Top tips for the
school term ahead
Getting children ready for their first day back at school can come with lots of challenges. The retail sector’s massive marketing campaigns, with shops full of ‘back to school’ merchandise, try to make us feel we have to buy everything new – but that’s not necessarily the case. And the new school year challenges aren’t just financial. Here are some tips to make preparing a little easier.
Are new uniforms necessary?
There’s an expectation that each child needs a new uniform, sports kit and school bag ready for the first day back. However, it pays to be realistic – does your child really need all new stuff? Could their shoes from last term be worn for a little longer? If money is tight it makes sense to make everything last that bit longer. Only buy new if needed!
If you do need to hit the shops, be firm with yourself and ask, ‘What do the kids really need?’ Cut your list down as much as possible and only buy what’s absolutely necessary. Most supermarkets have basics such as polo shirts, trousers and dresses at budget prices. Keep an eye out for offers and any chances to get your hands on free or reduced cost uniform – some schools pass on donated uniform or there may be clothes swaps. Don’t forget to check the charity shops too!
Do you and your child know what to expect on the first day at school?
If your child is starting school for the first time in Reception or Year 1, it helps if you can discuss the routine with them so they know what to expect. You may find little ones get very tired as they adjust to a lot of changes. You could try arranging little treats for them such as their favourite food for lunch or tea so their first few days are associated with things they enjoy.
What can you do to ease the move from primary to high school?
Children moving up from primary to secondary school may be nervous of such a big change. There are ways to help with this. Chat to your kids about their hopes and fears so you can understand and work towards some solutions. You could also talk about the positives of your own school days, such as the fun of making new friends and learning new subjects. If your children are concerned about travel to the new school, you could do a few dummy runs during the last few weeks of the summer holidays to reassure you both.
For examples of issues which may come up and advice about how to deal with them, see tinies.com/our-favourites/transition-from-primary-to-secondary-school.
Your child’s primary school should also have a programme of support for transitioning to high school. Many areas offer transition days where children spend a day at their new school. Some high schools also have open evenings for parents of new starters. You may be able to meet the head teacher and find out about the school including arrangements for lockers and after school activities.
What support is available for students with additional needs?
Extra support may be required if your child has additional needs, in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. There are some great suggestions at mentalhealth.org.uk/learning-disabilities.
Why not start budgeting for next year?
If you’ve been anxious about affording everything needed for this year, consider looking at your budget and making a plan to save for a better year ahead. Help and support is available through Christians Against Poverty (CAP). Why not sign up for a CAP Money Course or CAP Life Skills group in your local area to learn how to better manage your money? Find out more at capuk.org/help.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity with over 600 services across the country delivering debt counselling, money management, job clubs, life skills groups and support for people breaking addictions. Visit capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006 to find out more.
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