20 Practical Back to School Tips and Stories from Parents

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practical back to school tips

We asked parents to share their best back to school tip or funny school uniform story with us recently, and there were some excellent ideas and hilarious memories. Here are 20 Practical Back to School Tips and Stories from Parents, in association with Marks & Spencer Ireland.

This piece is brought to you by Marks & Spencer Ireland, who offer quality school uniforms with ground breaking technology to give adults peace of mind and lets kids just be kids. After all life isn’t uniform and childhood certainly shouldn’t be either.

1. “If your child’s school has a crested jumper just buy it the first year and then take the crest off it and stitch/stick it onto a regular jumper after that” – Gillian

2. “I got up got dressed put on my uniform school bag on my back I was only about 8 or 9, the school was only across the road from house, I got to the sitting room where my mother and father were up and asked me where I was going that hour of the night?I said, sure I’m going to get my breakfast and go to school it’s half 8 they started laughing 😂 and me and told me to go back to bed that it was 12.30 at night! I wouldn’t believe them at first and to this day I still haven’t lived that one down!” – Bridget

You might also enjoy reading Don’t Miss Our 10 Useful Hacks for School Uniforms

3. “Use 2 lunch boxes, one for big break & one for small break, children get such little time for lunch, this avoids wondering what they will chose for to eat & also if something spills or there is half eaten fruit leftover it’s not very appetizing when they open lunch for 2nd break.” – Anne

You might also enjoy reading 6 Great Lunch Boxes Recommended by Parents

4. “We used to have a house rabbit that had the run of the house during the day while we were at home. After his first day of secondary school, my eldest boy was shattered and so draped his blazer over the back of the sofa instead of hanging it up. After dinner and a shower he set about getting everything ready for the next day, but he couldn’t find his blazer anywhere. We searched high and low to no avail, until I pulled out the sofa he had left it on only to find the rabbit chewing on some string with a button hanging off the end of it….the blasted rabbit had shredded and eaten the whole of the blazer, leaving behind just the buttons….I was furious!!! As I dashed to the uniform shop on my lunch break the next day, I seriously contemplated making rabbit pie for dinner!” – Sophie

5. “It’s always good idea to buy a size or year ahead as your child grows quickly throughout the school year and buy at least 2 of everything just so you are not pressured to wash, dry, iron” – Karen

6. “When I was in secondary school many years ago now. We had to wait for school bus on cold winter mornings so I got into the habit of wearing 2 pairs of knee socks. One day my friend looked down and I had 1 pair of dark green on 1 leg and a pair of navy on the other. As I did not have time to go removing them before class. I took 1 green sock off and put on other leg. I had to go round all morning with 1 sock on 1 leg and 3 on the other.” – Pauline

You might also enjoy reading 21 Top Tips for Making Back to School Night Super Easy

7. “Just pay the extra to get the books covered. Don’t be like me and think you’ll save a few quid by doing it yourself and then ending up frantically fighting with sticky back plastic at 1am the night before school starts.” – Anne

8. “Buy crease free shirts 👕 absolute lifesaver when you don’t have time to iron 🤞 especially on a Sunday night.” – Rhoda

You might also enjoy reading 9 Essentials for When Your Child is Starting School

9. “Mix some fabric conditioner and water in a spray bottle and use to freshen unsoiled school uniforms in between washes to avoid fading and wearing 👍” – Joanne

10. “We had just moved to a new town when my eldest daughter was due to start school. With all the chaos of moving in, I found myself with only a few days left to get her uniform before school started. I logged on to the school’s website to check their uniform requirements and we made our way to the recommended stockist. After a hectic two hours of queuing, trying stuff on etc.. we finally left the shop with herself fully kitted out. On the first day of school she proudly posed for photos to send to Granny and off we headed to the school. As we drew up in front of the school gates I puzzled over the fact that none of the other children were wearing the same uniform as my daughter. Imagine my embarrassment when the school principal, there at the door to greet the children, informed me that I had bought the uniform of the other primary school in town! My daughter has never let me live it down!” – Gillian

11. “Sew a random button or buttons onto children’s jumpers/cardigans. Easier to identify their own and easier for the teacher.” – Una

12. “I print out my children’s initials and tape them on to all their school items – colouring pencils, pencils, rulers etc. Last year I didn’t have to keep buying replacements if they lost them and they were found the other kids knew who they belonged to and brought them back.” – Sinead

You might also enjoy reading What Should My Child Know Before Starting School

13. “I always buy the kids vitamins and start them on them a week or two before they go back to school as September is such a crazy month for them, not only are they going back to school but also all of their after school activities start back up again.” –

14. Throw out all those sandwich boxes and lids that don’t fit and reuse the Chinese takeaway plastic containers. There’s never a cascade of tupperware falling down on you and the lids always fit” – Richie

15. “Buy a large box of sticky labels and get your children to write their name and new classes on each one and label every book and copy . It helps the children get into the back to school mode and means they are well organised for returning to school.” – Marie

You might also enjoy reading Don’t Miss These 10 Back to School Hacks

16. “Have an area for uniforms so kids can get their own uniform sorted easily. Pack interesting lunches the night before along with any extras needed for the next day, P.E. gear etc” – Elaine

17. “Every Friday throughout the year I put a couple of euros into a savings tin and I always have enough in August to cover the shoes and uniforms for September.” – Jennifer

18. “Best tip is getting your kids used to lunch box lunches. We have been going on a few picnics with the old faithful ham sandwiches, fruit and crackers etc. All packed in the lunch box that she will use in September. This has gotten her used to opening and closing the lunch box and what she will have. It’s a big change as she has been in a creche where she had a hot dinner at lunch time and needs to get used to the change.” – Julie

19. “Have plenty of spare shirts. I am always running out and trying to wash and dry asap” – Aisling

And finally

20. “Tell the teacher “tag you’re it” as you bolt out the school gates” – Davida

You might also enjoy reading 25 Reasons Parents Love Back to School Time

When buying your schoolwear, look for items with extras as standard. For instance at M&S many of their uniform fabrics are stain resistant, water repellant and crease resistant.

You’ll also find innovative sizes and fits including Plus fit (6cm wider in the body), Slim fit (4cm narrower in the body), as well as shorter and longer lengths on trousers and skirts. And clever design features like adjustable cuffs.

Shop the full school uniform range from M&S online and in-store

Over to you now. Would you add anything else to this list of top tips for back to school? Tell us in the comments below. 



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