It feels like yesterday that my little baby girl was starting school – how have we got so near to the end of term so quickly?
5 minutes ago Little H was waiting at the school gates in her oversized uniform, clinging onto my hand as tightly as she could. Now in her summer dress that’s already a bit too short and a cardigan that doesn’t button up because it’s a bit snug, she runs off into breakfast club without even a backwards glance every morning.
I’m not sure which part has made me more emotional actually, her starting school back in September or the fact that she’s almost done her first year and won’t even be one of the ‘little ones’ soon.
Like most of the other children, mine seems to have taken the whole thing in her stride – it’s the parents (mainly mums of course) who have found it harder to deal with.
Here’s what to expect if you have a child starting school soon…
“What did you do today?”
Just accept that from day one you’ll have absolutely no idea what your child gets up to all day. Any questions will be answered with “Nothing” or “Can’t remember” – even if you ask them as soon as they come out of school. When you do get a tiny bit of information you’ll need to play 20 questions to make any sense of it.
The only bits you will hear all about will be what everyone else has been up to. I get tales of who was naughty, who pushed who in the playground, and who is on the “darkest cloud” and had to sit on the “thinking chair”. What my own child did though is anyone’s guess – maybe I need to confer with the other parents.
Muuuum I’m starving!
As soon as they get through the door they’ll want feeding and won’t stop eating until they go to bed. My daughter has breakfast, a morning snack and a cooked lunch at school but will still find room for sandwiches, crisps, fruit, biscuits and her dinner. If I don’t have a snack ready in the car when I pick her up then we have trouble.
Making new mummy friends
Whether you want to or not you’ll have to make friends with some of the other school mums. You can of course stand in the playground at home time on your own and not talk to anyone, but if you don’t want to be the outcast at the endless birthday parties every weekend then you’ll need to make small talk and get to know some of the other parents.
You probably thought doing your homework when you were a kid was a chore, but that’s nothing compared to getting your own child to do theirs! You can’t blame them really, 6 hours of school is a lot for such little people, and the last thing they want to do when they get home is more of it. Same goes for the weekends, it should be a break from school work. However, I don’t want to be the parent who never gets the homework in on time so ours is usually a last minute rush at Sunday dinner time.
Buy a diary!
Between the homework projects, cake sales, dress up days, assemblies and sponsored charity events you will need to buy some kind of diary/calendar/life organiser just to keep up with everything. Having a child at school is a job in itself.
Parents evening is a bit daunting, and definitely makes you feel like a “proper grown up” – especially when your child’s teacher is clearly much younger than you are. On the other hand you will never have felt so proud as when your child’s teacher (hopefully!) tells you how well they are doing and what a lovely child they are.
Your child will grow up incredibly quickly. They have so many responsibilities at school, combined with having to be so much more independent compared to pre-school, that by the end of the first school year they will seem like a completely different person to the one who started in September. It’s a good different though!
On the whole though it is a great experience, even though it’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster at times, and I do really enjoy seeing what she has learnt and attending the school assemblies and performances.
If your child is starting school in September I hope it goes smoothly for both of you. Just be prepared for a lot of change!