I wish I new then what I know now - PFB starting school.(69 Posts)
Ds starts reception in September, I am excited for him, he is going to a great school with nursery friends and he is ready.....But, I often see threads from mums having trouble at the school gates - dealing with school gate cliques, issues with birthday parties or being the mum who always ends up hosting playdates etc and its got me wondering, what are the things people wished they had known, or what are the things you look back on that now seem ridiculous and leave you wishing you had not bothered - does'nt have to be school gate related, could be what goes on in the classroom etc - looking for it all the good, the bad and the downright ridiculous!
A good before and after school routine will save drama and tantrums... trust the teacher / school but not so much that you don't speak up / question things if its not going smoothly... dont force reading time if your child is tired and had enough, it will all work itself out... be open and friendly with other parents but don't stress about it all, if you click that's great if not so be it... you will be blamed by a frustrated six year old for all the inconsistencies in the English language... teach your child how to roll with the ups and downs of friendships and to treat people as they would like to be treated... school dinners are generally blergh but very useful when you haven't made to the supermarket yet this week!
My 2 things are most of the other parents are probably really nice. They're not talking to you for the same reason you're not talking to them. Talk to them first and I'm sure they'll talk to you too.
The second thing is don't speak to the teacher about every tiny issue. Leave things a while and it usually sorts itself out.
Don't be a door hanger. Ever.
Drop and go; or make an appointment to speak to the teacher when convenient.
The amount of parents who just look at it as bloody social haunt amaze me. It's unhelpful for everyone!
kiwidreamer that sounds like the approach i hope to take..I am going to have to step it up in the morning, I am going to miss being able to amble along like we currently do for nursery drop off.
bearfeet I consider myself a little shy, and rarely say hello first - but, leading by example I am going to put myself out there more - obviously in a nice, non desperate - be my friend, be my friend kind of way..hopefully.
Expect some challenging behaviour from your child. IME starting school is a green flag to start seriously pushing boundaries.
It does pass. In the meantime, a snack when you pick him up and some quiet/tv time when you get home helps.
My youngest starts this September too.
Join the PTA and get to know some of the staff/school through something other than your child. It helps to understand how things work and will make you more comfortable with the school. I did this out of a sense of obligation but actually it has worked for me in the sense that I was somewhat a part of the workings of the school without encroaching on DC's schooling iyswim.
Don't worry if they are totally uninterested in reading/writing. It will all fall into place in time. Encourage them but don't get stressed about it.
Just marking my place...DS starts school in September so any advice/ideas/horror stories will come in useful
I've met some lovely people through school, there's a group of us who stand and chat, we socialise with the kids on occasion out of school and help out with childcare when needed.
I also started volunteering at school and help out in a year 2 class and although my dd moves to middle school in September I'll be staying at primary.
At parents night the teacher will describe an angelic, helpful child that bears no resemblance to your child at all
A few things:
a) do go along to any new parents drinks/coffee morning if you possibly can. Try to talk to lots of people. (Don't get squiffy)
b) think about how much time (if any) you can give to PTA etc, and join in. But don't overload yourself in the first term or you'll find yourself spending the rest of your time getting out of Stuff.
c) even if your DC has been at full time nursery, school is different and s/he might be really tired. So be ready to go gently in the evenings at first.
d) following on from that, don't sign up for start clubs or arrange many playdates until you've got the hang of the new rhythm to your day.
Don't stress too much about playground politics. There will be at least a handful of nice normal mums/dads/grandparents who don't know anybody. There will be cliques as well, but they're often just established groups of friends who've known each other for years outside school or through older kids, so they're probably not as deliberately excluding as they sometimes appear.
Playdates - always reciprocate if you can!
Allow time to crash and wind down after school. Especially at Reception age, they will be shattered, although they might not be able to name a single thing they've done that day! They will also be starving.
Put names on everything that goes through the school gates. Everything.
Try to find a mum in the class who has older kids. You will want to know such things as:
1. What is the protocol for handing out invitations?
2. What happens on a child's birthday - here they go into school in their own clothes and take some sweets/stickers to hand out to their class.
