This week is Sport Relief. Great campaign, great cause. On Friday, immersed halfway through the school newsletter (which incidentally only gets sent via email so is often missed) there was a small paragraph instructing parents that children should ‘dress up as their favourite sports star.’ Excellent. Let’s see who my 5 year old daughter’s favourite sports star is shall we?

Answer: Sports star? What is that Mummy? Do they wear actual stars? Right then.

So, in defiance of the school demands and due to the short notice, I sent her in in her school uniform; to show them that no I would absolutely not be dictated to at the last minute like this… Except I didn’t do that. Because obviously the only person losing out then would my daughter.  So again; there I was the night before desperately trying to cobble something together.

Class Assembly Demands

The previous week was worse. ‘Please can the children come in wearing explorer clothes on Friday for the class assembly…’ the email cheerily stated. Erm… What? Ok I’ll just have a dig around in my daughters dressing up box to see what I can find shall I? My 5 year old daughter who owns every single Disney Princess outfit that was ever made. My daughter who quite simply refuses to wear anything other than a dress most days. I’ll have a look to see if I can find a stray explorer hat or khaki cargo suit shall I?!

School demands

You see I’m all for making education fun, I really am. School trips even; great. Admittedly, the letter that states that the cost of the trip is voluntary and then makes it clear that you have to go to the School Business Manager with a 5 page case file about why you can’t pay if you choose not to, is slightly annoying. But still, the trips are educational and important. I get that. But jeez these dressing up days.

World Book Day Demands

I mean, we are only just getting over the stress of World Book Day (revisited obviously – the weather snowed on our parade the first time around). My daughter of course insisted that she go as Matilda as she fell in love with the dress (you see what I mean) that she saw in Tescos (obviously she caught me on a particularly weak, screaming baby and where the hell has the 3 year old gone moment). At the time I was feeling pretty smug as the costume was sorted weeks in advance. Smug until she informed me that she had to have actually read the book of the character she was going as. Shit. Oh god why didn’t I persuade her to go as the Gruffalo? Or Wheres Wally? (even better). So night after night in the weeks leading up to the big day, both my husband and I read chapters of Matilda to her. I’m not sure if anyone has ever tried reading this book to a 5 year old before but honestly, some of the analogies and metaphors in it left even me confused. And on the big day when she arrived at School, everyone just assumed she was Alice in Wonderland anyway. Sigh.

School demands

Too Much?

So why am I ranting about these dress up days? Well, a big bugbear I have with it is the short notice. I mean is there any chance of a bit of a heads up at the start of term maybe guys? Or even a couple of weeks before? Because being a working parent it means I have a job. A job outside of school runs and PTA requests (not that parents that don’t work aren’t busy, as let’s face it, parenting is the hardest most busiest job of all) which means that I cannot drop everything at a days’ notice to run to ‘Knit and Natter’ club to spend hours hand crafting my darling child a costume.

Alongside this, what about the financial element? Ok so we might be in a position where we can (just about) afford to do it, but what about those parents who are not? It’s all very well saying that children can dress up if they want to, but what child wouldn’t want to? What child would choose to set themselves apart from the crowd and come to school in uniform when everyone else was dressed up as explorers, or cowboys or unicorns or whatever the chosen theme for the latest dress up day was? Is this too much pressure on parents to fork out on costumes and props for fear that their child might otherwise be subject of ridicule by their peers for non-conformity? Fingers crossed the next dress up occasion is for the royal wedding as, well, I think we may have that one covered.

What do you think? Are school demands becoming too much? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Kayleigh x

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40 Replies to “When School Demands Get Too Much – Enough of the Dress Up Days Already…

  1. My son is the one who never dresses up. He does for sports relief (and sports week they have in the summer), but that’s easy because ours just do sports wear, nothing in particular. Although reception year sports week was interesting – wear sportswear for the week. Err, apart from swimwear and PE kit he didn’t have any. I had to go and buy suitable sports shorts (hard without spending a fortune). They just assume everyone has football kit, but it wasn’t just him. Thankfully he now plays tennis so has that sportswear, and is happy enough answering back if anyone questions a plain pair of shorts and t-shirt (tennis or golf!)

    World book day he’s refused to dress up (until this year, Wimpy Kid. Except it was cold and snowy so his white t-shirt was under several layers, and he forgot to take his mask to school). Other days are mostly pj days here so that’s easy.

