Does your child have meltdowns over school uniforms? In my last blog I talked about some ways of helping reducing any anxiety your child may have about starting either school for the first time, or changing schools. Today is about the uniform.
This is often a contentious issue for children and adolescents I have seen over the years. Uniforms by virtue of their name are meant to be an equalising factor in the school equation (see what I did there.. a maths reference..). They are also an important part of the branding for many schools.
But as we know not all children fit the one size fits all uniform. There are many reasons for this - sensory sensitivities is a major factor. It includes things like - this tie is strangling me, my jumper/pants are itchy, and I hate the feel of school shoes.
These issues can result in arguments between parents and children and students and their teachers. However, just a few simple tips can help avoid some of the frustrations that often arise with uniforms.
1. If your child has sensory sensitivities, it is a great idea to have them get used to wearing their school uniform, including the shoes and hat. If doing this doesn't work, it's time to sit down and negotiate some modifications with the school.
2. Where ever possible see if you can source second hand uniforms - much better for your finances and the environment. And often these are good to help with sensory sensitivities because they are softer.
3. Check what is compulsory and what isn't. Does your child want/need a variation?
Are girls allowed to wear 'shorts'? This is a common one that pops up. If it's not on the list, but is something your child wants to do - this is one worth a call with the school and possibly worth taking a stand on.
If you have a good reasons for requiring a modification to uniform most schools will understand. This can help prevent daily arguments and frustrations.
Also, your child may want/need to wear shorts during winter instead of long pants. Speak with the school and ask for permission. They can then give your child a note which they can use if they are questioned by other teachers as to why they are out of uniform. .
They may want/need to wear a long sleep top under their dress. Once again speak with the school. If you have a good reasons for requiring a modification to uniform most schools will understand. This can help prevent daily arguments and frustrations.
So, open up the communication with your child's school and keep it open. Having their allowed modification on record is important. These tips will need to be reviewed when the uniform changes from Summer to Winter.
ps If you have a child in the early years of school - Prep to Grade 4, you may be interested in our new community created to support your child's (and yours!) school journey. It has been designed to help your child thrive.
* My aim is for these posts is meant to useful, interesting and/or inspiring. They are not designed to be used for therapy.. If you are experiencing stress please contact your GP or mental health professional.
Kim Dunn is a Child Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds.