Back to School

Four years ago, my daughter started school.

Four years and one week ago, my daughter finally stopped wearing nappies.

She started school with a full statement of special educational needs and a full time teaching assistant but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. For her or for me.

I spent a long time preparing for the start of term and thinking about ways to make life a tiny bit easier for all concerned.

If you have a child with delayed development, learning difficulties or poor fine motor skills, or maybe they are very young or simply find things a bit of a struggle, then perhaps these tips might help!

Starting from the bottom up (literally), pants should definitely be dark coloured or patterned and have motif or bow on the front. The dark colours will disguise a little accident and the motif will ensure that they can figure out which side is the front.

For girls, tights are warmer in the winter but more tricky to get up and down so it might be best to stick to socks unless you know that they can manage. If your child is sensory seeking, white socks won’t last two minutes. Try grey or a uniform colour – navy, green etc. And with supermarkets selling clothing so cheaply, buy plenty, all the same, so that finding a matching pair is not too hard in the morning.

Our school suggests aertex shirts but I find that once they’re freshly washed, the buttons are really hard to do up. So I opt for easy iron cotton shirts everytime. Short sleeves for warm days and long for most of the year. Don’t do novelty ones, heart or flower shaped buttons are much more difficult to manage.

Choose a dress or pinafore with a zip up closing or one that just pulls over the head. Buttons may be a challenge too far. Skirts are easy for all girls but check that they have an adjustable waist otherwise it can be hard to get one that fits waist and length perfectly. I imagine it’s the same with trousers.

 

Initially I thought cardigans would be the best option for warmth, easy to slip on and cosy. But I hadn’t factored in the buttons issue. My daughter couldn’t do them up so would end up being chilly. A nice loose, easy to wash, acrylic wool mix jumper is easy to pull on and I’ve found they wear better than the school uniform sweatshirt type.

For outside, I’d suggest a coat with Velcro closings as well as zips or buttons. At least that way, there’s a chance it might stay closed even if no one helps. And depending on the child, I’d get a larger size coat. For years I couldn’t get a pair of gloves on my daughter, despite trying all shapes, sizes and colours. So a long coat with long sleeves can keep fingers warm.

I usually like to buy some decent bits of uniform and then some fillers from the cheaper shops. I’d definitely recommend having enough shirts and bottoms for a fresh set every day. Jumpers too if possible, but no less than three certainly.

I have never brought my daughter uniform shopping. I either buy online or pick it up when I’m in the supermarket. I’ve never had a problem with sizing and even if I did, it’s a lot easier to try it all on in the comfort of our own house than worry about noise, hassle and stress on the high street.

Talking of which, Clarks sell foot measuring gauges on their website. I measure my kids feet at home then buy online. The chaos of in-store shoe shopping is just too much for me, let alone my sensitive daughter. I do buy good brands because my daughter is dyspraxic and needs supportive footwear. I’ve found Hush Puppies really good as they supply various insoles to tailor the fit a bit more individually to each foot. You probably already know not to even consider anything but velcro straps until your child is at least 22.

 

And then, the pièce de résistance. Label everything. I mean it. Clothes obviously, but also shoes, water bottles, lunch boxes, trainers, everything that you might want back at some point. And since I’d rather stick hot needles into my eyeballs than handwrite anything, I buy Stikins from Amazon (other brands are available). Personalised stick on name labels that last through washing machines and dishwashers. A life saver!

Dull post but hey ho, I’m sure I’ll be back to burning down ancient buildings and showering with my poo covered dog next week.

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25 Comments Add yours

  1. Argh the labels. This has reminded me that I need to spend an evening doing it all! Urgh! #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mainy - myrealfairy says:

    Oh the dreaded school uniform hunt, I’m worn out by it already!:) Everything is go but I haven’t managed to get anything out of the bags yet, let alone label it. I’m hoping I’ll wake up one morning and its all been done like magic:)
    Mainy
    #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had everything there but completely forgot to label everything until the morning of school!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some great tips here. I’m potty training my daughter at the moment and she finds it much easier to use knickers with a bow or motif on. #BloggerClubUK

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And they don’t like to get their favorite characters dirty either!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. These are great tips – that’s a good idea with the bows or motifs on underwear for when kids are learning to dress themselves. School uniform seems so expensive and I am already dreading shoe shopping (my son is only 9 months!!!) so may have to follow suit and measure them myself. Really useful post. #StayClassyMama

    Like

    1. I measured at home then bought the shoes I wanted on Amazon.

      Like

  5. Really useful list, full of practical tips that I’m sure will help lots of parents 🙂 #bloggerclubuk

    Liked by 1 person

  6. randommusings29 says:

    This is a really useful post. A lot of the stuff you mentioned, I wouldn’t even have thought of. I know I would have fell into the trap of buying something with cute buttons that would have turned out to be far too fiddly
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to be of service 😉

      Like

  7. thesingleswan says:

    Not a dull post. It is really very useful. I never knew that you could get Clark’s measuring gauges online. that is a brilliant idea. Pen x #fartglitter

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just thought it might be good – since I’ve spent years figuring this stuff out!

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  8. Such great advice! I will definitely be checking out the measuring gauges for shoes as taking my two into shoe shops is nothing short of torture. Online all the way for me. I also never really considered the motif on underwear actually helping them to work out which is the front? I have coincidentally always bought them with a motif but more by luck and the fact that they look cute than by judgement. Something I will definitely be mindful of going forwards. Thanks for sharing. #fartglitter x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The scrum at Clarks is such a nightmare!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow this is so helpful. My son is still a baby just now but this is a great read because I know what to prepare for. I didn’t realise Clarks had a foot measure that I could purchase, amazing! Thanks for the advice and sharing with #StayClassyMama!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And they do a toddler/baby version too!

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  10. Some great tips and advice here. I’m a teacher in a secondary school and teach several pupils with complex issues such as the ones you describe. You thought that goes into the finer details of daily life such as clothing choices is truly mind boggling but it all goes that little way to making what can be a big difference for the child. It’s great that companies such as Clarks offer the measuring device so you are able to avoid the chaos of in store buying. Again, great advice and thanks for sharing.
    Potty Adventures
    #FamilyFun

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words…I think even children without SEN need a bit of help, especially if they have just turned 4…they are still babies really!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. happywawa15 says:

    Excellent advice. If I had a girl about to start school I would never have considered the details of the uniform in such useful depth. #familyfun

    Liked by 1 person

  12. oh not a dull post at all! A very informative and useful blog post! My little one is 14 months at the moment and I haven’t bought any clothes for him! I like the shoe guage buying tip, I need to get shoes for him soon and I’d prefer to buy online. thats great! Thanks for linking up to #FamilyFun. Hope you can come back next week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny how many people have liked the gauge idea! So I guess it’s not just parents of SEN kids that hate the scrum of Clarks 🙂

      Like

  13. Jenni says:

    Great tips, my friend bought a clarks measure and is really happy with it. Going to get one as Lucas hates having his feet measured in the shop x #familyfun

    Liked by 1 person

  14. There are more children than you would realise that are still in nappies at this age. Maybe not day but I know personally at night. Don’t be mislead by their confidence. There’s always hidden struggles with practical solutions. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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