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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!

bubby64 Fri 24-Aug-12 21:57:14

I have a set of stationary, ruler, pencils pens, geometry set, dictionary etc at home for homework use, as I could guarantee one or other of my DS would say "I can't do my homework because I have left such'n such at school! I have twins about to start High School, so I have had to be very organised this year, and, to spread the substantial cost of this, i started buying bits and pieces in March!!
I have a weeks worth of shirts each, two jumpers and two pairs of trousers, which I hope will do, I can only afford one sports kit each, so that will have to do as well.
We have had a "trial run" for the bus journey, and going several different routes just in case.

InMySpareTime Sat 25-Aug-12 07:05:18

bubby64 it's "stationery" not "stationAry" (unless it doesn't move) <scuttles back to pedants' corner>

SirBoobAlot Sat 25-Aug-12 10:40:50

I like to be organised with regard to this if nothing else. DS's bag has been packed since we broke up for the holidays with all the new things in it blush His lunch box is (empty, obviously!!) clean and waiting next to it. The money I use for taxis in the mornings (due to disability) for the first week is already separate in a drawer.

The only thing left to do is go and get his feet measured, but I think they're okay. Clothes are all sorted.

Did it early so didn't have to panic during the holidays when everyone else is.

TheMonster Sat 25-Aug-12 11:05:21

How annoying that you have to print off a voucher. Grrrr. No printer.

I think it is best to avoid character stationery because the crazes come and go so quickly and you'll only end up replacing things.

SirBoobAlot Sat 25-Aug-12 11:07:49

No printer here either, grr.

Snog Sat 25-Aug-12 19:42:58

Link doesn't work for me - is this now closed?

fanoftheinvisibleman Sun 26-Aug-12 09:56:39

The only tip I would offer is uniform shopping seems to be easier with more choice the earlier you do it. New uniform was purchased, named, ironed and hung in the wardrobe as school broke up here.

I always buy a uniform for each day at the start of year as I never have them all or all in tact by the time the school year ends.

fanoftheinvisibleman Sun 26-Aug-12 09:56:39

The only tip I would offer is uniform shopping seems to be easier with more choice the earlier you do it. New uniform was purchased, named, ironed and hung in the wardrobe as school broke up here.

I always buy a uniform for each day at the start of year as I never have them all or all in tact by the time the school year ends.

Coprolite Sun 26-Aug-12 14:02:41

I haven't unpacked the bags of all the detritus from the end of term yet.

Despite that I will be organised the night before so everything is ready and newly polished shoes by the door. I don't like to spend the whole holidays preparing for going back - just want to chill and enjoy them!

But the next few days will be busy....

My top tip is to focus purely on organising the kids for going back to school now.
The fact that my front room now resembles a land fill site can be addressed once they are back at school and not messing it up the millisecond you move on to the next room to tidy up (grrr!)

lorisparkle Sun 26-Aug-12 22:04:47

Top tips..

Label everything - I use sew on labels especially for key items as pens wash off in the end and iron on ones never stay put. I also write the size again on the label with a permanent pen on the label wears off and if you have more than one child you have to play 'guess the size' when passing down clothes

Each child has their own coloured pen which I use to write notes in the diary - I try to write all the details down not just a few words as in a couple of weeks the invitation has disappeared and the words 'Bob's party' does not really help when you don't know where it is or when it is

Don't leave buying shoes too late as the queues in Clarks is an absolute nightmare - buying 3 pairs of winter shoes for 3 DC under 6yrs is no fun when you are behind a dozen or so other families

Do any homework as soon as possible - never leave it as the time will never come and it is likely to be forgotten

Check book bags and deal with contents as soon as DC come home.

Answer invitations when they arrive and write in diary as above

MrsPnut Mon 27-Aug-12 08:09:01

I bought bits and pieces before school broke up, DD1 is 15 and so was unlikely to grow much during the holidays meaning all her uniform was bought in July.

DD2's was bought at the beginning of August and her shoes were bought on a wednesday lunchtime at Brantano meaning we were in and out within 15 minutes.

I still have to buy DD1 some shoes and a bag and I know they will be the most stressful items of the whole lot due to a conflict between what she wants and what the school rules state.

kid Mon 27-Aug-12 21:13:23

DS went on a lot of school trips last year. To make sure I knew exactly when and where he was going, I put the trip letters in oreder on the fridge with a magnet. Once he had been on the trip, I threw the letter away. I also wrote on the top of the letter in big letters whether he needs a packed lunch or not as there is nothing worse than having to try and create a packed lunch with limited supplies on the morning of the trip.

ScorpionQueen Mon 27-Aug-12 22:56:58

Both DDs have their bags packed already, we pack as we buy stationary.

Uniforms have been bought and labelled.

They have lunch money for the first few days to help me get into the swing of things.

I get DH to write all of his shifts on the calender and I write in inset days, holidays etc. to help us become more organised.

My absolute top tip is to know what day they actually go back, as the dates have changed for DD's school, when they cancelled an inset but didn't actually send a letter out.

starfishmummy Tue 28-Aug-12 08:06:35

I pin a copy of ds's timetable to my noticeboard. This means that if stuff needs to be organised/sent in, (like swimming kit) I will know when it is needed.

I use bright coloured envelopes for all money that has to go into school so that it doesn't get lost at the bottom of ds's bag. One teacher was hopeless and always mislaying monies sent in, so i got into the habit of sending all dinner money and trip money by cheque so that when it was re - requested I could stop the original cheque! (she obviously found them all during an end of year tidy up as a whole load were returned to me!)

