Category

Children

Children, Families

How to Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Have you just forked out a small fortune on school shoes? Me too. The good thing is I have a few tricks up my sleeve to take care of your kid’s school shoes, so they last longer.

It’s back-to-school season. You’ve got the school uniform, the school supplies, and then you’ve spent an eye-watering amount of money on school shoes. Whilst kids are not known for their respect for footwear, the good news is that with a little bit of love and care, you can make your kid’s school shoes last as long as they fit in them.

How To Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Picture of school shoes on desk with stationery, and a blue text box that says how to take care of school shoes so they last longer.

Here are six tips I use to prolong the life of my kids’ shoes:

Label Them

Kids are notorious for losing stuff. When it comes to PE time, it’s easy for shoes to get lost or mixed up with others. Add a name label to the inside of each shoe, or simply write their name using a permanent marker on the inside. When this starts to fade, make sure to re-write their name. This is the first step in this guide because you can’t care for your school shoes and make them last longer if they are lost!

Use A Waterproof Spray To Make Them Last Longer

Waterproofing your school shoes is essential to help keep the elements out, and to keep them looking their best for longer. Water causes leather to shrink and it may dry the leather out over time, so it really pays to waterproof them.

Before you reach for any old waterproofing spray, bear in mind that some waterproof shoe sprays are better than others. Look for a PFC-free and fluorine-free waterproof shoe spray.

PFC stands for per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals, that are used to weatherproof clothing and shoes. This sounds innocuous, however, these chemicals accumulate in the environment. In fact, for some PFCs there is evidence that they cause harm to both the hormonal and reproductive systems in both humans and animals, as well as being carcinogenic. They’re often referred to as forever chemicals, because of how persistent they are in the environment. Greenpeace has written more on the issues of PFCs if you wish to find out more.

I’ve been using this PFC-free spray from Wildling Shoes. In the interests of full disclosure, this was gifted to me as part of a previous campaign I worked with them on but was under no obligation to include them in this post. I reapply this spray on a regular basis for best results: it’s not something you can spray on once.

If They Do Get Wet, Dry Them Properly

Kids’ shoes get wet, these things happen. When their shoes do get wet, don’t dry them on a radiator or other heat source, or in a tumble dryer. Instead, the best way to care for your kid’s school shoes is to crumple up sheets of newspaper into balls, and pop them into the shoes. Then allow the shoes to dry naturally. The newspaper will absorb the water, and won’t cause the leather to crack or dry out.

Care for Your School Shoes with Polish

School shoes get scuffed. It’s a fact of life. The easiest way to care for them is to buy a scuff cover. These products quickly and easily cover scuff marks, and help restores colour and shine, to help keep your shoes looking smarter for longer. I don’t have any specific recommendations yet – I’m trying out a few different ones. However, I will update in due course which ones I feel work the best. If you have any recommendations then I’m all ears!

Tackle Nasty Niffs Naturally

If your kid’s shoes start to develop an unpleasant odour, then fear not. You can tackle these bad smells naturally with bicarbonate of soda. Simply sprinkle in a little bit of bicarbonate of soda (enough to cover the insole). The next morning, empty out the bicarbonate of soda. The odour should be gone.

Keep Them Clean

To care for your kid’s school shoes, don’t let dirt and mud settle on them. Giving them a good wipe, with a soft damp cloth, at least once a week (or more) helps the dirt from becoming ingrained. Occasionally you may want to bust out the leather cleaner. I’m working on a homemade leather cleaner as we speak. In the meantime, shop-bought leather cleaners can easily be picked up. I like to use a soft brush and cloth, in conjunction with the wax to really get them clean and keep them conditioned.

Any further tips on taking care of kid’s school shoes? Do pop them in the comments below!

Babies, Children, Families

Eco-Friendly Potty Training Tips & Advice

eco-friendly potty training
This post contains affiliate links denoted by *

After potty training both of my kids I thought it might be useful if I wrote about our eco-friendly potty training process – from how we did it to what we used in case anyone is about to embark on potty training now or in the near future.

And if this post isn’t for you then there are a ton of other posts in my archives! ;) Here’s a load of food waste tips, for example!

As well as from an environmental perspective, I find potty training kids the eco-friendly way is much easier. In regular pants or washable training pants, your kid knows if they have an accident because their pants are wet. The packs of pull up training pants you get in the supermarket are just nappies, rebranded slightly. As they are so absorbent, kids don’t know when they are wet so it makes the potty training job 10 times harder. Don’t make what can be a tedious job even harder on yourself!

