Top tips: What do I need to know/prepare for September starting reception?

(52 Posts)
shirleycat1 Tue 02-Jul-13 20:01:20

I'm sure this has been done lots of times before but please tell me your top tips for what I need to know, prepare, do... DS is starting reception in September and I've not really thought enough about it I don't think. Would be good to hear the voice of experience, do's and don't welcome.

Thanks in advance...

TeamEdward Tue 02-Jul-13 20:04:18

Practice getting uniform on and off (and PE kit!), especially shoes and plimsolls.

TeamEdward Tue 02-Jul-13 20:06:14

Make sure he can use a knife & fork if he's having school dinners, and can open wrappers if he's having a packed lunch.

Label EVERYTHING. With coats and jumpers label the collar but also write his name inside a cuff. If it goes "missing" you'll be able to claim what is rightly yours.

TeamEdward Tue 02-Jul-13 20:07:16

Pack spare pants a trousers, in a plastic bad, in his school bag. It's not uncommon for Reception children to have accidents.

Kbear Tue 02-Jul-13 20:07:42

your child will need a red t-shirt for sports relief, a yellow one for marie curie/hospice day, a white one to draw on for something or other day, you will need a massive arts and crafts box for make a costume dressing up as a whale/sea anemone/superhero/book character/film star/favourite animal day which will be, on average, once a month and you will need wipes in your handbag for cleaning shoes trod in dog mess on the walk to school, you will need an excel spreadsheet for remembering what to take in for school fetes, hampers, harvest festival, christmas, ooh, don't forget reindeer/Mary/Joseph/sheep/antelope/elephant costume for nativity

apart from that, it's a breeze

Kbear Tue 02-Jul-13 20:08:23

My DS is about to leave year 6..//!!!! laters!

All the little 'practicalities' of life - asking to go to the toilet, sorting himself out there, wiping his nose, getting clothes on and off - velcro is good for shoes, look at the fastening options on trousers, shirts, etc to check he can manage them. Dealing with a tray of food if he is having school lunches, or his lunchbox if he's taking a packed lunch.

Sitting quietly for a few minutes and listening to instructions. Being able and willing to at least try to follow them before giving up or asking for help grin

The big difference is that the teacher's attention as to be shared out between them all, so anything he can manage by himself helps him along.

TeamEdward Tue 02-Jul-13 20:09:08

grin Kbear!

Do a practice run of getting to school now, before they break up for the summer. Then your LO (and you!) won't be so shocked at the mad rush to the gate or for the last parking spot!

badfaketan Tue 02-Jul-13 20:14:44

Yes I was wondering about this..mainly about school uniform.
How many do I need of each thing?They are not fussy about it having the logo on so can buy it all from supermarkets.
Sorry if this is a stupid question but at the moment DS is so dirty he has to wear clean clothes every day so maybe it depends how much washing I want to do.
Do I need 5 of everything?!What have others done?.

sittinginthesun Tue 02-Jul-13 20:20:09

I tend to buy three jumpers per child (3 polo shirts for infants), and four pairs of trousers. Then I can do a colours wash on a Saturday and a Wednesday. I have to put them in clean tops every day, because they just attract dirt.

Buy your uniform now - M & S have a sale on uniform this week. I stop up on pants, vests, socks, PE kit etc at the same time and do it in one go online.

TeamEdward Tue 02-Jul-13 20:23:43

My Ds needs a clean shirt everyday - he is a walking dinner menu!
He gets through 3 pairs of trousers a week.

Don't spend top dollar on shoes. You'll only feel gutted when he's scraped them to oblivion three weeks into term. Reception children spend a lot of time on the floor!

Sprink Tue 02-Jul-13 20:28:11

My best advice would be to prepare yourself.

For example, do bring a hand tissue packet for the first day.

If your child has been at nursery school, don't expect the teacher or TAs to give you hour-by-hour synopses of your child's day at pick-up time.

Do keep a regular bedtime schedule, if not earlier than normal. Children become exhausted from all the learning.

Don't go in with all guns blazing--give the teacher a chance to become acquainted with your child. This is one of many years in the many (let's say 80) of your child's life. It isn't necessarily make or break.

Make new friends. (You, and your child.)

ShowOfHands Tue 02-Jul-13 20:43:44

Take a snack when you pick them up.

Put a keyring on their bookbag/PE kit so it's instant recognisable to them in a pile of identical bookbags/PE kits.