TheTempest Tue 28-Aug-12 09:16:14

Umm mine is a mixture of blind luck and panic. I have 3 DSC and a DD and I work full time, if I manage to get everywhere at the right time with the right equipment I count it a success!!

MrsWeasley Tue 28-Aug-12 18:53:26

As soon as I know dates for trips, events, music lessons, payment instalments etc it all goes in my calendar with reminders set for eat day. So on a Monday morning I get a message reminding me that DD has a music lesson and DS has football club etc. Reminders for letters ti be handed in has a reminder of the day(or 2) before and again on the day that's to remind me to complete them and then a reminder for DC to hand them in. Its a system that's been good for a couple of years and 4 DCs.

Children are responsible for packing their own bags daily they get into more treouble if they say 'm mum forgot it'.

dearprudence Tue 28-Aug-12 23:38:49

That survey is bonkers - really odd answers. And they have me as a 'no worries mum' even though I buy everything early and get organised before terms starts!

My tip is to get school uniform and shoes at the beginning of the holidays - all the sizes are still in stock, and it doesn't spoil that special holiday feeling for the children. Then get the more interesting stuff like stationery and schoolbags at the end, so the child can look forward to using it all.

YohoAhoy Wed 29-Aug-12 07:58:28

Definitely agree with entering everything onto calendar as soon as letter arrives. Actual letter then gets pinned to kitchen noticeboard until event has taken place.

I always do uniform etc shopping in second to last week of summer holidays. Late enough that they hopefully won't have grown out of it before going back to school grin but early enough to avoid the uniform death-mobs.

cheryl59 Wed 29-Aug-12 09:51:16

I'm a Thrifty Mum apparently (which is probably right as I got excited about winning an eco bag !! lol)

My top tip is buy everything in double and keep one in reserve - it all gets used throughout the year and saves last minute Sunday night panics when they suddenly announce they've run out of glue/lost their ruler/their calculator has broken

sausagewallet Wed 29-Aug-12 11:54:13

I'm a no worries mum! Despite spending the last few days in a blind panic because I left uniform shopping until the very last minute. I've had to order DSs jumpers in 'cos the shop was out of stock, and they won't be in until after they go back, aaaargh!

Anyway, my tip is to buy cheap trousers (£3 Tescos) in the size they need now, and the next size up. No hemming! [Lazy person emoticon]

MrsJohnDeere Wed 29-Aug-12 12:18:57

Apparently I'm an organised mum (if only......)

Couldn't be bothered to claim the crappy pencil case prize though

Elainey1609 Wed 29-Aug-12 12:46:31

Well done the quiz and im a thrifty mum...dissapointed with prize as you cant use online and no staples near me which is a shame.

I buy things for children from beginning of holiday, little bits here and there when i have the money or see a good offer. I also go to boot fairs and try and get bits there.

Also at home we have a tin with all stationary that can be used whenever.
i try not to buy then new stuff if they really dont need it
Pe kit is the thing lost post of time...dont know how they do it even when i put labels in everything buy cheepest as know we wont own it for long...

Uniform i order and buy throughout year to spread the cost

The children organise all there stuff for school week before they go back

We have a family calender stuck on a noitceborad which everyone writes details on and sticks letters and reminders which helps us stay organised

im quite lucky as mine my the end of holiday are really looking forward to going back to school so help me sort all there stuff out

popperdoodles Wed 29-Aug-12 13:52:14

I try to spread the cost throughout the year. They only get new stuff when they need it especaily school shoes. With 3 to buy for I try to stagger it. Ds1 had new shoes this hols but ds2 and ds3 are still ok so will wait. Stationary is only needed by DS1, other 2 still in primary. I tend to get most things from poundland or supermarket. Few bits have spent more on and hope they will last him such as a nice calculator, proper maths set and nice art pencils, bought all those last summer and they are all still fine for this year and beyond I hope.
DS1 is nearly 13 and I remember the pressure at that age to have the latest branded stuff for school. Luckily his school has a really strict uniform policy and he's not really fussed about things yet. His PE trainers are a random brand but tbh he doesn't care which is great.
The only thing that bugs me is when schools put lots of things on the uniform list which the kids never use. Rugby top was one of them. He didn't even wear it when they played rugby!!

StellaMarie Thu 30-Aug-12 14:10:27

The back to school period doesn't need to be busy or full of panic as long as you are organised. I spend a maximum of 2 days getting everything together and ready including buying shoes etc. I have a ready stash of stationery supplies which I top up regularly throughout the year when i see offers available. The PE bags were sorted and packed up again at the beginning of the holidays.

When we get in from school the first job is to unpack the bags and then get the bag ready for the next day. Each child is responsible for their own bag and its contents. The more they procrastinate on sorting the bag the longer they have to wait to play etc so the incentive is there to get it done.

On swimming and scouts nights they eat a school lunch or a heartier packed lunch so evening meal is more snacky and quicker. Or I batch cook things and use from the freezer as required.

Moving to secondary school should not be made a big deal of, in my experience this panics children more. My best tip is to get your child prepared by showing them how to organise themselves. Keep a separate notebook to write reminders and encourage them to use a diary to keep a check on when homework is due and tests are to be studied for. If they are organised then it's one less thing for them to worry about when moving to a new environment.

weblette Thu 30-Aug-12 16:47:09

I always do shoes/uniform in the last half-term before the holidays start, it's much quieter and there's usually every size in stock. They won't grow that much in six weeks!

For stationery I buy everything in France - we're there every Summer and their supplies are amazing - you buy everything you need for the whole year at the start of the Autumn term. Great prices, fab choice and it's a bit different.

When dd started Yr7 last year we followed the same routine as usual so didn't have to do the last minute panic.

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