Our Eco-Friendly Potty Training Tools

washable potty training pants
Our Tots Bots Training Pants

A kid doesn’t need much to potty train. Some big kid pants and a step stool is pretty much all you need. The step stool allows little kids to get on and off the toilet, and to reach the sink to wash their hands. You might want a few extras but there’s no need to go crazy.

I personally like using potty training pants for the first month or so after potty training, especially when you are about and about. Most potty training pants hold one wee, so they give you that extra piece of mind that you won’t be standing in the supermarket in a puddle of wee. That being said, they are by no means an essential – if you want to just use regular pants then that is great.

If you are going down the washable training pants route then this is what we used:

L-R: Tots Bots, Bright Bots & Pop In Pants

2 x Tots Bots Potty Training Pants (sadly unavailable)

Sadly the Tots Bots Training Pants appear to have been discontinued, which is a real shame because they were my favourite to use. They button up on both sides, which means if your kid accidentally does a number two then they are easy to get off without getting poo everywhere. I bought these when I was potty training my eldest over five years ago, and tried to buy some more pairs for my youngest. They are well worth looking out for on cloth nappy buying and selling groups.

2 x Bright Bots Training Pants*

A bargain at £3.50, the Bright Bots pants are pretty basic and I found them to be quite tight fitting, but they do the job nicely for not a lot of money. Sturdy too – they held up to two rounds of potty training!

3 x Pop In Daytime Training Pants

I bought the Pop In Daytime Training Pants this time around, when I couldn’t find any more Tots Bots Pants. My daughter really loved the funky prints on them and they did their job quite nicely. You’ll need to cut off the absurdly long label from the back of them as this gets annoying very quickly, and I do feel the pattern fades quickly in the wash, but otherwise a good pair of toddler potty training pants.

As you can see, I had seven pairs of potty training pants which was sufficient for us. I always popped a few pairs in their nursery bags in case of accidents at nursery.

Potty, Kids Toilet Seat and Step

Some people like to get their kids to start off going on a potty, others like to skip straight to using the toilet. I personally started my kids off on the potty and then made the transition to the toilet.

We use a toilet seat at home as it means my daughter can go to the toilet unaided. We don’t carry it with us when we are out and about – I just help her. Depending on your toilet and your kid, you might not need one.

If you need to pick a potty up, then ask around – a friend or family member might have one sitting in a cupboard. If not, then kids charity shops and eBay are awash with second-hand equipment, such as potties and toilet seats. Give them a good clean first, obviously. I have seen some “biodegradable” potties on the market, but I have no idea how biodegradable these actually are, so exercise caution.

How To Get Started

Once your child has started showing signs of being aware, somewhere around age 2-3, that they have a wet or soiled nappy, or an interest in using the potty then cancel all your plans for 3 or 4 days and stay home. Stock up on food shopping – it’s best if you don’t go far.

Strip off your kid’s bottom half, and roll up any rugs. If you have carpets, put something waterproof down and lay out some floor based activities. I then bust the juice out (a treat!) and keep my little one well hydrated.

Every twenty-five minutes (yes, it will drive you completely crazy), ask your kid if they need the toilet. Set a timer in case you forget! It feels a bit of a hard slog, constantly asking about the toilet. For me, the promise of a glass of wine at the end of the day worked for me, but you do what works for you. You will get there and regain your sanity, I promise!

Offer completely over the top praise to your kid for going on the potty. Get everyone in the family onboard in offering praise. Offer chocolate or a sticker on a sheet as a reward for every successful potty usage. I used chocolate. No shame. No regrets.

After a couple of days you can go up to asking every 45 minutes. And after a few weeks your kid will be able to tell you when they need the potty. And believe me, they will. Sometimes when they don’t even need the potty (generally at bedtime).

If after a week or two, and your kid doesn’t seem to be getting the hang of using the potty, then put things on hold and try again in a little while. If they are not ready then it’s really not worth the hassle.

That’s my guide to eco-friendly potty training – I’m happy to help with any questions you have! Some parents have asked me before if using cloth nappies can help your kid to potty train faster than disposable nappy wearers. I would say, from my experience, it all depends on the kid. My oldest daughter potty trained at two, in a day. My youngest potty trained at three, and it took several weeks. Luck of the draw I guess!

If you have any other eco-friendly potty training tips then do ask away!