3. Do kids wear own clothes or dress up on non uniform day (I didn't want my son the only one in superhero dress up!)
There will be loads of stuff like this and all the other first time parents will be as clueless as you!!
These are all excellent! Its a funny feeling, this preparing your pfb (and yourself) for starting school. The best way I can describe it for me, is like the anticipation of going on a rollercoaster - I am really excited, but I also feel like I might be sick!
Keep the tips coming!
When in town pop into chairty shop and look for items that can be used for world book day victorian day i did this with dd2 and it saved alot of stress ie red tshirt for red nose day mans caps and child waistcoat for victorian day
Good tip stars I am dreading non uniform days.. atm I am always pleased when these fall on days when DS is not in nursery - will have to up my game on this front and get organised!
Birthday parties - DS has not shown any interest in these yet, but i bet that changes - the whole thing seems a minefield!
Have a collection of empty egg boxes, cereal boxes, toilet rolls, crafty type stuff (pipe cleaners, googly eyes, cotton wool) stashed somewhere - make your own rocket/alien/monster/feckin rainforest type homework almost killed me. I'm not naturally gifted with crafts . Oh and glue sticks - my children go through a glue stick every two weeks. Also see if you can have a family type photo handy. I think all of mine did a this is my family type of thing in their first couple of months.
I've never had a bother with playground type shannanigans, I've 2 already at primary and the baby starts in September (happy dance). I've always found other parents to be the same as me, nice enough but enough going on in their own lives not to get overly involved.
Yes, good idea to make acquaintances with someone with older children in the school, they can give you the lowdown on everything you need to know.
Playground politics may seem apparent when you have a pfb starting school, thats normal, you're new to the situation and you're trying to make sense of it. In a year or two you'll be leaving the house with only minutes to spare, not giving a damn about playground politics, you may grab a short chat with someone about mundane school stuff at best.
Children's abilities are really wide spread at that age, some will hit the ground running, others take time, don't be too smug/worried either way.
Lots of class parties in reception/y1, expect a busy diary, these drop off once gradually they get to y2 and above. Maybe a birthday box with cheap birthday cards, wrap, small presents ready to go, would be a good idea.
Iron-on hemming tape is really great for fixing dropped hems. Yes name everything but accept there will be some uniform losses too, hence don't spend too much, supermarket stuff is exactly the same quality as M&S etc.
Make sure all uniform is clearly named. It will inevitably get lost!
Also, try and make sure your DS is comfortable with undressing and dressing himself, and able to and undo his shoes/trainers.
It will be easier if you try and chat/say hello to his classmates' mums if you do so when you are all new. And carry on saying hello, even if you don't ever subsequently have a proper conversation. Don't be overwhelmed by parents who have older children in the school, and seem to know everything and everyone.
Label and have at least one spare of everything clean and ready to go even if it is a bit shabby. Insanely frustrating when your child comes home with no winter coat in the middle of December because another child has gone home in it.
Gloves - if you ever see a pair of uniform colour gloves on string then buy every pair they have/you can afford.
Don't laugh at your child when they are having a sobfest about not being the tallest/oldest/fastest runner/bluest eye or whatever randomness has upset them on that day.
Expect the last few weeks of every term to be a bit fraught. They are knackered, it's not a sign that you have failed as a parent. Don't invite grandparents to visit at half term until you are sure your child has had a couple of good nights sleep unless you welcome comments about "children in my day".
Never ever, ever forget to have food at the school gate.
Get a job and then drop them at breakfast club at 8, then collect from after school club.
Or just book 'em in without even getting a job...
Loving that idea MyOneandYoni
Grandma's will be a substitute for some of the breakfast/after school club as she lives closed to school than we do!
If you school PTA or mums group has a facebook group join. Really useful for last minute panics of "what time is the trip getting back" "anyone come home with our jumper" type questions. DS2 is leaving primary this time and I wish we'd had it when DSS started 15 years ago.
A sharpie is your friend,I label clothing with it and it never fades!!
If your buy two of things I buy one in the next size up,my kids seem to stretch up around Christmas.
Although I hate our PTA which I am on,I am glad to do my bit,and it does give you a good understanding on the workings of school.
Enjoy it,I mean that ,I was a very anxious mum,over reading is he settled, when really he was fine!!
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