It’s January and back to school time. Many children are taking the big step and starting school for the first time. This is an exciting time but can be difficult too. Kids have to get used to new surroundings, spend time apart from their family, learn how to socialise and make friends and get used to a whole new routine. All the while, this happens as their body clock gets used to no afternoon app (the initial after school tiredness is so tough). As they get older there are more challenges as hormones kick in and exams begin. Education is a minefield, but us parents can help in the subtlest ways. One way is to think about what we pack in their school bags to help them through the day:
A Spare set of Clothes
When my kids first began school I always popped a spare change of uniform (including underwear) in their bag. This is handy for accidents such as wetting themselves but also just for times when they get really messy or wet playing outside in the rain. Also pop a spare plastic bag in the bag to store the messy or soiled clothes. Another great idea is to pack a pair of incontinence washable pants to limit the damage. Instead of walking around all day in caked undies, they can slip on a new pair, throw the others away, and act like nothing’s wrong. It’s these little things that they may be grateful for when they’re older!
Find out what day (or days) PE, Games and Swimming lessons are taking place and be sure to pack them the night before. As kids get older use a timetable to help kids get in the habit of packing the appropriate clothes for the sessions. Some schools have a specific uniform. I find a plain t-shirt and cycling shorts are great for PE, I add a hoody, joggers, socks and trainers for Games day and we pack a swimming costume, swim hat, googles and towels on swimming days. As kids get older B.O may become a problem so remember to pack a (non aerosol) deodrant too.
Snacks and Water
Three square meals a day isn’t all a growing child needs to stay focused. Because their bodies are changing, they need lots of calories to keep up with the transformation. The good news is that energy bars are a cheap, healthy and effective way to keep their concentration levels high. Packed with fibre and fruit, the ingredients are easy to digest and boost energy levels in a matter of minutes. From an education point of view, this is essential as the brain needs fuel to learn. Fruit also makes a healthy snack and always pack a bottle of water. Most schools have water coolers now where the kids can refill their bottles throughout the day.
I love stationery and so do the kids so even though school supply everything they need they do like to pack their own stationery such as- pens, pencils, rubber, ruler, sharpener, pencil colours and felts. When kids go up to Secondary School a Scientific Calculator is a must as are plastic wallets to keep letters and books tidy.
A Rain Coat
My kids usually wear a coat to school every day but they also have a fold up jack-in-a-pack raincoat in their bags just in case they get caught in a shower on a summer day.
Give them their lunch money, snack money and bus fare and say “that is your lot!” But what if in the back of your mind, there’s the nagging feeling that they might need some emergency money? Although teaching kids the value of money is crucial, so is making sure they are safe and well-fed. So, what is the solution? It’s a small stash of cash in the backpack. Usually, kids will search high and low for money, so there’s no chance they won’t find it. If not, a quick text or call will alert them to it in an emergency.
Other things you need to remember are homework, musical instruments and reading books.
As kids get older and more independent they begin to pack their own bags and hopefully know exactly what they need.
What do you always pack in your kids bags?