Back to School series - The Essentials

Regardless of whether you have been back from your summer holiday a while or are coming back to the sandpit (or any other city for that matter) just in time for school: if you are a parent like me, whose first born is starting big school or nursery, you might already be hyperventilating and going through the list of questions: ‘Is this the right shoe? Where can I find labels to mark all my kid’s belongings? What could I pack for his snack, lunch, etc?’ 

Personally I have had a few panic attacks, as I feared not being prepared for school. The past four weeks in this household have been absolute madness and bordering obsessive behaviour about a house move plus (!) all the burocracy that changing employers in the UAE involves as husband’s started a new job. I would hate to think what it is like to be moving to a new country at this time of the year when you are unfamiliar with the system.

So here is a little guide I have managed to put together during our frantic back-to-school shopping sessions:

LUNCH BOXES

We have discovered a couple of super cool brands that produce very clever lunch and snacks solutions for the kiddies. We love how they are both BPA-free and dishwasher safe:

Smart Planet (available at Spinney’s)

  • Ultrathin Lunchbox Set - bento-style box with 3 compartments and a spork in an insulated carrying little case.
  • Collapsible Eco Meal Kit - you can choose between 3 or 4 compartments plus condiment lid (looove!) and spork.

SMASH (available at Centrepoint)

  • Yoghurt Mover - pot with removable and freeze gel walls that keeps yoghurts, cut fruit and purees cold for a few hours.
  • Snack tubes - nice and compact! Can choose between triple or double stack and fab to keep things like baby carrots, dips, biscuits, mini crackers etc
  • Sandwich Box - fab sandwich boxes so that we can stop feeling terrible about using all that clingfilm and foil for our kids sandwiches.

WATER BOTTLES

We like these because not only are they super fun but they also do not spill and again, are BPA-free and dishwasher safe:

  •  Munchkin Click Lock Flip Straw (available at Babyshop and Mothercare)
  • Camelbak Eddy Kids (available at www.mumzworld.com and The Change Initiative)
  • Tinc’s Big-Eye Water Bottles (available at mumzworld.com and also directly through their website www.tincuae.com with door-to-door delivery)  

LUNCH BAGS

  • GAP - no need for name labels on your kid’s backpack/lunchbag: GAP will monogram them for you plus they also have an interior name tag. We love the Pink Polka Dot (yes, pink!) and Sloe Gin with the adorable puppy print.
  • Crocodile Creek (available at Virgin) - if you are after designs for the younger children, Crocodile Creek do bold colours and fun themes: T-Rex, Robot, Vehicles, Owl (one can never have enough owl themed stuff) or Fairy.

LABELS

Do you remember when you went to school and either your mum had to stitch-embroider your name on your clothes or just grab a permanent marker and write your name on your school belongings x number of times? I do and to be frank last year I still stitched my son's name on his clothes. But of course our little sybarites would not settle for that and to be frank, today’s school labels are just really easy and practical: dishwasher/laundry safe, waterproof, peel-and-stick or iron-on.  There are tons of options, all as cute as the next!

SHOES

One thing little feet need is quality shoes that see them through all those days and hours at school. It will definitely be a shock for our little man as the nursery he attended last year (and we were - are! - in love with) follows a no shoe policy, so everyone including teachers, owners and parent walked around barefoot. Part  of our lifestyle around the house too, courtesy of my Australian husband.

Our Dubai favourites are PabloskyClarks and Geox, all available at the major malls. Advice we have been given by the experts is:

  • buy one size bigger to allow room for growth
  • soft, pliable sole but with good support
  • good cushioning for comfort
  • leather to avoid sweaty feet
  • avoid laces for the youngest kids, at least until the are independently able to tie the lace up

Got it!

Now … Stay tuned for ideas on school snacks and lunchboxes – coming very soon!!!