Back to school: the essential post-lockdown checklist for your kids’ big return

Children will return to the classroom on today after over two months away, following many of their Scottish and Welsh contemporaries who went back on February 22. Here is a practical back-to-school guide to make sure the first day goes smoothly.

Back to school checklist

Shoes

Younger children’s feet can outgrow shoes in a matter of weeks so try their school shoes on today to check they fit. As specialist shoe shops are still closed, several retailers including StartRite, Charles Clinkard and Clarks are offering either virtual fittings or downloadable gauges so you can measure feet accurately and order online. Some stores are offering next day delivery.

Uniform

As with shoes, check that your children – particularly younger ones – still fit their shirts, trousers, skirts etc. You still have time to order online and most supermarkets stock the basic items such as polo shirts. When we locked down at the start of January it was mid-winter but as we’re now in Spring, it’s worth checking if they need a new coat. If you’re buying new uniform don’t forget to add their name to each item in case it ends up in lost property!

PE

Does their PE kit still fit? To avoid mixing in changing rooms, many schools are asking pupils to come dressed in their PE kits for the whole day when they have PE. Again, one to check with the school and remember to label up new items! You can order personalised stick-on labels from Petit Ferdinand, despatched in 48 hours: £3.00 from 10 name labels to 30 and £1.50 beyond for identical labels.

Warm clothes

As classrooms may keep the windows open to ensure there is more ventilation, make sure little ones have vests on underneath their uniforms. For the first few weeks, perhaps stick to trousers or tights rather than cooler summer uniform.

Hair

Hairdressers do not open until April 12th at the earliest, it may mean having to use the kitchen scissors to trim. There are hundreds of online tutorials about cutting children’s hair – for every age.

Bottled water

Drinking fountains will not be available but children are encouraged to take their own water bottles. Check that you child still has theirs and the chewed up top doesn’t leak!  

Lunches

School dinners should still be provided by your school but those taking in packed lunches may be asked to take them in disposable bags rather than lunchboxes to prevent contamination.

Face masks

According to its latest guidance, the government ‘recommends’ the wearing of face masks in secondary schools. While it is not compulsory, many students will be encouraged to wear them so ensure your child has at least one mask, preferably two or three, to swap throughout the day when one becomes damp and uncomfortable.

Hand cream

Your child will be asked to wash their hands more regularly. If they suffer from dry skin, perhaps give them some mild hand cream to use or for younger children, have some hand cream in the pockets of your coat for pick up time or in the car for the journey home. Sonia Haria, Beauty Director of Stella Magazine, recommends Nursem, a hand-care brand developed by a paediatric nurse’s husband to solve the problem of extremely dry hands (nurses wash their hands an average of 55 times a day);  £10 for 75ml. 

Covid tests

Secondary school children will be asked to take Covid tests regularly so warn them about this. Although they should be supervised, older children may be asked to take the test themselves. This NHS video featuring Dr Amir Khan explains how to do the test:

Lockers

Some schools are stopping any locker use to prevent children mixing in corridors. Make sure your children know that they may need to carry everything with them all day – including mask, sanitiser and stationery. Younger children may be asked not to bring anything in at all and leave bags at home so check with the school.

Earphones

Does your child have language lessons where they need headphones? Some schools are asking pupils to bring in their own to prevent contamination – it’s worth checking with the individual teacher. Argos have a range of fun designs including Batman and Paw Patrol over the ear headphones or Snuggly Rascal designs which fit around the head attached to a fleece headband (from £14.99).

Back to bed

Proper sleeping habits have fallen out of bed during lockdown with children having long lie-ins or staying up late. Now is the time to start setting strict bedtimes for younger children and encouraging older children to stay off their screens into the early hours. Aim to get them into a routine about brushing teeth and getting dressed before their usual ‘go to school’ time as well.

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