Dressing your elementary school aged child for a day at school may sound like a simple task, maybe even a no-brainer, but in my years as a preschool, first and second grade teacher, I have learned some important points to keep in mind to make your child’s school day go more smoothly.
Leave the jewelery at home. Young children often play with their jewelry and may even chew on it. You might be surprised how much more interesting a bracelet can be than a phonics lesson. They often lose or break the jewelry and may become quite upset when this happens.
The same holds true for elaborate barrettes, headbands or ribbons and for hats, scarves and other accessories.
Watch the weather forecast each day to see whether your child should be wearing short sleeves or long sleeves, shorts or jeans. Some parents appear to have decided that layering clothes on their children is the way to go. In theory this sounds good, but in practice that hooded sweatshirt goes on and comes off and on and off all day long. It may come off in gym and be left there, never to be reclaimed. It appears most children suffer from clothing amnesia and the overflowing lost and found boxes in schools all over the country are proof that this condition exists.
Children should always be sent to school in athletic shoes. When kids come to school in dress shoes, they are in danger of slipping on waxed hallway floors and on the stairs and also end up wasting much time changing in and out of their Sunday best shoes.
One of the biggest favors you can do for your child’s teacher is to teach him to tie shoelaces. No matter how securely you tie or even double tie your child’s shoes before he leaves home, you can bet that the teacher will have the honor of re-tying the shoes about 20 times during the school day. Multiply that by 25 students, and you can see that not much will be accomplished during the day other than making sure laces stay tied.
In lieu of teaching your child to tie, you may want to buy him athletic shoes with velcro or stretchy straps.
Please do not send your child to school in sandals and please, please, PLEASE do not allow her to come to school with flip flops on. Flip flops represent such a great hazard while walking with other children and on stairways that the teachers in my grade level developed a flyer to send to parents explaining exactly why flip flops should be left at home.
Dresses are not recommended for school unless your daughter also wears leggings, tights or shorts underneath them. She may act like the perfect little lady at home, but at school perfect little ladies do somersaults, crawl on the floor and work their way across monkey bars on a regular basis without regard to the visibility of their undergarments.
The fit of your child’s clothing is also important. Pants that are too small often leave little to the imagination when she sits or bends over and pants that are too long become a tripping hazard. Of course, the proper size clothing will also keep your child comfortable all day long.
As you can see, keeping things simple is the best way to help your child have a safe and productive day at school.