7 things you need to know about ‘Back-to-School’:

If you’re about to pack your little one off to school for the first time this September, here’s our mum-of-4’s essential guide to getting through the first few weeks of term…

THE NAME GAME:

Iron-on naming labels last for approximately one wash. Labels written on with permanent marker pen withstand even less. Whichever way you tackle it, you’ll still be rummaging through the lost property basket at the end of the first week. Top tip: we offer monogramming on backpacks and PE kit bags, so even if they do lose their entire school uniform in the first term, at least the bag they’re meant to keep it in will remain safe. Swings and roundabouts. Which leads me neatly on to the next point…

THE SCHOOL PLAYGROUND:

The trim trail. The outdoor play area. Whatever it’s called in your school, the little darlings will undoubtedly come a cropper at some point or another. So stock up on plasters and nurofen and have your route to the local A&E saved in your sat nav; chances are you’ll need it.

GRUB’S UP:

Lunch time will be by far their favourite part of the day – and don’t underestimate the rivalry when it comes to providing the perfect packed lunch. Do you go all Jamie Oliver and send them with Moroccan couscous and crudites or run the risk of getting frowned at by the dinner staff and pack a cheese sarnie, packet of crisps and a club biscuit, which they’re guaranteed to eat? Word to the wise: they’ll trade it all with their friends and will end up eating the weirdest combination of items anyway so don’t overthink it. By the way, our insulated lunch boxes keep food cool for 5 hours with an ice pack so at least you won’t have to worry about warm yoghurt.

COAT TALES:

“Honestly, it wasn’t my fault, Johnny made me roll down the muddy slope” and other reasons for why his brand new coat looks like he has taken part in a week-long survival course with Bear Grylls. When it comes to school coats, dark colours are the safest option and it also helps if they’re constructed to withstand a gale force hurricane and then some. Fortunately we have a huge selection of girls’ and boys’ coats and jackets with sleeves that grow, waterproof sealed seams and indestructible zips so they last way beyond the first term. And NEVER buy anything you can’t machine wash.

BRUSH UP ON YOUR BAKING SKILLS:

Yup, even if you were no whizz in the kitchen before they started school, you’ll be giving Mary Berry a run for her money by the end of the first year. The roll call of requested donations includes: Easter teas: hot cross buns (or cornflake nests for the domestically challenged); Friday bake sales: anything chocolatey with sweets on top. And if you get asked to produce the ‘piece de resistance’ for the Christmas hamper, then you may as well sign up to a Prue Leith cookery course and be done with it.

SCHOOL TRIPS AND VOLUNTARY DONATIONS: 

There is no such thing. The school PTA might have scraped enough together from the bake sale proceeds (see above) to get a discount on the coach but it’ll still cost you an unfathomable £15 to get them into the local museum. So dig deep or they don’t go.

TAKE TISSUES:  

Not for them, for you. As they skip off happily into the playground on the first morning, you’ll be dabbing at the remnants of your waterproof mascara and wondering where on earth those last five years went. Don’t worry, it will soon be half term…