It’s hard to believe that my youngest daughter will be starting Year 5 in September. I know it’s a cliché but it really does only feel like yesterday that she was getting ready for her very first day at school. Being our fourth child meant that I knew all the tips and tricks. Been there, done that, bought the scalloped edge stain away polo shirts. Or so I thought anyway. If there is one thing I have learnt about children it is that they have a way of keeping even the most experienced parents on their toes.
One of my top tips for getting your little ones ready for school though has to be buying their school uniform sooner rather than later. There is nothing worse than leaving it until the end of the summer then scrabbling around the shops to get everything bought on time. You can guarantee that the one thing you want will be nowhere to found in the colour or size that you need. I really am speaking from experience here. I was once that stressed out parent trawling around the shops looking for the all elusive grey trousers in age 4 with an adjustable waist. Never again. Let’s face it, it can be stressful enough clothes shopping for children never mind school uniform shopping. If you do it now at the beginning of the summer you’ll be more likely to find everything you need and get it all done in one fell swoop.
Then my next tip would definitely be label every last bit of all that uniform and more. In fact, just label everything in sight. If it moves, stick a name label on it or come September, you will never ever see it again once it goes through that school gate. I like the stick on labels because they are just so easy to use and you can label not only clothing but things like water bottles and pumps too. My son once came out of school with one shoe on. One. Shoe. How on earth do you lose a shoe? It remains a mystery to this day. Thankfully though I had labelled it so something like two weeks and a replacement pair of shoes later, the blummin’ thing turned up! Honestly though, never underestimate a child’s ability to lose everything they own. When you have nearly thirty children with almost identical clothes, name labels are the only way. Imagine what a jumble sale the classroom must look on PE days? Those poor teachers!
Anyway, where was I? Ahh yes, roll back five years and our youngest daughter was about to start primary school. We had all of her smart uniform hung in her wardrobe waiting for that first day, everything in sight had been labelled, we had talked lots about her new teachers and her new school routine. I can still remember how excited she was to be finally joining her sister at ‘big school’ and as much as I was going to miss her, that excitement was really quite infectious. She was so ready to start school and I was so proud of her taking these brave new steps. And then came the spanner in the works. That would teach me for being so smug.
She somehow came across a pair of scissors in her older sister’s bedroom and decided to give herself a new hairstyle of quite life altering proportions. The hair cutting thing seems to be a rite of passage for most kids but oh yes, she decided to do it days before she started school. After that split moment of oh-my-godfathers-what-have-you-done-terror we were soon in absolute hysterics. Not even someone as prepared as me could have predicted that. If I hadn’t laughed, I think I would have cried! There was no ignoring it she had hacked at the whole of her fringe. The only thing we could do was tidy it up the best we could. Her once lovely neat thick fringe was now a complete hack job. When she started school they took her photograph for a name badge to go on things like her peg and tray and we were reminded of that nightmare fringe every day for the whole school year! Ha!
The lovely people over at Marks and Spencer have asked a group of teachers to share some funny, sweet and interesting anecdotes of what really happens when parents leave their kids at school as part of their Trust Me I’m A Teacher campaign. From those emotional goodbyes to not forgetting to pack their sandwiches – most parents have similar worries when it comes to their little one’s first day of school. Of course every child is different and I more than anyone know that it doesn’t matter how many times you have done it before, you still might just be caught out! But do you know what? It all tends to work itself out in the end. Bad haircuts and all.
*This post has been written in collaboration with Marks and Spencer but all words and experiences of life changing haircuts are our own