Starting School – Some helpful tips
With about a week left to go I’ve started the Back to School prep. With our boys going into years 2 and 4 we are no strangers to this now! Yet this year it all feels a little different, a little strange. This year their little sister joins them! I cannot even begin to explain how this feels, how is it time for our baby to be starting school?!
For some of you this September will be your first time, the beginnings of your child’s school life. Becoming a school parent is a very odd feeling indeed. You’re prepared for it, you’ve bought the uniform etc, but it was almost like the summer would last forever and you’d put this date far out of your mind. Yet here we are, nearing the end of summer. It’s time for them to leave us.
(For those of you without a new starter you’re probably ready for a celebration, you survived the 6 week slog! Haha. I’ll miss my boys, we’ve had some amazing times this summer but I know they’re eager to get back to their friends.).
So new school parents I’ve been here twice before. Been to all the open evenings, fetes, school plays and sports days! There’s so much to look forward to and you’ll be truly amazed by all the new things that they’ll be eager to tell you about. These are the things we all know about, the things we remember from our own childhoods. I want to share some insights about the first few weeks plus share some helpful tips too. Got your cuppa ready?
Be prepared for mood swings.
I don’t recall anyone mentioning this to me before our boys started school but here it is. Your child is most likely going to be an emotional mess for a good few weeks! Knowing this is coming is going to give you the chance to think about how you’d like to prepare. They’ve worked so hard to concentrate, behave and listen at school. Then they get home and it’s like it all bursts out of them! They may cry, shout, seem frustrated and they’re going to be tired.
How can you help you child through this time?
Consider an earlier than usual bedtime. Bring forward their dinner and perhaps even just do a really simple tea after school. The first week or so is physically and emotionally draining.Don’t bombard them with questions the moment you see them. I’ve been there, I literally want to know every detail straight away! But it’s too much.
Wait until later to ask a couple of more interesting conversation starters like – Can you tell me about something that made you laugh today?What does school smell like? Does the toilet stink?! (Toilet humour, usually gets a giggle!) Or even don’t mention school at all, wait for your child to start the conversation.
Do everything you can to make life easier!
Prep bookbags and lunch boxes the night before. (Reception to Year 2 school dinners are free, whoop!)
Lay out clothes the night before.
Decide on your new morning routine and start it a few days before school starts, you could even put up photo prompts.
Start a little jar of change for the inevitable non uniform days and bake sales!
Walking to school
Since moving in January our new school run is now 25 minutes. Because of this I need to be prepared. If it was to suddenly be pouring with rain I need to ensure I can get all the children to school without being soaked for the day! So that means all having a raincoat and welly boots, check they haven’t outgrown them! Mine just have, brilliant! We have bought the fold up into a pocket raincoats from Matalan which will stay in their book bags. Won’t be caught short on the walk home then! Being that our walk is fairly long I also wanted to make sure that April has a good solid enclosed style school shoe. So happy to have found the perfect pair in Clarkes! We usually go down the supermarket route for shoes but her feet are so dinky and slim. My intention is for us all to walk but April is a little thing so if she’s tired the stroller is still here if we need it. Don’t be afraid to make your life easier with things like this, nobody else needs to deal with your tired children, simply do what you need to do.
Walking to school also means a lot of items to carry, especially on the first day and at end of each half term. Of course I like to encourage to carry their own bits and pieces but again, I’m all for making life easier. Less moaning means less of a headache for me! I’m also totally in love with my shopping trolley (yes you read that right haha!) for the crazy bringing everything back to school days. I’ll just walk along with my little smug face with no bags digging into my hands!
This year we’re going back to school with book bags that have straps, yay! I actually bought them in July so they have been used and we love them. Even if I end up carrying them, still much easier! To save money I buy our non branded book bags from eBay.
ANNNDDDDD my best find last year was Bottle Buddi! They are amazing. They are a simple little holder for your bottle that poppers onto a book bag handle. The perfect place for their bottle with no risks of leaking onto the books inside (Has happened so many times!) or having to carry a bottle separately… Hooray! Now you may be thinking, just take a backpack. But our school and many others prefer you don’t due to storage space. Yeah I know it’s annoying, but there it is. I contacted Sarah at Bottle Buddi and she’s kindly given me a 10% discount code for you to use.
“Sarah10” – Valid until Friday 31st August
It’s going to be a roller-coaster of a ride but just like all the stages that came before, you have this! Be prepared for the mood swings, the tiredness and oh I forgot to mention the after school hunger… Literally like they haven’t eaten ALL day! A little healthy snack for the trip home will go down a treat.
Just before I go I just want to remind you to look after yourself too. Make sure you have breakfast, especially if you’re walking like us. It’s so important to give yourself the energy you need. Comfy shoes and welly boots at the ready for you too! A raincoat is also really handy as dealing with children and umbrellas, annoying! Treat yourself to some fluffy welly boot socks for the wet winter mornings and a hood that has a drawstring so it doesn’t fall down. Oh the glamour!
The first few weeks are all so very new for you and your child. Lots of cuddles as well as space when needed. Our eldest loves to have some alone time after school which I didn’t realise when he was in reception. I’d been bombarding him with questions as soon as I saw him, poor boy! Before you know it this new routine will become your norm, they’ll make new friends and so will you. Good Luck for your first days next week, bite those wobbly lips and send your child in with a smile. Then rush out of the school gates for a good cry and some chocolate!
If you’d like to mark this very special time with some gorgeous outdoor portraits then look no further! I’ll be running some Natural School Portrait sessions in the Highwoods area. Keep an eye on my Facebook page for dates.