Back to school 2017; new year, new term, new teacher, new school, new books etc. A lot of money has been spent buying school items for our children and in an effort to prevent their loss we have done a lot of labelling. Today we share tips on labelling personal items for your child as a safety measure.
Part of the growth of a child is exposure to social circles other than the home so as to stimulate their social skills. This means that there are play dates, Daycare, Kindergarten, Sunday School and sleep overs.
Dropping the child off to school, daycare or church is the easy bit because the backpack is organized. When they return, some things never get back home, some do (in bits or halves) and you end up with other peoples items (juice bottles and sippy cups). Pink is a common colour confusion culprit because every girl loves pink and pretty stuff.
Your child is still learning responsibility and so some items may get lost. Adulthood does not however come with automatic responsibility because even as adults we still lose stuff. A good way to help the child is by labelling their items. Labelling also helps the teacher, caregiver or host quickly identify and assign items to the rightful owners. Any kindergarten teacher can tell you rummaging through a pile of jackets when the school van is honking outside is not fun. I also label certain items of mine as an adult because I am territorial (labelled stapler, anyone?).
Growing up I remember my two sisters and I having very thick sweaters that had our names creatively knit in the middle. As we grew older and more conscious we would of course pray that we outgrow the sweaters but we soon realized the futility of this prayer because mum always went back to the same lovely lady (Aunty Florence) and got us bigger sweaters.
Parents’ efforts to label items for their children help a lot in identifying them and of course are a money saving strategy. However this prudent action may sometimes put your child at risk or in harm’s way and some considerations have to be made.
- LABEL DISCREETLY
Children trust easily and will respond to their name. I recently realized that the name Liam is a trending name when I called out for my nephew on the playground; a small boy came and stood looking at me. I asked him “Is your name Liam?” to which he nodded expectantly, still waiting innocently for the reason I called him. If your child’s name is labelled on their backpack in big letters, someone may call them and they may follow them. It is advisable to label in hidden places like inside the backpack or on the inside of a sweater’s neck collar.
- CONSIDER PLACEMENT
The location you chose to label your child’s item is very important. Detachable parts of clothing like instruction labels can come off by themselves or be removed by someone, erasing the item’s identity. It is also better to label the juice or water bottle itself rather than the covering lid.
- BE CREATIVE
To avoid using names, you can choose to use other creative ways to mark and identify your child’s items. Some parents use colour coded labels, symbols or initials. Make sure to also inform the teacher, caregiver or host of this unique identifying mark. I went to boarding school at the age of ten and I still remember my identification number (434) because it was on all of my items, sewn on by mummy dearest for good permanent measure.
- AGE APPROPRIATE
As children grow, their level of responsibility improves. A good way to foster this skill is to help them learn how to identify the labeling used on their items. When a sweater is lost a child should be able to tell the teacher that it had my name sewn in on the hem.
You do not want to make your child look like a walking billboard or a branded convict on the loose! Neatness and visual appeal should also be considered when labelling stuff.
So, what are your options?
- Get out the needle and thread and put some of those Home-Science skills to use.
- Iron-On Labels. These neat labels fasten onto garments using heat and can be found at uniform distributor shops. Tip – the more you buy, the less the cost.
- Sew-On Labels. These are ready made as well and are a good option for items that are not iron heat friendly e.g. socks. They can also be reused.
- Stick-On Labels. Great for frequently washed items like bottles and lunch boxes.
- The good old Felt-Pen. This is a great standby option. Some mums confess to walking around with one because you never know when you might need to label something (other than the child’s forehead – LOL 🙂 )