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NOW CLOSED Talk to Staples about Back to School and win one of 4 £50 Staples vouchers

(87 Posts)
TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 21-Aug-12 12:41:28

Staples, the world's largest office products company, wants to find out how parents tackle the Back to School period. They're running a quiz on their website where you can find out what type of 'Back to School' parent you are - please click here to take part. Everyone who takes part in the quiz will win a prize at the end - prizes include stationery for the kids and family days out.

Staples would also like to hear your thoughts on how you cope with the busy Back to School period. Are you 100% organised, with everything your DCs need for going back to school ready and packed the night before they go back? Or are you flying around in a blind panic on the first morning of school looking for their PE kit?! Do you have a DC starting at secondary school this Sept? If so, has that changed how you're preparing for Back to School at all? Do you have any pearls of wisdom to share on preparing for the move to 'big' school?

Share your top tips, advice and stories here and the best 4 comments will win a £50 Staples voucher to spend on Back to School essentials.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!
MNHQ

DS1 is going into yr2 but before they broke up I asked what topic they would be learning after the hols and have got a few books from the library for him to read, he loves to read!
I have got a wipeable wall calendar for him so we can write p.e. days, after school clubs other events, we were given the school calendar for the year relevent dates have been hilighted and its pinned up on the board.
uniform is labelled and p.e. bag packed, his shoes are polished and lined up ready for wednesday morning.
I'm also another fan of the little brown envelopes!

I don't buy new shoes and uniform until the end of the holidays because my DC grow at a rate <must stop feeding them so much>, so pretty pointless to have new shoes that don't fit.

We have a shared calendar on the computer for me, OH, and the GPs - at the beginning of the year the school sends out the dates for the year, and I fill them all in the calendar so that everyone knows when half term, concerts, nativities etc are happening.

iamnotinterestedinyourkids Fri 31-Aug-12 14:08:19

as a teacher - PLEASE buy secondary school kids those book covers. Are cheap and great for keeping worksheets in at the back of yourbooks

randomfennel Fri 31-Aug-12 21:31:55

I'm a No Worries Mum :-). Though we have everything bought and sort of ready, but I don't spend my life worrying about it. Am disappointed to only win a pencil case, they should match the prizes to the type of parent. No worries parents should get the Merlin fun pass, don't you think?

dd is starting secondary, but she has already packed her pencil case etc, back in July I think. and repacked it this week. She's keen.

zipzap Sat 01-Sep-12 00:51:38

When school send home a list with any dates or letters with any important information on, I always take a picture of it with my phone as well as trying to remember to enter the dates on my calendar (with a column for each member of the family plus one for general stuff), in my diary and on dh's calendar. That way if you need to refer to it or look up dates you usually have your phone with you to check on the info, rather than needing to find the piece of paper which has usually disappeared regardless of how organised you try to be with them.

I always try to have everything ready for each child the night before - they are in different schools. I have a big bag for each of them (the sort of jute or recycled plastic ones that they have in supermarkets) into which goes their school book bag and anything else (sports kit that comes home, library books, lunch money, jumper, etc) that needs to go into school. Shoes are put by the bag, coat on top.

Lunch bags are made up as far as possible the night before, even bits that need to be kept cold are done and left in the fridge ready to pop into the lunch bag in the morning. As soon as they are done (usually while the dc are eating their breakfast) the lunch bags are put into the big bags in the morning.

Then when it comes to going out in the morning, I only need to pick up one bag per child and not have lots - especially at the start of term when there are lots of bags going in so it is easy for one to get missed. I use the same bag when picking the child up so all their junk stuff can be thrown into one bag and I'm not left trying to hold onto armfuls of stuff and a toddler who likes to make a dash for freedom, I've just got one big bag to hold on to.

I use good laundry markers to mark clothes - and keep several dotted around the place so it is always easy to remark the clothes if the name looks like it is fading. I have one in each car, one on the landing windowsill near the airing cupboard, one hidden at the top of each child's wardrobe, one in my handbag, one in my kitchen 'everything useful' drawer and one in the keys drawer in the hall. <just realises that I have possibly got slightly carried away in getting laundry pens organised>. I also have sharpie marker pens in all those places (except the dc's wardrobes) in case I need to mark non-clothes things.

