nanny and children on their way to school, dressed in their uniforms

The 7 things you (really) need to know before your child starts school

If you’re about to wave your first child off to reception you might have some niggling worries.

You might not know that many of the Koru Kids team are parents. So we’ve gathered our top 7 things we wish we’d known before our kids started school.

1. Who knew leaking water bottles were such drama?

Well it turns out they are. Evenings spent drying out school books is not what any parent wants after a long day at work.

Our favourite so far is this bottle from Ion8.

“A really good leak proof water bottle – the amount of times Ailish has come home with a drenched book bag” – Kellie, General Manager

But take the time to research and read reviews so you get a leak-proof, easy-to-clean, easy-to-open bottle.

Little note: we’re not getting paid to tell you that—we just wish we all knew about them earlier.

2. There’s no such thing as a free meal”… Well, that’s not quite true

School dinners are free from Reception to Year 2, and in London for all year groups. So don’t rush out and buy lunch boxes unless you are opting out of free school meals.

3. Get your £1 coins at the ready…

Get a stash of £1 coins and leave them in a handy place. It will feel like there are relentless requests for odd sock days and wear a random colour day. The last minute sofa search is not fun.

“Everything is so cashless now apart from school. I spent 30 mins one morning trying cash machines, which were all empty, to get change for a trip to the local shops. A frantic text to the parent whatsapp revealed I was not alone and one hero parent brought a stash for those of us who forget. It was the last thing I needed before work” – Rebecca, Chief Marketing Officer

4. Your inbox is about to get busy

Be ready for school emails. Lots of them. Create a rule to flag them in your inbox so you don’t miss them. Or in our CEO Rachel’s case, make sure you don’t have a rule that puts them in a black hole. If you haven’t had an email in week 1, your school isn’t chill—there’s something wrong.

“I have an email divert for emails containing the word ‘unsubscribe’—they go into a ‘read later’ folder which in theory I check every so often, in practice I check never. The school emails ended up here and I was wondering what everyone else had been complaining about… my school was so chill! Then we missed a school trip packed lunch and I found all the old emails. Oops.” – Rachel, CEO

5. School uniforms don’t have to blow the bank

School uniforms can be expensive, and most schools have STASHES of second-hand ones. Great for the environment, and your bank balance.

But how do you get your hands on them? Try emailing the PTA, or asking on your local Facebook group. Lots of parents will be sorting through theirs, and want to pass it along.

Alternatively, shop around before buying from the traditional uniform shops. Kids lose them easily, and the supermarket quality can be just as good.

“When Aia started school I wasn’t prepared for the huge upfront cost of uniforms. I also didn’t realise just how much I could have gotten in regular shops instead of ordering through the school uniform site.” – Amki, Email Marketing

6. Don’t use all your annual leave up on holidays (sorry!).

Remember to keep some to cover INSET days, snow days, sports days, Christmas shows….you get the idea.

“The number of inset days, sports days and parent’s evening can quickly eat into your annual leave balance. This year we’ve kept some aside so we can jointly cover the unexpected” – Josh, General Manager

7. Retire the iron to save time

Koru Kids parents have found several different labelling options that mean you can get out of a lot of painstaking ironing.

Our 3 favourites were these stickers, these stamps, and these loops. We’re sure you can find more, but we want you to know they’re out there.

Little note: we’re not getting paid to tell you about these either—we just like them.

We hope these tips keep you one step ahead. Starting school is both exciting and daunting for you and them. After the first few weeks everything will feel easier – good luck!

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