Starting school for the first time in September? 5 tips I wish I had known well in advance

Back to school photo, blackboard, pencils & books
Back to School

You have just received notification about what school your child will attend in September. Whether it’s your first choice or not, no doubt there is a part of you that thinks “how the blazes did that happen? It only seems like last year I was making airplane noises to get you to eat!”

Time, however, rocks on and you need to be ready to start a new era in your child’s life. It can be a maelstrom, but there are things you can do to lessen the stress of starting school in September, especially if its for the first time.


I’m going to side with uniform being a good maybe even great thing. It’s one less decision in the morning, with the whole, ‘what am I going to put on them today’ drama. If your child can wear trousers, then it’s definitely worth getting trousers that have a reinforced knee. Who knew?

My boys have a tendency to use their knees as brakes, so that extra bit of strength in the fabric can make the difference between needing a new pair of trousers or not. Don’t get me wrong – they’ve put holes in reinforced trousers too – nothing so far has proved to be boy proof, but some trousers last longer than others. Some makes also do a Teflon coating on both skirts and trousers, which make them quite stain resistant. This is a big bonus.

It’s worth saying that M&S usually do a half price sale in June, and though this seems early, you’ll have quite a lot to get so it’s a good call getting it sorted early. That said, the vouchers and bargains in Tesco and the other big supermarkets are not to be sniffed at, and the clothes are good quality – it’s your call.

Other good calls include short sleeved shirts for reception / primary one classes. These rooms are as warm as the tropics even in the dead of winter, so it’s not a hardship, and beats having to attack cuffs with whitener after your little darling has personalised their shirt in Art class. If you can get a shirt with a velcro top button so much the better – but these are usually the first to go, so beware. It does save time in the morning and if they have to get dressed themselves.

Name Labels

There are loads of companies who do this, and they will try to sell you the ‘easy’ iron on versions – don’t do it! I know very few of us learnt how to sew, but just get the sew on labels and give it a go, it’s really not that bad, and you are only delaying things by buying the iron on stuff, they fall off. Not only do they fall off, they lull you into a false sense of security, waiting until the most inconvenient time… and then fall off, usually right before a school trip or in the lost property ‘pile of doom’. As a last resort ask Granny if she might help.

The rule is, if it goes into school, get their name on it, sew on labels for clothes and sticky labels for everything else. I mean everything, even (especially) their colouring pencils, shoes, tie, you name it (boom-boom) get a name label on it.

Woven name labels
Woven name labels, take more effort but are better in the long run

In all seriousness it makes a huge difference, because no matter how good they are, stuff gets lost, or gets put in the wrong place or left behind, and if it’s clear who owns it, you are much more likely to get it back.

There are fancy labels, ready printed ones, but in the end, as long as your child’s name is on it – that is the main thing, but if you are ordering online, this is a good time to do it. The closer you get to the start of term the more expensive it will be.

School Bag

If your child is starting school for the very first time, it might be worth holding off on a school bag until you find out whether or not they actually need one. Some schools will give them out, in which case it is worthwhile getting a keyring that your child will know and recognise to pick their bag out of a pile of identical bags  – this is also good for PE kits.


To start with it might be worth considering getting the easy grip pencils, these are triangular in shape and some may have notches cut out. They are brilliant. They are shaped this way to encourage your child’s pincer grip. If this is set now, it will help other things fall into place later, and are so comfortable to use. They come as colouring pencils too.

I’ve had To replenish these in my son’s pencil case, often because their Dad & I keep ‘borrowing’ them #NoShame!

easy grip, triangular pencils
Easy grip pencils, there are lots of varieties on the market, these have notches cut out to help hold the pencil correctly

The School App

Many schools are moving or have already moved to electronic messaging, it costs less than printing on paper, and there is less chance that notes home in school bags get lost

Get a heads up by looking out for this now, and if the school has one – download it.  It’s one less thing to do in September when you’re focus is likely to be elsewhere

Final thoughts

So these are 5 things I wish I knew before my oldest was started school, now you will be all set and ahead of the game.