Learn how to make a walrus costume with 2 days' notice <sigh>

DD's in Y1 but in reception alone she had to dress up as a sheep, dragon, dog, narrator. Plus source a team t-shirt for sports day in requisite colours, white t-shirt for decorating, spotty items for dress like bloody Pudsey, union jack attire for jubilee day. Plus, bring a miniature green helicopter to school day, raise money for sick porcupines day and you must send 20p for the cake sale and 50p for non-uniform and £2 for the disco and swimming kit and reading book and recorder and library book and consent form for xyz and yes or no to a school trip and oh it's good fun. grin Use your calendar wisely.

TeamEdward Tue 02-Jul-13 20:48:44

I keep a jar by the front door with £2 coins and 50p coins (Breakfast club is £2.50, dinner is £2!)

PoppyWearer Tue 02-Jul-13 20:52:43

Also prepare yourself to walk into that playground and, hopefully, make some new friends!

My DD is now at the end of Reception year and I try to get to school a bit before pickup time so that I can have a natter with the other parents. It took a while (I am quite shy, play dates picked up in the second term) but I am really enjoying my newfound social life now and have met some fascinating people, who I will now hope to see on a daily basis for the next six years.

The downside of this is that it is harder to keep up with non-school friendships. My NCT group, for example, has started to drift a bit as our DCs all attend different schools and finding time to socialise now, with birthday parties from school, can be tough. Get used to having no time for anything.

Oh and don't moan about other kids, parents or teachers too vocally. It turns out in my neck of the woods that everyone knows everyone!

shirleycat1 Tue 02-Jul-13 21:03:23

Thanks for all these brilliant tips. He's pretty good at dressing himself and his uniform is easy pull on and off stuff. He is filthy generally about 15 minutes after his shower so I anticipate doing plenty of washing.

I like the key ring on his book bag idea.

Think he'll be having pack lunches but I'm a bit short in the ideas department there. Any good pack lunch box recommendations? I mean the actual box.

I'm dreading having to meet all the other parents. I'm a bit of a misanthrope and hate small talk.

And I guess I need to teach myself excel!

Thanks again. Keep them coming...

shirleycat1 Tue 02-Jul-13 21:05:16

Oh and regarding labels and lebelling - any recommendations?

PeanutButterOnly Tue 02-Jul-13 21:06:23

My DD (6) has been training her soon to start school brother (3) to sit crossed legged with his arms folded and his finger on his lip grin

TeamEdward Tue 02-Jul-13 21:20:01

I like the Sharpie laundry pens - no sewing or ironing required!

Ds has a lunchbox like this. The large compartment on the top has a drinks bottle it in, and the separate comparments mean I don't have to dig in the cupboard looking for small Tupperware for cut fruit or other small items.

Labelling - get a laundry pen (drycleaners should have them) and just write on the labels.
For DS I needed to ease 4 of everything - mid week wash so I had enough to do the week. Jumpers pretty much needed changing daily.

Packed lunches - get him a colourful character zip up thing from one of the supermarkets. Let him choose so he recognises it (and hopefully will want to carry it grin ). Then you have more flexibility with what goes in. Though you may find he wants the same each day.
I then put in the bags
* a sandwich (in a plastic box - this was no faff with clingflim, no rubbish and no crusts bouncing around the box afterwards)
* a yoghurt jelly (make up jelly with 75% yoghurt - if they spill it it bounces but they still get the calcium. I bought a load of extra Tommee Tippee pots to make it in and store in the fridge. Way cheaper than pots and far less messier/less rubbish).
* A selection of goodlies - from a few mini cheddars, to a bit of cheese, some grapes, dried apricots, cucumber, tomatoes; the odd illicit haribo. I used the blue plastic pots that I used for formular feeding - think they were Tommee Tippee too. Had 3 compartments so something different in each part.

I then had it easy on emptying the box. No rubbish, no yoghurt pot lids (of half eaten yoghurts) smeared all round everything.

Oh and teach your DS to shut the lid on his drink bottle when he has finished - so unfinished stuff does not leak everywhere.

