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Top tips for starting school

(12 Posts)
organiccarrotcake Wed 03-Aug-11 22:18:36

I'm writing an article for the local NCT magazine about starting school. Could you share your top tips, please? Many thanks.

Lizcat Thu 04-Aug-11 13:32:24

Label everything.

stopkickingthatmackerel Thu 04-Aug-11 13:42:30

Don't go in claiming that your 4 year-old is G&T and how is the school going to stop him from being bored in reception. Yawn.

myBOYSareBONKERS Thu 04-Aug-11 21:42:51

Reception help list:

The summer before my August born boy went to school we started practising on preparation – here is my list of helpful hints!

Velcro shoes – unless they can do laces up with no help and very quickly

Make sure you contact your school to find out how to obtain the uniform. Sometimes it has to be ordered via the school and when they close at the end of July its means you won’t have a uniform for September!!

Find out which days P.E is on and on those days don’t button up the polo shirt – with a jumper on over the top it won’t be noticed anyway!

If they have to wear proper shirts with lots of buttons that are really too difficult to do up quickly - unpick the buttons. Sew them on the "hole" side where they would end up if they were properly done up. Then get velcro and sew that onto the shirt - so when its put together it looks just like a proper done up shirt.

Or just do that to some of the buttons, so they get to practice them still (or just wear the Velcro shirt on PE days!!)

Personal care – ensure can wash hands, sort clothing out. My son couldn’t wipe his own bottom and so I ensured he got into a “routine” of doing one before bed so I knew he wouldn’t run into difficulties at school.

Put half a smiley face in each shoe so that when they are placed together the correct way round they form one big happy face – helps to get the shoes on the correct feet.

Practice with a lunchbox and different wrappings. I realised that I just hand my son a plate of food (as does nursery) and so he never had to undo anything!. He found a zipped lunch box easier than a velcro one. He found cling film to fidderly and so I get cheap food bags and put his sandwiches in them and wrap them over. He then puts all his left over’s in the bag so the lunch box comes back in a decent state!

Put a slit in the top of packets so they tear open easily or open them and fold them over and seal with a sticker (children can ALWAYS get a sticker off things!).

Fromage frais makes less mess than runny yogurt. Don’t forget to pack a spoon.

Sport top on bottles easier than screw tops or cartons (it all comes home in the lunch box so think of less spillage)

Label everything unless you don’t want it back. I got some really good stickers printed with just our surname on so all the family could use them for different things. They are dishwasher proof too.

Small icepack for the summer.

Some foods are not allowed in lunches so check with the school.

Before my (very young and clumsy)son had school dinners I brought a tray plate (from boots) that the food gets put directly on as that is what they use in school so he could practice carrying it to the table without dropping it. (was terrified he would drop it at school and everyone would laugh).

If they are a very small or slow eater don’t give them too much otherwise they will spend their whole lunch break eating and not outside playing. Some schools insist they eat everything. Just take a snack for on the way home if they are hungry.

Elasticated skirts and trousers to make it easier to get on/off.

If there is a 'school' coat, and it's not compulsory DON'T BUY ONE. If 30 children all have an identical coat it's a nightmare to sort them out.

Show your child how to hang their coat on a peg, using the loop. Otherwise the coat will live on a muddy cloakroom floor.

Tie something distinctive on your child's bookbag and PE bag, so they can recognise their own among many identical ones - a keyring or something is ideal

Putting his clothes back on when they are inside out and back-to-front (ie as they'll be after he's taken them off after PE). My DS could dress himself so it never occurred to me that his clothes were always presented in a nice "sanitised" manner

Some children found the sheer noise and busy environment very stressful when they first start school and I wasn't prepared for that with my son who found lunchtimes in the hall with a hundred or so other children all chattering, clanking cutlery, scraping chairs and clinking plates really intimidating and scary.

Not much you can do (unless you have a massive home and a hundred children to invite round) but by going to busy places with him beforehand and telling him that school might get noisy sometimes but it's nothing to be worried about he will at least be able to remember your words when faced with increased hustle and bustle.