    I do think it’s hard for parents if their children like dressing up, and they should give plenty of notice. Most days here are in the school calendar or you know from a previous year. WBD was a surprise because we’d planned George’s marvellous medicine, then they announced there was a theme – Disney (!!!!) or books made into films. Hence the change to Wimpy Kid. #coolmumclub

    1. I can’t believe they decided on an additional theme for WBD! To be honest, Disney would have been ideal for us but I guess not as easy if your little one isn’t obsessed with Disney princesses!! 😂 x

  2. I teach at my daughters’ school and still get side smacked with random emails. Tomorrow she needs 100 of something for the 100th day party. Tomorrow is PJ day….tomorrow is …….Ah! Enough already. #coolmumclub

    1. Ooh we had he 100 day party too- I thought that was just our school! We ended up with a necklace with 100 beads which she took to school and broke. Needless to say said necklace was a few beads short of the 100 after that! X

  3. I hear you, I really do…we have two kids at two settings (school and nursery, not linked) and the double whammy of dates and dress up’s do my head in too! The Mums on the school whatsapp group also get their knickers in a twist too, but there is part of me we all put too much pressure on ourselves. Just chuck something together and use what you’ve got…although I am one of those ‘no job other than school run’ Mums lol! (no offense taken, you are right – too much time on our hands!)
    Thanks for linking to #coolmumclub

    1. Ooh no honestly- I work three days a week and those days BY FAR are the easiest most stress free days of the week! 😉 I too have one in nursery and this year because the school WBD post postponed I (incorrectly) assumed the nursery one had been too… WRONG! I just can’t keep up! Xx

  4. I just remembered why I homeschool! 😂 Seriously though, all those dress up days are a bit much, and can’t be easy on your wallet, especially seeing as they’re being so specific – why would a Disney Princess obsesssed little person have a ranger outfit lying around? 🙈 #BlogCrush

  5. I am so glad we are past this stage. I hated it and always moaned at the lack of notice and the phrase ‘don’t buy anything use what you already have’ we don’t already have it so I have to go and buy it! You have my sympathies it really is too much at times isn’t it! #pocolo

  6. I used to work in the U.S. as a teacher, and yes, dress-up days can be TOO much…not only for the kids and the parents but also for the teachers. I had to constantly help them “fix” their costumes in the middle of the lesson. #BlogCrush

  7. Some schools are better than others. The Tubblet’s junior school limited dress up days and trips weren’t that expensive. The secondary school is very good at springing stuff on us and some of the trips are quite pricey. No one wants to be the parent who says no but we don’t have that sort of money

  8. My daughter loves to dress up so when there are days when they are supposed to wear a certain theme, if we don’t have anything that fits, she just wears something else. For sports team day last month she wore a vampire dress. It was fun seeing the looks on people’s faces at pick up time #triumphanttales

  9. I hated the dress up days when my girls were younger. Now I have one in secondary school and another who doesn’t want to dress up as she’s in the last year of primary I think I miss them. They can get too much though. I remember scouring the charity shops one year looking for a green t-shirt as my teen needed one. I couldn’t find one but afterwards they were all I could see. lol x #PoCoLo

  10. It does seem like too many demands I totally agree. It is good for children to let their imagination a run wild and dress up but with such specific criteria is it really that creative? #sharingthebloglove

  11. I have always left the dress-up until the last minute. I should have learned from the first World Book Day dress-up when Big Boy was at daycare nursery. That evening before World Book Day was the very first time I had EVER heard of World Book Day. And I can’t sew. I ended up cobbling something together late into the night. And using inappropriate glue so the poor infants in nursery must have been as high as kites the following day. 6 year on and I still haven’t learned my lesson.#thesatsesh

  12. school demands are too great, it should be optional and a lot more fun if the class teacher had activities with the children helping them make masks or headdresses they could wear appropriate for the activity, far more interactive and less stressful for the parents

  13. I can’t complain about the short notice with our nursery – at the start of the year we were given 2 A4 sheets with all of the dress up days clearly stated. My issue is with the sheer number of them! It’s not just world book day for us, so far we’ve had dress in brown and beige for pancake day, red and yellow for Spanish day, green red and white for Iranian day, green for St Patricks Day, and next week we need to send them in pastel colours and an Easter bonnet. It’s ridiculous! Most people don’t seem to bother as far as I can see, apart from for the big ones like World Book Day. I don’t think they realise how difficult it is for parents, and especially when you have a child like mine who doesn’t like dressing up! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  14. Yes I really think they are! A couple of friends and I were bemoaning the fact that while we love the message of world book day being bookworms ourselves we HATE that it has turned into such a dressing up circus – with everyone feeling the pressure – kids and parents alike. Thanks for linking up to #thesatsesh xx

  15. I’ve not experienced this yet and unlikely to as we’re planning to home school – i think I’d be excited for the first one, but it would get very old very quickly! Maybe schools should have a dressing up store and let the children choose their costume from school rather than putting the onus on the parent. They’d get to use their creativity to make the costume they want from what’s available, or imagine what each costume could be for them! #BlogCrush

  16. Ah yes, I am totally with you. It is way too much. Last week we had Goldilocks and the three bears and Cygnet had to take a teddy bear into school each day, he had to dress up for an ‘international and multicultural day’ that the school had arranged and then I had to cook some ‘international food’ for the international food event that again the school had arranged. Cygnet loved it of course, but then his life is a whirlwind of excitement, dressing up, teddy bears and food (mainly cake). My life is a whirlwind of stress because I am trying to keep up with all of this stuff. Pen x #AnythingGoes

