School's back this week for most.. and many parents will be exhaling a big sigh of relief after such a long break.
I don't mind the holidays, I quite like having the kids at home and not having that crazy morning rush for breakfast, uniforms, bags, packed lunches.. it's quite nice for them to sleep in and for parents to get a break from the daily grind of extra curriculars, homework supervision, etc.
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But it's tough when we're back at work and they're still at home. It makes the struggle to juggle that little bit more complex.
Parents are less relaxed and more stressed, kids are getting bored, even they want to get back to routine and their mates.
But the costs at this time of year are huge. I was not surprised to read over the weekend that many parents are irate at uniform costs.
I'm glad parents are speaking up about it. The costs are excessive, and it doesn't seem to matter what decile school you go to, the costs are too high.
And of course it comes at a terrible time of year budget-wise for many, right on the back of Christmas - it's tough.
The advice I read was that parents should agitate their boards of trustees about uniform costs, and I hope more parents do.
In a recent survey, 50 per cent of parents said they felt worried or overwhelmed about organising kids for back to school.
Because it's not just uniforms is it? It's also books, stationery, calculators, sports gear, the extra curricular stuff. It all adds up.
Sixty-four per cent of parents said they'd made sacrifices to be able to afford school uniform items. Fifty-nine per cent said their kids would have to wear their old uniform for another year.
I don't know why schools don't offer more variety in suppliers to purchase uniforms. It seems a rort that uniform shops can dictate their own prices because it's literally the only place you can buy it.
That exclusivity means no competition which means higher prices.
Often the quality is questionable. I know one of the schools our kids attended had a run of bad shirts with buttons endlessly popping off and it wasn't until enough parents complained that they did something about it.
But also the second hand market – I can see why uniforms are so hard to get second hand. It's lack of availability. And you can see why. If the prices for new ones are so excessive, parents are keeping their kids in older uniforms for longer. By the time they do upgrade, those old uniforms are unlikely to be in good enough condition to onsell.
I don't have much confidence the Education Ministry is looking to do anything about it anytime soon either. It says it's "investigating.. but not looking to subsidise uniform costs".
So the only solution for parents it would seem, is to keep up the pressure on school boards of trustees to do something about it.