Starting school is a big milestone in every child’s life. As parents we want to be well prepared, but the lists of what is needed can be endless! It can be difficult to know what the essentials are, especially for your first child. So we have put together what we feel are the 9 essentials for when your child is starting school.
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From uniforms to books, lunches to labels, there is always plenty for parents to do for back to school. It can seem less overwhelming when broken down into bite sized tasks. If you work off our list below, you will be well prepared for children starting school this term.
Essentials for Starting School
#1. School Uniform
Whether your child is attending a school that has a uniform or one that allows them to wear their own clothes, it is essential to have school uniforms & clothing ready for day 1.
For children starting school where there is no uniform, have a few sets of clothes that are just for school. Children can then change into their ‘normal’ clothes when they get home which gives a sense of escape from school wear and has the added benefit of speeding up the morning routine as your child has a limited wardrobe to choose from!
Where a uniform is required, check the school website for what is a must-have and what is a could-have. And chat to other parents whose kids are already attending the school.
Uniform essentials for children starting school usually include:
- 2 polo shirts
- 2 school shirts
- 2 pairs of trousers / shorts / pinafores / skirts
- 1 school cardigan / jumper
- PE Kit (tracksuit, shorts & runners)
- Schools shoes (usually black or brown)
- School socks / tights
Other items may include a school jacket, tie or blazer. But although these items may be on the list, they may not be essential, so do check before you buy. If your school has a uniform sale before the end of the previous term do go along to see if you can pick up items for starting school.
#2. School Shoes
Your child will need school shoes for starting school. These should be sturdy, comfortable and support their feet well as they will be wearing them for anything from 5 to 10 hours daily.
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#3. School Supplies
School supplies, including school books & stationery can be one of the biggest costs to any parent of a child starting school.
When you get the book list, look out for deals from school book suppliers in June & July, prior to your child starting school or check out second hand options. And if your school has a book rental scheme, take part, as even if you have younger children, books do change from time to time and the books your first child uses may not be the same for subsequent children.
For stationery and art & craft supplies you will usually be given a list of what your child requires in advance or during the first week of school. Most schools will have particular pencils for writing and children will need some crayons or colouring pencils, an eraser, pencil sharpener, ruler and a pencil case to hold it all in. Copybooks if needed, are often supplied by the school.
So just buy the essentials specified by the school and add to their stationery collection through the year. Some schools may provide everything needed and you will be given a note with the costs.
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#4. School Bag
For a child starting school a heavy duty school bag will not be required. A lightweight backpack that can hold a few A4 books and a lunch box is all that is needed at this stage.
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I probably should have started with these as I feel they are the most essential item for any child starting school. Label everything!
From pencils to books, uniforms, shoes, jackets, lunch boxes, bags and anything else your child brings to school. They will mislay items and having them labelled means you have a much better chance of getting them back.
#6. Lunch Box Plan
To avoid the trap of giving your child the same lunch every day of the week, I would advise having a lunch box plan. Even if you just vary the fruit, vegetables and sandwich holder & fillings it will make life easier and can help avoid lunch boxes coming home with nothing eaten!
Experiment with different types of bread, wraps, bagels or even pasta and rice and have a few fillings on hand that you know your child will eat. Most schools will have a healthy eating policy so keep treats for home time. Add a bottle of water and a different piece of fruit each day and encourage your child to try new things.
We have a some great lunch box ideas to get you going and getting your child to be part of the preparation can help too. For this you could set up a lunch box shelf in the cupboard & fridge with different items for your child to choose from daily.
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#7. Morning Routine
When your child is starting school it is essential to put a morning routine in place as quickly as possible. Getting everyone to school and work on-time can be a real chore so creating a chart with images or words for young children with a list of tasks can help speed up that morning routine.
For instance you could have get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, brush hair, get lunchbox ready, shoes on, coat on and ready to go chart made from images. If they stick to the order, they will soon learn the routine and mornings will be less stressful for everyone.
#8. School Route Plan
Whether your child will walk, cycle, take a school bus or be driven to school, plan the route and do it together before your child starts school. This will give you a sense of how long it will take and help alleviate the stress of being late.
#9. Folder for Notes
One item I think every child starting school needs is folder for notes. Your school may give your child notes about books, tours, field trips, after school activities etc. and if your children are anything like mine, your will usually find these scrunched in the bottom of their bag or school jacket pocket after the event!
The folder is also handy for when you need to send notes to school and for things like party invitations.
Have your say! Any other essentials for starting school that helped your child? If we have missed anything, please let us know in the comments box below.