On Air

Andy Crane

Our Top Tips

Night Night

Getting back to 'school day' bedtimes is a good place to start.  That way, your child will be refreshed in class instead of struggling to stay awake. Try moving back your child's bedtime by 10 or 15 minutes a week until you're back to the school-year schedule.  The week before the new term start waking up your child earlier in anticipation of the new school year.

Avoid the rush!

By shopping for school uniform in late July or early August you can benefit from un-crowded shopping aisles and also get more for your money - many retailers encourage parents to shop early by tempting them with special offers such as '3 for 3' or 'buy-1-get-1-free'.

Label it!

A considerable amount of money is wasted each year replacing lost property for your child.  Ensure that you label your child's uniform, coats, lunchboxes, bags and even shoes!  There are plenty of businesses that offer iron-on, sew-on or self-adhesive labels, in a variety of colours and designs.  The crucial question to ask is 'are they durable, or will they dissolve/fade in the washing machine?'  Also, do make sure you put aside plenty of time to label your child's property.

Stock up!

Stock up on healthy snacks, lunchbox items, and other essentials so you won't spend the first week of school running back and forth to the supermarket.  Check out the 'School Meals' menu and decide whether your child will bring a lunch or buy it.

Best Foot Forward!

It's every parent's nightmare: standing in a crowded shoe shop on a humid August Bank Holiday afternoon, with bored children who defiantly refuse to try on any shoes unless they display flashing lights or have high heels.  So how can you avoid it?  Try not to leave it until the last minute, you might find that you are limited to styles due to low stock levels.

Feet can swell by up to 8% in a day, so the best time of day to shoe shop is late afternoon.  Opt for a store which employs experienced shoe fitters who have been trained to measure children's feet.  Both feet should be measured; sometimes one foot is larger than the other.
There should be at least a half-inch of space for growth between the tip of the big toe and the top of the shoe.  

Compromise - There is no point buying shoes they consider un-trendy, they will end up not wanting to wear them and you could have a fight on your hands each morning - is it really worth the stress?  Discuss the 'fashion' issue with your child, try and come to an agreement to find that 'happy medium' before you enter the shop.


Find out if your school has a website.  Most schools now manage their own websites with basic information, while others have features like calendars, information on joining PTAs, and even images of classwork and projects that your child may have participated in.

Sort out your 'after-school' plans!

Will your child be attending an after school club, or come straight home after school?  Will you be collecting your child from school or will a family member, friend or babysitter be collecting them?  Some children go to after-school care on certain days only and come straight home other days - ensure your child is aware of any plans so as to avoid confusion or distress.  If at all possible, try and avoid 'after-school' clubs or babysitters during the first week back at school.  Your child will no doubt feel tired, excited or even nervous during the first week back, so straight home after school will help to alleviate any anxiety.

Mark your calendar!

Display a wall calendar for all to see.  In addition to the first day of school, make note of after-school activities or programmes your child will be attending, and also any days your child will be looked after by someone other than yourself.  You can also mark down when school term and holiday dates begin and end, as well as other important dates for the entire year.  If you have several children, consider using a different colour pen for each.

Put out clothes the night before!

To make the first day back as stress free as possible, lay out your child's school uniform the night before.  You can get older children to do this themselves.  If something is missing or shoes need polishing you have plenty of time to put it right.

Be positive and relax!

Keep a positive attitude about the start of school, even when things don't go exactly to plan.  Stay upbeat - you want your family to be excited about a new school year.