My son was sometimes a bit nervous about going in and “being alone” all day without me, so I filled his pocket with “kisses” and told him to reach in for one if he felt a bit sad. At nearly 7yrs he still asks for them if going somewhere new (eg Beavers for the first time)

Teach your child to stuff their hat/scarf/gloves into the sleeve of their coat when they hang their coat up - stops them from getting lost and reminds dc to put them back on when they go out to play as they automatically find them when they put their coat back on!

A top tip I was given was that school shirts come in packs of three so you buy 2 packs, that gives you 6 shirts, one for every day of the week, plus 1 you put aside for the school christmas show, prize giving or whatever.

If you are a working parent, as soon as you find out your allocated school you MUST sort childcare. Childminders and after school clubs get booked up very quickly. The school office may have a list of childcare establishments.
I sewed back the bottom bit of the material away from the zip on my DS's coat when he started Reception (to make it easier to do up).

If they wear proper shirts (as opposed to polo shirts), don't bother with long sleeved ones - the cuffs will get so grubby you'll only get one day's wear out of them. Short sleeves are better!

School uniform does go missing – be it misplaced or stolen. If you don’t need to get logo’d uniform then don’t as this is what tends to go easily. Also make your uniform more distinctive so when the children leave school you will be able to spot a piece of your Childs clothing on another child. Eg put a small key ring on the zipper of the school coat/jacket. Will make it easier to pull up as well.

Write in permanent ink inside the collar or sleeve – any where it can be easily seen and can not be cut out (like labels). Sew a small colour co-ordinated flower/star/circle (whatever is appropriate) on the collar – again is small but distinctive.

Phase out any after-lunch naps - they don't get this at school and it will be much harder for those who are still used to this.

notyummy Thu 04-Aug-11 21:46:10

I used that reception help list when DD started last year (she is a summer baby so in the youngest 10% of the class.) It was really helpful and she was fine and loves school - most of it was stuff I wouldnt have thought of by myself!

myBOYSareBONKERS Thu 04-Aug-11 21:55:13

Think I have added a few tips along the way that I got from other threads - have you got any?

baskingseals Thu 04-Aug-11 22:02:34

myboys - that was amazing!
will have to remember when ds1 starts school, really like the filling your pocket full of kisses idea - genius

Portofino Thu 04-Aug-11 22:07:49

myboys - miaow! grin

stepmad Thu 04-Aug-11 22:48:10

mine got homework and libary books from day one then a few weeks later reading and flash cards . Work out when you are going to do them we tend to ours after a quick drink and biscuit. Indeed two terms later i did suggest lets do the home torromow as it was an inset day. Both girls moaned and wanted to do it straight away.
We have a time table as to when things are due into school put home work reading book back into book bag.
Uniform out the the night before.
Make the lunch the night before
Buy a nit comb
Start a morning rountine that will work for you a few days before hand
Walk or drive to school a few times pointing out land marks
if taking and leaving a scooter during the day mark with childs name in several places tie ribbon to it
Same for book bag pe kit
Name the shoes in my charges class last term six girls all had the same and were the same size
Find out where the lost box is you will be a regular
If any allergies check epi pens write in dates they need to be replaced one of mine has a treat box for when children hand out cakes on their birthdays.
They will be tired for a while after school so try not to plan too much after school stuff.
Then in the last few weeks of the winter term with so much going on will be tired all over again
Blue tack to display the art work or a special shelf for other master peices that will come home.
Checking the school bag for letters party invites and dealing with stuff as soon as possible such as writting the dates down. Schools often have only two grown ups for big stuff such as the christmas play but for class asemblys and theme days not.
A few basic dressing up outfits for the theme days often at short notice world book day creeps up on you.
If you have old toys books bric brack schools often want it for the christmas fair.
Finally the camera for the first day at school pictures some children will never look as smart again i took a picture at the end of the day as well. A tissue in your bag for the tears as you wave him her off for yourself

organiccarrotcake Sun 07-Aug-11 22:23:18

Wow, this is amazing! Thank you so much!

Loads of great stuff here. Thanks ladies xxx

stopkickingthatmackerel Sun 07-Aug-11 22:27:44

Sorry to state the bleeding obvious, but what about an ounce of common sense? hmm

acsec Sun 07-Aug-11 22:33:13

MyBOYS that is a fantastic list - I may steal it to give to the new parents when I do home visits!!

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