  17. We’re not at school age yet but this is a common complaint among my friends. And I remember my mum moaning about it when I was younger too. I’d always lose the letter and as a result she’d be scrambling around last minute to find what I wanted to wear! #twinklytuesday

  18. It can be a bit much. My daughter is in nursery and even then there are days that she needs to dress up or take something in. Like you it’s often hidden half way down a newsletter. I’m now wondering if I need to make an Easter bonnet? Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  19. We’ve only had World Book Day for days that they have to go dressed up. All the other days have been wear a particular colour, which is normally ok, but still sometimes a challenge. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  20. Our Small Boy is only two so still in nursery and I’m already bored of the various requests to dress up or make stuff for events. I don’t mean to be bah humbug but I think it’s fierce pressure on parents sometimes, most of whom are working and don’t have five minutes to have a decent shower, let alone whip out a sewing machine and rustle up some fancy dress. I don’t remember doing any of this when I was in school and I don’t remember it doing any harm. Social media doesn’t help of course with endless photos of other parents going “ooh look at this hand made Easter bonnet I made from wool I spun myself and fairy dust.” I’m not ashamed to say I bought some bits from Asda and superglued them on – as my instagram evidences! #AnythingGoes

    1. Haha this made me chuckle. Instagram has a lot to answer for. I often think thank god my children are too you to see it though, as my cobbled together outfits are no match for the insta super mums! X

  21. Oh my God I could have written every single word of this myself. Including the fact that my daughter will only wear dresses. Thankfully our school is usually a little more broad in it’s dress up demands but the demands are always last minute. With the approach of world book day some of us mums got our class rep to find out what was going on. We knew it was coming and presumably so did the school, so why couldn’t we know in advance. Like you say, it’s the prep. I don’t work but my schedule is still preplanned and tight. Trying to fit in a last minute dash to the shops is just a pain in the butt! Fortunately Ellie wanted to go as the witch from Room on the Broom. She had to take the book in with her too so I may have persuaded her with that one… Old halloween costume and book I could quickly locate! Win win.
    But the money too! This week we have ANOTHER bake sale. Which is a week after a disco where I spent a small fortune. It is never ending.
    Thank you for joining #ThursdayTeam

    1. Tell me about it – we’ve just received another letter – a fancy dress fun run this time (now she cant do that in a princess dress can she?!) Room on the Broom is a great idea though – I might consider that when I’m (no doubt) buying a Halloween costume this year! x

  22. We are pretty lucky in that our school keeps dress up days to a minimum and does non uniform for most charity days. Which is a bonus for me as my eldest hates to dress up. In my view just send them in what they are comfortable in. What awful teacher is going to single out a child for not coming dressed as a book character anyway? Extra themes are totally unnecessary and just sucks the life out of parents. Having agonised over these things with my eldest who would not conform has taught me to just do what we are comfortable with. Although I did hand make a furry orange onsie for my middle child to go as The Lorax for WBD this year. I sacrificed most of my time on an evening to do it so when the snow hit I could have cried. Luckily the school battled on and stayed open. Once a year I don’t mind putting in the effort but more than that and I would be making a serious complaint. Your little girl looked gorgeous as Matilda and hopefully she will appreciate the book more when she is older. #sharingthebloglove

  23. I stand in awe at the costumes you mums create these days. On one hand you have google to help out – you should have seen my attempt at ox horns 26 years ago hahaha! On the other hand – the pressure is real – I blame instagram for this! There must come a time when enough is enough. It’s cute for the rest of us tho I have to say ;O) xx

  24. There does always seem to be something doesn’t there? I don’t want to speak too soon but we have only had one dress up day so far and that was World Book Day. Last year at nursert I was so unorganised and felt so guilty that I vowed never to be that Mum scowering the supermarket the night before for a costume so I had the date firmly in my diary for 12 months so I was well prepared. I can’t guarantee that will happen every year, however! I’m yet to see what happens at school as he gets older but there does seem like an awful lot of pressure on parents to supply these things when it might not be financially viable for them to do so. Great post! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales.

  25. My children aren’t at school/nursery yet so we haven’t had to go through a million dress up days in a year! I agree it is a bit much! Who has time (or money) to sort a new costume out a week on top of the expectations of homework and reading etc. No parent likes to disappoint their children and unfortunately I think this attitude sets some up to do so. Especially, as you mentioned, those cannot afford to! x #sharingthebloglove

  26. My son is in Reception and so far the only dressing up has been WBD (and quite few non-uniform days). The problem we have is that he doesn’t really like dressing up, and he likes seeing other people, especially grown ups, dressed up even less, so the whole WBD experience was a very stressful one for him – I don’t think schools really consider that either. #SharingTheBlogLove

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