Information & Advice
We all remember feeling a bit glum as those lovely, long summer days drew to an end.
So if your little one is feeling a bit nervous about the start of a new school year, why not use the opportunity to introduce something new to your daily routine?
For example, it may be possible to walk your child to school, instead of enduring the daily commute. For tips on how to get started, read this feature.
Perhaps September is also the time to introduce your child to new hobbies and interests.
If they've been inspired by watching the dazzling array of sport on television this summer, why not suggest they join an after-school sports club?
Extra-curricular clubs can also be a great way to meet new friends or stay in touch with old ones if your child is changing classes or schools.
Keep those summer memories fresh by encouraging your child to make a scrapbook or poster of some of their favourite family days out. Instead of your photographs sitting unseen on a computer for years, why not create a collage or coffee mugs? Boots Photo has some great tips for making the most of your summer snaps.
If you're making a special trip into town to purchase uniform and stationery, give your child as much say in the decisions as the school guidelines allow.
"I imagine school shopping trips may work better for girls than for boys," says Lynette Pinchess from Nottinghamshire, mum to 14-year-old Chloe. "But if you factor in lunch or a drink together, it can be a really nice time and help with those back-to-school nerves."
Here's our list of top back-to-school product suggestions, including some top tips from other mums.
Stationery - we like the Hello Kitty Glam Pencil Case or the Trunki Dino Chums range . If your child is a teenager, the onset of GCSEs may mean their stationery needs have become more complex - your school should be letting you know if they need things like scientific calculators.
If school uniform rules put trendy play clothes off the agenda, try buying your little one a trendy bag, says Oonagh Robinson from Derbyshire, mum to Maddie, 15, and Esme, five. We like the Trunki PaddlePak which comes in blue and pink.
Healthy snacks. Make little bowls of fruit, like grapes or, for convenience, try something from the Organix range. A bottle of water to keep your child hydrated is also a good idea.
Nitty Gritty Nit Free Comb. Not a pleasant subject but one worth giving some thought to. "The Nitty Gritty is more expensive than a normal comb, but really works - it's worth it," says Roslyn Chee, from Derby, mum to Ellen, 10, Rebecca, eight, Katie, six, and Adam, three.
A cool lunchbox. We love the Skip Hop Zoo range, which includes this cheeky Lunchie Zebra.
Name-tags. You'll need to put them on practically everything your child wears for school. Our mums like the iron-on kind or the stick-on kind to save your fingers all that stitching.
"Two of my children have got beyond school age but, as they head back to university, we try to think about their health over the coming term," says Stephen Haynes, from Warwickshire.
If your teenager's hectic lifestyle means they may not be getting a healthy, balanced diet, vitamins or supplements may be something to consider. Berocca, which contains vitamins B and C, may help give them a boost. It's suitable for adults and children aged over 12. For younger children, Haliborange Kids Multivitamin C Immune Fruit Softies are designed to appeal to kids' tastebuds, as well as helping to provide the body with vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy immune system. They're suitable for children aged three and over.
A bathroom routine that runs like clockwork. Get a helping hand with a Tangle Teezer brush. "We like the purple glitter one - we have a number in our house, each with a name label/stickers on to tell them apart," says Roslyn Chee. "They're good for quick brushing in the morning without all the 'ows'!"
A bit of an MOT. "I usually try to squeeze in a back-to-school haircut (our local salon does a special deal!), plus a trip to the dentist and, if overdue, to the optician," says Vicky Carlisle, mum of three from Wimbledon and editor of our Parenting Club magazine. "I particularly wanted to do the optician this year. My eldest has secondary school entrance exams this term and I want to make sure his eyesight doesn't let him down!
Make sure your medicine cabinet is up-to-date, with things like a basic first aid kit to help treat any playtime cuts and grazes.
"Pocket tissues because they're always getting sniffles," says Sophie Bourk, from Notts, mum to Isaac, five, and Anna, four.
Nivea Sun Children's Lotion SPF50, pocket sized. Because we may get an Indian summer. You never know!
School shoes. You'll probably find last year's are falling to pieces!
Their uniform, plus all the extras. "They may need things like sports gear or aprons for painting or cooking," says Ibticem Boughellam, from Leicestershire, mum to Yassine, four. "Your school should let you know."
"Don't forget plimsoles - I always do!" says Oonagh Robinson, from Derbyshire.
Antibacterial wipes. "The autumn term is notorious for colds, flu and tummy bugs," says Vicky Carlisle from Wimbledon, mum to Charlie, 10, Georgina, seven and Bella, three. "You can't do much to prevent your child catching them, but you can at least try to stop them flooring the rest of the family."
"The only other back to school recommendation I have is it's nice to take a picture of them all on the first day back," says Roslyn Chee.
And finally, make sure your school is up-to-date with your latest contact details in case of emergency.
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