New school uniforms, shoes, lunchboxes, books, sportswear… preparing your child for going back for the new term is a costly and time consuming business so it’s little wonder that most parents start their planning before the summer holidays even begin.
The long lead up also helps spread the cost, which can easily run into several hundred euros for each child.
A new survey for Bord Gáis Energy found that 4 out 10 parents start planning for back to school before the summer term is over and long before they go on holiday. Six out of 10 buy new trainers for their children, and 7 out of 10 fork out for a new school bag.
Of course, it’s important to look cool at school so just over 5 out of 10 children will be returning for the autumn term with a new haircut.
Food is never far from children’s minds and 9 out of 10 of them will be going back to school with a lunch box packed by their parents. Fewer than 1 in 10 are allowed to pack their own lunches, with parents fearing that would involve too much junk food.
Eight out of 10 children will be tucking into homemade sandwiches with 9 out of 10 parents being careful to add fruit for healthy eating. Apples and strawberries are the most popular choice… of course, whether the children actually eat them is another matter.
Health is paramount in the choice of drink with more than 9 out of 10 parents packing a bottle of water… hardly any parents pack fizzy drinks, according to the survey.
Sportswear is on the shopping list for most pupils with 8 out of 10 taking part in after school activities at an average cost of €150 a year. Three out of 10 choose GAA football, 5 out of 10 choose soccer or hurling and 2 out 10 prefer speech and drama.
Claire Smith, Consumer PR Manager at Bord Gáis Energy, said: “Back to school is an exciting time for children with many sporting new haircuts, schoolbags and shoes for the big return.
“However, it’s also a busy and expensive time for parents and our customers are telling us that the planning starts months in advance, before the summer holidays even begin.
“It’s obvious the hard work doesn’t end at the school gate with lots to do each day from school drops, to preparing lunches, helping with homework and after-school activities.”