The boys, like most other children in the country, go back to school in a couple of weeks, which means right now I am doing the ever crazy back to school shop. Not my favourite past time I can assure you. I have been asked by a few fellow mums whose children start school this September “What do kids need for school?” and so I thought I would write a post outlining everything that I get and where I get it from.
For us our children have to wear a named school jumper which we buy from the school website, this can’t be bought anywhere else or at a discount, unless of course you buy second hand in the area. However the rest of the uniform for boys consist of white polo shirts and grey school trousers or shorts.
This year we found that the trousers could not be bought of the shelf as the size to age ratio was simply crazy. In Marks and Spensers the 8-9 trousers were so huge on my son they made him look like a clown waiting to catch cream cakes or multi coloured balls in his pants, where as in Asda the same size nearly cut of his circulation. How their expectations for the same age can differ so much I will never know.
We eventually found that Tesco where the best trousers to fit both our boys and they cost £9 for a twin pack which I think is pretty good value for money. We have gone for the dark grey this year because I think they look a little smarter, however we still have a few of the lighter grey from last year that will be making an appearance on the tiddler once he has grown in to them.
We also bought the T shirts from Tesco as again they were a nice fit and they cost £2.50 for 2 for the tiddler and £3.50 for 2 for the big’un. However I will also be buying a few from Marks and Spencer’s for later in the year as they are a bit thicker and better quality but they are also more expensive.
I don’t know what it is about my children and school shoes but they HATE trying them on. It’s as if they think I am going to suddenly send them back early just because they have them on their feet. If you are buying shoes for reception children I would recommend Treads or Clarks as they are good value for money and good quality. However as they get older I find the styles are limited for the boys so this year for the big’un he has chosen a pair from Tesco for £10, at least this way I wont cry when he wrecked them by the end of the first week from football, running and climbing like he did his last pair!
Most reception class children need a school book bag which for us is bought from the school website, however once in year one most children ditch this and go for a back bag style as it’s easier to carry, more personal to their tastes and usually fits more in.
This year the big’un has opted for one from Smiggle and the tiddler is using one he got last year from Flying Tiger but never got the chance to use. This one is perfect because although it is a back pack is is a lot smaller and will be easier for him to carry. Also it’s a little bit different to all the super hero ones most of his class will have so hopefully their should be less chance of it getting mixed up.
Most school offer a school branded PE bag but at ours they can use any bags they want. Mine have chosen super hero canvas bags, also called swim bags from Sainsburys.
School diners are free for children in key stage one so many parents might choose to opt for this and therefore not require a lunch box. However last year we found that the tiddler had school lunches some days and packed lunches on others so I would suggest buying one just in case. Lunch boxes can be bought in most supermarkets and with so many designs to choose from there will be something that your child loves. We have opted for the thermos football one for the tiddler because he is football mad and because it is insulated meaning his food will be cooler and therefore fresher by the time he comes to eat it, which will be even more advantageous when the summer comes round again.
You can get many types of lunch boxes in all shapes and sizes but I would advise that before you purchase one you make sure you can fit a drink inside it as well as food. Children can obviously take drinks separately but whilst they are little it is hard enough for them to remember which is their lunch box never mind which is their drink bottle too, so I always try and pack it inside with the food. I have chosen the thermos water bottle for the tiddler in the same style as the lunch box as not only do I know it will fit but the similarity will help him recognise it should he loose it and with it being thermos again I know that his drink will stay fresh all day
At our school as well as having a drinks bottle with their lunch box they are also encouraged to take a second bottle that will remain in class Monday – Friday and can be filled up with water as much as they like through the week. This is a fantastic idea and gives parents peace of mind that their children will stay hydrated all day. For this we have opted for a flip top spout water bottles from Smiggle.
Reception children will not require a pencil case however as they more into the older years they will. My boys have chosen ones from the Now you see me range at Smiggle that zip up and keep all their pens, pencils and crayons in neat compartments that are easily accessible. These cost £18 and contain everything your child will need including a rubber and are available in 4 different designs, however they also have lots of other pencil cases to choose from too and a whole host of stationery to fill them with.
Whether they are for lunch boxes, break times or 3:30 snacks you will find your children seem to graze all day and having healthy snacks that they enjoy are key. Of course we encourage fruit throughout the day too but when they crave something sweet we try and use snacks such as those by Fruit Bowl which can be bought in all main supermarkets in a range of flavours. They are tasty and sweet but are also one of your five a day, guilt free snacks are always a winner in our house.
So that is everything that I think answers the question what do kids need for school? But if you think I have missed anything off then please do let me.
As for the parents……
A decent washing detergent is a must as soon as the kids start school, especially one that tackles the whites because some how the minute a child enters the school building in a brilliant white shirt it miraculously starts to turn grey!
These last three weeks we have testing out the range by ACE and I am very impressed and can highly recommend them. So much so I have already bought a new bottle ready for September.