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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Things I Wish I'd Known When My Child Started School

Make a big fuss or pretend it's not a big deal? Collar the teacher and, if possible, the head, or avoid eye contact? And what do you wear on your child's first day at school? Such are the dilemmas of the new school starting mother.

Take The "Starting Big School Photo" At Home

Get that Facebook shot in with your decent camera before you leave home. This is an important photo. I'm pretty sure I got more "Likes" for my son's first day at school than his first day on the planet. Or you could do as I did: be late leaving the house, and hastily snap the poor boy against a scenic fence on the school path, fumbling with my phone as a stream of families jostled behind me. 

What To Wear

Your child's all sorted in his new kit, all with lovingly sewn-in nametapes (top tip: buy a laundry pen, people!). But what do you wear? So many messages you want to convey: to the other parents: "Hi, I'm lovely and approachable!", to the teacher: "I am lovely and approachable but say ONE WORD against my child and you shall know the wrath of Hades", and most importantly, to your child: "Everything is normal! See, I am wearing my cardi that you wiped your nose on last night". Throw in the mixed weather of September and it's a wardrobe quandary and a half. I had the decision taken out of my hands when my eldest started, as I was eight months pregnant, hotter than the sun, and unable to wear anything other than leggings and a vest with stains all over the bump that I could no longer see. In the end, of course, it doesn't matter. Because all the parents are looking at their own child, the teacher is trying to gauge the mass of wonderfulness s/he has to manage this year, and your child will be looking at your face. Which leads us to:

Should You Cry? 

Just try and stop yourself! It's a big day. Feigning nonchalance is going to fool no one. Just maybe hold in the full eye-squirt till they're safely in the door. And don't forget your tissues. Or, in your heavily pregnant state, your other child, who's been standing patiently (slightly gleefully?) waving for ages.  

You Will Know Nothing About Their Day

You know those daysheets you get from nursery, telling you when your baby did a poo and how much treacle tart he ate (always 2x for my children)? That chatty handover when you hear about how brave he was when a nameless child mistook him for a nail in Bob the Builder role play? No more. The teacher is busy. S/he is - quite rightly - prioritising learning the childrens' names and faces. Of course you can speak to the teacher if you have an important question, but on balance, it's advisable to play it cool, at least on the first day. You don't want to mark your - or your child's - card. I'm afraid that unless you have an unusually chatty child, you will know nothing about their school days. The only thing I gleaned from my eldest's entire Reception year is that, for lunch, he enjoyed "poo-poo pie". Every day for a year. (Yep, you never give up asking.)

They Will Come Out Starving

School meals - awesome! That will save me cooking! Good luck with that. Even if they had fish and chips with seconds of cake and custard, they will still want a full meal for tea. And that's just when you get home. I know it's not just my children who bay for snacks the second they see me in the school playground. This is a tricky one, on the first day. You want to spoil them rotten, but beware of setting a precedent. If you start off with a cupcake with two Flakes and a congratulatory Haribo edging, they will be a bit crushed the next day when you turn up with the last apple in the fruit bowl. 

It's Going To Be OK

Even though you don't know all the details, you can be assured that your child will have had a nice, gentle day playing, just for a bit longer than usual. Time doesn't have the same meaning to them as us. They are in good, professional, and (surely I'm not the only one to appreciate this?) someone else's hands. As I send my second baby off into the unknown, at least I have the consolation that he will be well-fed. On poo-poo pie.

Best of luck to everyone with little ones starting school this term!

I'm back to school with the blog after a lovely break 
over the summer. Hope you all had a fab time!


20 comments:

  1. Yay! You are back! We missed you!!!!!!!!

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  2. Yay you are back sweet cheeks! I love the summer and the kids and sending the eldest to Big School tomorrow. Thankfully the two babies have a bit more baby time yt until tehir poo-poo pie sessions :) Glad to see you back xxx

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  3. Urgh I can't spell can I. Loves you! xxx

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  4. Hurrah Jess welcome back, i have missed you! This will be me next week so thank you for the fabulous tips.
    I am still in denial and pretending i don't care :-/

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    1. Thanks Katie, it's nice to be back! Have missed you too! Enjoy your last few days of freedom. x

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  5. I forever fail at the traditional 'back to school' photo - usually only remembering a few days in. To be honest, your child will not care in years to come but in fact thank you for it. And I agree with you about the full meal being required upon returning from school - in fact mine are usually even more hungry after a full cooked school lunch! Welcome back Jess - hurrah! x x

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  6. Ohhhh gosh Z doesn't start till next year and I'm already about letting him loose in school. It's like setting my baby into the new world. I will try not to grab the teacher and demand what he ate / said / when he laughed / cried :)

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  7. I've another year before I need to worry about this, but I can imagine! Hope you've had an awesome break m'dear x

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    1. Cherish that little pre-schooler! Such a special year. Had a great break. Weird to be back. Nice to have the lovely welcome though, thanks! xx

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  8. Where have you beeeeen lady :) lol xxx welcome back anyhow ;) I shall be needing these tips in a couple of years time for sure! xx

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    1. Thanks for the lovely welcome back - has been a long time off! Looking forward to catching up. xx

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  9. Welcome back! Hope your son has a good first day of school. My second-born started last year a mere five days after turning four - he seemed so little! This year I am approaching tomorrow with ill-disguised glee - just me and the baby for a glorious six hours! Xx

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    1. Thanks Maddy! I feel the same - my baby won't know what's hit him having unadulterated mummy for a whole school day! xx

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  10. Ooh, this was well-timed: my eldest starts nursery this week and I'm feeling sick about it :-(
    So glad you're back! Hope you had a wonderful summer x

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    1. Good luck with it! Such a big step. Thanks for the lovely welcome back. x

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  11. Welcome back - I remember these starting days well - now it is all about throwing them in and hotfooting it back for tea and toast in peace. I'm a old hand xx

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  12. Ha! Brilliant! Little A began reception to day, so all of the above! Great to have you back. Hope you've had a great summer too! X

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  13. Good to have you back. Love these. We took our girl to school for her first day today and after having a quick squizz this morning at your post I took all our photos at home beforwe leaving so thanks for that :')

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  14. All I've learnt if my daughters first day is there was play dough

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  15. Yay, so glad you are back Jess! I missed you! Totally ditto on the starting school caper - I made a total hash of the first one starting, threw the middle one out of the car whilst barely stopping, and sobbed for three days solid when the little one started this week. I wish I'd had your advice to hand a bit earlier! Hope you are well luvvie xxx

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