The only other thing I would say is big hugs to you if you are nervous. Try your very best not to let it show, and stay upbeat, because your child will pick up on your anxiety. It can also be an exciting time full of potential, and new friends.

It is a big transition, even if many of our kids take it in their stride, it is a big change and if the start goes smoothly then everyone is a winner, particularly your child, and that’s what’s most important after all.

Just a note – I’m not an affiliate blogger, where I have mentioned a company by name it’s just an ordinary Mum’s recommendation, I have no link with the company and don’t receive anything from them.


    • it was my second child that I really struggled with, he has a late birthday, and is the youngest in the year group. Had he had the opportunity to stay back a year, I think it would have made all the difference, but – he’s managing. Those pencils were a God send for him.


      • Mine is one of the babies too – he’s November but the French school year intake is January to December. Plus he’s a little behind with thevehole bilingual thing going on, poor mite. I’d have preferred to keep him with me for another year but we don’t know anyone with kids his age on France and wanted to make some little friends and be normal. I like the pencils!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Those pencils have been brilliant, totally recommend them!
        He will of course be normal. Though I have no experience of linguistics I suspect that it will not be too long once he’s in school and then he’ll just take off.

        It’s hard seeing them in this position, you worry so much. But in the end – they do ok xxx


      • You are completely right. He’s doing fine, but is rather young for his age I think, so really does seem like a baby compared to the others. I have it on good authority from a Maman friend that he is teaching his class mates ‘happy birthday’ and ‘come on’ in English. His papa only speaks French to him but he’s a bit of a lazy toad and only learns the words that suit him 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahahahaha! I’d take that as a sign of intelligence, that boy won’t have any problems lol! (He sounds very like my youngest!)


    • Oh wow! I’m really glad in that case, if there are open day’s before then, I’d definitely go along to those, and get to know the teacher.

      I think sometimes it can be more nervous for the parents, kids can take so much in their stride.

      There are nearly always local groups on social media FB and the like that can give you a good heads up about local deals, or advice, it might be worth looking into?

      Good Luck – I hope it all goes smoothly, xx

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am currently pregnant with my first so i have a fair amount of time to prepare for the first day of school. But to be honest it does sound a bit scary already!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, what an exciting (and nervous) time for you. ☺️
      It’s hard work, but the pay off is worth it. Motherhood has been the most wonderful surprise for me – I was ready for the duty, but the reciprocal love from my son’s bowled me over.
      As you will hear – every child is different! Some are ‘ready’ for school long before they get to go – others are different. But you have a way to go before you need to worry about that just yet. An eye on the horizon is always handy though for prospective schools when the time comes

      I hope all goes beautifully smoothly – please shout if I can ever answer any questions or help xxx


  2. Oh that seems so long ago for me as my children are 37 and 35! My grandson goes to school next year so I’m sure I will be helping to prepare him. Thanks for linking up with us at Midlife Share the Love Party and have a great week! #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sue, sorry I’m only seeing this now – it ended up in my Spam folder 😦

      Yes – I had children quite late on, in different circumstances this could easily have been a grandchild, yikes, though with a Stepson in his mid 20’s maybe I shouldn’t joke LOL! Thank you for the opportunity to link up – it seems like a great group of bloggers that you have active there. XXX Sonia


  3. That uniform thing doesn’t get easier either! Mine are in that awful growth spurt season too so I loathe buying stuff near the end of the year because they’ve grown, knowing I have to buy more for September because they’ll grow some more!
    As for naming, I found a great washable stamp by Stamptastic, that makes life SOOOO much easier! No sewing, or ironing required, and they last daily washes for the whole year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved having my son in a uniform, even requested a transfer so he could go to a school that required them (I grew up with them, too). Yes, there were days when I would have loved to send him in jeans or not have to mend his pants because he lived on his knees at that age, but it made things SO much easier in the morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh mine are well into school now, P4 and P5. But the letters came out a week or two ago for children starting – so this is all the stuff I learnt the hard way LOL 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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