I buy a packet of cheap envelopes to send money or stuff back into school in. In a quiet moment I'll mark a few of them with dc's name and class, plus a few more will have name, class and lunch money written on them so that when I need one in a mad hurry after sleeping through the alarm clock again I can grab it and it will be ready. I also try to keep a biro ready with them so there is always one when needed, especially useful if filling in forms to be sent back to school.

xxxkadzxxx Sun 02-Sep-12 19:11:51

I think i am pretty organised when getting my children ready to go back to school, my top tips are:

1) Book a haircut for the kiddies at the beginning of the holidays ready for when they go back to school to make sure you can get an appointment.

2) Buy school uniform towards the end of the holiday to ensure A:you get the right size rather than your littlen growing out of them before they are back at school! B:some stores have reduced back to school items if you leave it until later in the holidays.

3)Make sure all their homework is done a couple of weeks before they go back to school.

4) Ensure you read with them daily if not every other day so they dont loose the routine.

5) Talk to them regularly about seeing their friends, this will not only excite them but will remind them they are going back soon as well.

6) Make sure you have a new school bag, pencil case and lunch box if needed and let the kids choose their own as it makes it all that more exciting to go back to school and use them!

7) Make sure the school bag is ready for the first morning back a couple of days before hand to give you time to add to if needed and avoid any morning panics!

8) It can always be hard getting back into the school morning routine after the summer holidays so make sure both you and the children have an early night, prepare their uniform and lunchboxes if needed and i always get the cereal and bowls out of the cupboard ready so there is no rushing around!

9) Always do your food shopping a few days before the day back at school so you dont have to worry about it among the other essentials which have to be done around that time. REMEMBER TO BUY LUNCHBOX items if required!

10) If your children are moving to primary school or high school, talk to them regularly to find out their emotions and how they are feeling. Thats the only way you can help to reassure them. Always talk positively to them and mention their friends who will be moving with them, and they are a big boy/girl now etc...!

11) Have a nice relaxing day to yourself and enjoy your first day back at school as well!

lagoonhaze Mon 03-Sep-12 07:13:56

Some great tips. Its only just hit me that its tomorrow my son starts school! No big deal though as he's been in full uniform for the past year in the nursery.

I'm going into school today to buy the P.E kit etc. What would be helpful is if the school were organised so I could plan ahead but no get given a day or two notice of things like sports days it trips unless we badger them!

lagoonhaze Mon 03-Sep-12 07:21:21

My top tip is to avoid Clarks and check out happy little soles. Better choice and shoes for similar prices!

zipzap Tue 04-Sep-12 00:07:29

Another one - is to set the alarm clock to school getting up time for a few days before going back to school and try to go to bed at 'school' time too for those few days.

Makes getting back into the swing of getting up early much less painful on the first morning of term if it's not a real shock to the system!

Also if your dc is going to a new school, a few days beforehand, go and park up near the school and explore the local area if it's not somewhere that you both know really well. Figure out where they need to go in and out of school, where you can park - in the 'proper' parking places as well as where the overflow is likely to end up and how to walk into school most safely from these places. Plus figure out the end of the day - if they need to be picked up from the playground or school door that's great. But if they need to walk out to meet you then figure out where to go, where's safe, what will happen if one of you is a bit late or if it is really bad weather etc etc. Much easier to do it when relatively few other people around than on the first day when there are hundreds of kids and parents rushing around and it can all be a bit overwhelming especially when the dc are younger.

chrisrobin Tue 04-Sep-12 08:44:57

If you buy second hand uniform from the school wait until the end of the second week of term. By then many of the parents who are donating clothes that no longer fit their children will have got round to sorting and giving them to the school, hence a bigger range to chose from.

hk78 Tue 04-Sep-12 18:04:51

1. Don't buy too early with anything that can be suddenly outgrown - shoes, trousers.
2. Keep secret stash of spares such as stationery, but don't tell 'em.
3. Re-use as much as possible <tightwad>
4. Secret stash of my own socks so that when they have been nicked on a schoolday morning, I don't have a panic.
5. Buy online to take advantage of offers like 3 for 2.

KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Sep-12 15:01:08

Thanks to everyone for all your comments. Staples have chosen their favourite tips and the winners are:

gazzalw
xxxkadzxxx
zipzap
StellaMarie

Congratulations - I'll PM you for your details.

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