Tips, tricks and life hacks – the smart mum’s back-to-school checklist

Written by Tracey Blake

  1. Uniform – the rule of three

Have you got all of the new school uniform you need? Don’t forget the socks and the sports kit as well as the regular gear. I think you need a minimum of three pairs of trousers/skirts or dresses/jumpers or cardigans/shirts. One to wash, one to wear and one somewhere in transit between the two. With Minnie I only ever had two and could often be found desperately sponging off stains when I got caught out with both needing a wash. Treating myself to that extra one of each item will take the stress off and I am all about trying to make life easier.

  1. Name labels – go sticky

Which brings me to my next point – labels. Yes, I know the hand-stitched old fashioned tape ones that you probably had as a child are lovely, but who’s got time to hand stitch 20 odd labels in? Not me, that’s for sure. So this year I’ve gone with – I ordered them on line and they came within a few says and yesterday it literally took me 20 mins max to do all of Minnie and Monty’s stuff. You don’t even need an iron (lucky, as we don’t actually have one!) you just peel off the stickers and put them on to the clothing labels. I’ve also done the shoes and water bottles – which they say can go in the dishwasher once the adhesive has dried.

  1. School shoes – book a fitting appointment, for your own sanity

We’re at peak rush right now, with shoe shops choc full of weary, impatient parents clutching their ticket in a sweaty palm and children of all ages running riot. I’ve waited for an hour before to get a fitting. So this year I booked our fitting slot in Clarks online and we waltzed straight in and saw someone immediately. We were in and out in 25 minutes. (Warning, you may get glares from other parents who are wondering how you jumped the enormous queue, I felt like waving a sign saying, ‘I pre-booked!’).

  1. Check times and childcare routine – who needs picking up, when

If your child is in reception the hours seem to vary widely from school to school. Some are doing half days for the first week (like Monty) while others are going straight to a full day (like Monty’s friend Olivia-Grace). Check you know what times you need to work to and get childcare in place if you are going to be at work. This might be an apt moment to mention – it’s FREE to register and you can instantly see which students in your area are looking for nannying work. Ideal if you have a new school pick-up routine, are already stressing about half-term holiday care or need wrap around care that school clubs and childminders can’t offer – who gets home from work by 5.45pm these days?!

  1. A good luck charm…

In the form of a bag charm. We were actually asked to put a charm on our child’s school bags to help the teachers and the children easily distinguish their bag from others. Today I spotted this Lego Star Wars Stormtrooper key ring in today and bought it for Monty. I’ll give it to him on the first morning of school as a surprise.