of queuing, spending too much money, fighting over changing rooms, more queuing and fills me with trepidation.
Over the years I have developed coping strategies, and ways to make this day easier, less stressful and more cost effective. Here are some of my top tips:
1. Take socks
I have lost count of the number of times I’ve taken my daughters shopping for shoes, with them wearing sandals and no socks. This inevitably results in them having to wear the spare shop pair, which are usually large grey boys socks that feel slightly crispy and have an air of Wotsits about them.
Try to take the socks they will actually be wearing to school, so you can ensure potential new school shoes fit well with them.
2. Take snacks and drinks
Arming yourself with plenty of healthy snacks and drink will avoid the need to spend yet more money on unnecessary items – it never ceases to amaze me how quickly £20 is spent when shopping with young children.
Snacks are also a good way to keep young children occupied whilst in long queues, but try to avoid chocolate or greasy crisps to prevent that embarrassing moment when one of them grabs an expensive silk dress, leaving a perfect imprint of their hand on it.
3. Make a list and stick to it
My children take full advantage of those last few moments of shopping, when I am so desperate to get out of there I agree to buy pretty much anything they say they need for school. I quickly learnt that they do not need expensive fountain pens, leather satchels embossed with their initials or two pairs of Nike trainers.
4. Buy as much as you can online
Online shopping is the saviour of busy parents and allows you access to a huge amount deals, promotions and bargains you wouldn’t otherwise have known about. Promo Codes have some fantastic deals with online suppliers offering some great back to school gear.
Other online shopping benefits include: convenient shopping times (do it whenever you please), a better range of sizes and quick delivery times.
*This article was written by Kathryn Thompson, a freelance writer and mum to three daughters. Kathryn once bought her daughter a cool box in a last minute shopping panic, as she told her all her friends used them for packed lunches. They don’t.