And enjoy!

timtam23 Tue 02-Jul-13 21:28:26

I bought some iron-on labels which came highly recommended but they inevitably start to peel off sooner or later

Now I write on everything with a Sharpie pen

I was given a good tip for labelling trousers - turn them inside out & write the name on the white fabric lining of the pocket - it shows up really clearly and DS hasn't lost any trousers or shorts this year

We ended up with 6 of everything as DS needs a fresh set of uniform every day (comes home covered in paint, food and mud) and everything seems to come in packs of 2. I started with 4 of everything and it was a pain having to remember to put a wash on midweek (we don't have a tumble drier so in bad weather it was even more of a nightmare)

MrsPnut Tue 02-Jul-13 21:42:19

I agree with using a sharpie to add their name to everything but we also use the easy2name stick on labels for clothes and items. It does mean that everything she owns has a sticky label on it and they do survive the dishwasher too.

I agree also with practicing getting dressed and undressed, going to toilet by themselves and putting on coats and shoes. You will need to do a checklist in the playground each evening to ensure you have everything - that goes on until they are at secondary school and then you just shout at them for leaving their brand new coat on the bus for the third time in a term instead.

zipzap Tue 02-Jul-13 22:00:23

Try to get a lunch box with a shoulder strap as well as a handle and one that he can put a water bottle into easily - at our school, they have book bags that are more like music cases and just have a handle, plus a water bottle, plus a coat or jumper or bit of artwork etc etc and of course dc wants to hold hands and you end up needing hundreds of hands.

I've also got myself a dedicated reusable shopping bag from one of the supermarkets (one of those jute ones that go over your shoulders that I can use to stick in everything that needs to go to school - I have one for each dc. Then I can thrown in snack, water bottle, book bag, lunch bag, games kit if it needs to go back in, ditto wellies or coat etc etc. I also keep a few envelopes and a biro in there so if I'm running late in the morning I can sort out lunch money or whatever once we're at school. Means that there is a dedicated place once we are at home for all the school stuff to be, there is only one bag to pick up to go into the car in the morning and everything in one bag to bring home and then have hands free to hold dc's hand (see above).

Tesco make some good photo keyrings (The square or rectangular plastic ones are the ones I mean) that are like credit cards - so you can stick a picture on it of something they want - and if they are particularly attached to a favourite toy that you don't want to risk going into school but still want them to have some comfort from, then take a close-up picture of favourite toy and then turn that into the photo keyring. Then dc will still have favourite toy sort of with them in school but you don't have to worry about the actual toy being there, getting lost or damaged etc and also nobody else is likely to have the same keyring.

Get yourself several clothes marking pens and leave in useful places as you always find yourself with unmarked stuff that needs to go in despite having done the whole lot of your kit beforehand. I have one upstairs on my landing window (near the airing cupboard and where I put out the dc's clothes the night before, and near where they get dressed in the morning), one downstairs and one in the car. Ditto a black sharpie for labelling non-clothes gubbins that needs to go in. Then if names have faded or they are wearing mufti or whatever, you can just label as you need to.

Get used to getting everything out the night before that needs to go - uniform, bags etc assembled by the door, shoes ready, coat if needed... And whilst it might not be possible to get a lunch box ready the night before, see if there are any bits that you can do - make sure you've got enough clean little boxes, any biscuits/crisps/whole fruit/etc that doesn't hurt being in the lunch box overnight put there, anything that can be done in advance (ds used to like to have a pot of grated cheese so I'd do that and leave in the fridge, ditto a bag of chopped cucumber and pepper, plus he liked crackers so I'd put them in a little box in his lunch box waiting) and have water bottles there and ready to fill in the morning.

Mornings are always really hectic - anything you can do to streamline them for yourself will make them less stressful! And if your dc is finding it stressful to be getting ready and having to be out of the house at a certain time rather than at their own pace - then you want to be able to concentrate on them rather than finding yourself rushing around!

zipzap Tue 02-Jul-13 22:04:12

Oh and see if there is a second hand shop - great way to get the expensive bits of school uniform cheaply, then you can have 5 jumpers and a couple spare all for the price of a new one (ok it's his first school so you'll probably want to have at least one new one!) and save yourself lots of stress in having to wash stuff in the middle of the week. Ditto go for more cheap and cheerful supermarket generic stuff assuming you're allowed it - given how cheap it is for the stuff for the little ones, you'd probably spend far more in washing powder if you need to put a wash on twice as often!

Also find out if there is a school book bag - get one before school starts if you can.

ShoeWhore Tue 02-Jul-13 22:08:35

Make sure they know that when changing for PE you keep your pants on grin

Oh and if they have a water bottle for school write their name around the top so it's easily picked out of a box of identical bottles.

A bit of judicious wiping can help reduce the uniform laundry pile too.

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