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Starting school: The Rules

(20 Posts)
Bumperlicious Thu 01-Sep-11 09:14:56

Help! Dd1 starts school next Tuesday. I am woefully under prepared for this both physically and mentally! I need do's and don'ts, hints and tips, a survival guide, in short, any advice you can give me for surviving the next few weeks and years!

AMumInScotland Thu 01-Sep-11 09:29:09

When she comes home telling you something bizarre and unfair that the teacher has done, take a deep breath and go in to politely ask the teacher what happened, rather than going in all guns blazing. Chances are, there will be a lot more to the story than the version you heard first!

treas Thu 01-Sep-11 09:33:47

Never get involved with your child friendships - they are always breaking up and making up 1/2 hour later, especially girls.

If there is a persistent, insidious problem then speak to the teacher and not the parent.

IndigoBell Thu 01-Sep-11 09:35:14

And totally relax about whether or not she's learning anything in Reception.

Bumperlicious Thu 01-Sep-11 09:45:30

Thanks. My June born daughter is going into a mixed reception/yr1 class so I am a bit worried for her.

I also want to seem engaged with the school but not be a badgery mum iykwim? Any tips on getting the balance right?

IndigoBell Thu 01-Sep-11 09:48:31

Only talk to the teacher about really important things.

But it is fine in the first few week to ask how she's settling smile

Ask the teacher quick things after school not before.....

Don't complain about the reading book she has or hasn't brought home smile

Always go to parent evenings and everything else you're invited to (sports day, nativity play, class assemblies....)

bumpybecky Thu 01-Sep-11 09:49:06

don't expect to find out what she was doing that day

my 3 dds have all been really funny about telling me what they've been up to. Normally they'd say 'we just sat around' or 'nothing!' if I asked what they'd done that day!

Hullygully Thu 01-Sep-11 09:50:16

Top tips:

Pal up the teacher.

Volunteer to help in the classroom so you get to know all the kids and everything that's going on.

acrunchieandacupoftea Thu 01-Sep-11 10:41:31

Good thread Bumperlicious! My DS starts school next week too!

The school haven't sent any letters, they're really informal, and although I have phoned them and been in to sort out a couple of things I have no idea what to expect.

Do they need a pencil case for Reception class?

Should I send him with a school bag?

Spare pants?

Do mums usually stay all day the first day(I will be taking the day off work)?

AngryFeet Thu 01-Sep-11 10:54:01

My DS starts in 11 days - he is my youngest. They don't need a pencil case and as for a school bag they prefer something small like a book bag as there is usually not much space on pegs and they only take a book home anyway. If he has accidents send spare pants and trousers but spend time the first morning showing him the toilets and find out if he needs to ask to go or can just take himself there when he needs the loo.

I didn't bother staying with DD and doubt I will with DS as they were both at nursery at the school and will be fine. I will stick around for 30 mins or so I think. Most people buggered off in the first 30 mins but you should be able to stay as long as you like. Did you not have an induction meeting explaining all this?

Bumperlicious Thu 01-Sep-11 11:02:28

When we had a short meeting with the head teacher she said not to send them in with anything on their first day (well, afternoon) as it just gives them something else to hold/lose/worry about.

I haven't done labels, bought pe shorts or even school shoes yet (dd is at my mum's for a few days so hoping she will get them.) I stupidly even forgot to book the day off and am now on a course. Have asked the organiser if she can arrange lunch so I can dash home to take her. She'll be with DH, but I will feel awful if I can't make it.

I'm panicking now, I've only just gone back to work myself and it has all come around so quickly!

Lucy88 Thu 01-Sep-11 12:04:06

I make you right on the labelling thing. You need to label everything because they will constantly lose things.

Not sure about the staying with them - at my DS's school, you dropped them off and at 9am, you were out of the door. You were not allowed to stay.

acrunchieandacupoftea Thu 01-Sep-11 12:42:28

We had a short meeting, I mostly asked questions about breakfast club and after school club. I was really expecting a letter because they didn't cover in any detail what would be happening. Except that they like parents to be available for the first few day and ease their child into school by staying for a while. I suppose I will leave when all the other parents do.

rocketty Thu 01-Sep-11 22:05:07

<waves to bumper> put a key ring on her book bag so she can spot it from twenty paces among the 29 other identical book bags.

Bumperlicious Fri 02-Sep-11 09:53:49

Good idea rocketty. Sorry I haven't been in touch btw! Will catch up soon.

dajen Fri 02-Sep-11 16:08:49

Plea from an 'office lady' . Please ensure dinner money , trip money etc is paid on time and in correct cash or cheque. - Also that any envelope with money in is clearly labelled with child's name and class and what it is for. Sometimes there can be dinner money, trip money , money for PA events, donations for charity days, payments for after school clubs, etc all turning up at the office at once. It is sooooo time consuming when you don't know what it's for or who it's from.

Also please ensure your emergency contact details are kept up to date. So frustrating when a child is ill or injured or not collected to find a mobile is unobtainable or a work number is for somewhere you no longer work.

Rant over!

Happymum22 Sat 03-Sep-11 01:05:09

I'm a primary teacher and mum...

If your anxious and sad that it's the end of an era and your little one is growing up, worried if they will survive the trials of school whatever you do, don't let your child catch on to your anxieties. Show a optimistic, excited, positive face that its a wonderful place. Praise praise praise- everything at first.. from walking into the classroom alone, to changing for PE to writing the letter o. children need praise even if you think surely after a month she should be doing more...

Show this positive, friendly, supportive side to your child's teacher. Teachers work extremely hard, you don't know if they are good or not yet and so go in with a non-judgemental attitude. If they're old- they're experienced, young- fresh, energetic, new ideas and motivated, if they're middle aged- best of both! If they're strict- setting clear boundaries and your child is likely to make good progress quickly, if they're relaxed- your child is likely to feel relaxed and work hard to impress a teacher they like.
Teachers are most likely to warm to your child if they remember you are the parent who always recognises their hard work. They will really want to help your child if they know you notice all they do and comment on it.
Help your child make friends by having classmates back after school on fridays.

Only go in to raise concerns when it really really matters, go calmly and try not to appear confrontational but instead ask for the teachers professional advice on how they think best handle your worry and whether they believe it is something you should be worried about.

Labels, on everything- and DON'T write to the teacher to tell them little Molly has lost her cardigan. Teacher's don't have time for it. Ask at the school reception if you can have a look with your child before/after school but the teachers are so busy dealing with more important things. Suprisingly you'd most probably rather they were marking your child's work and planning a fab lesson than looking for little Molly's cardigan for half an hour after school because mum's sent a threatening angry letter.

Get your child to school on time, it refelcts badly on their education, and on you. When they're a teenager and walking to school you can't expect them to get there on time if all of primary you dropped them off late.

Pick them up on time, do your best to get to plays, concerts, assemblies, volunteer with reading if you can. If you work try and be at parents evenings, summer fete, i used some of my annual leave to be one of the parents volunteering to help with the school trip when my now 11 year old was in reception and I was working in an office. DD really really appreciated it and loved it and because I normally couldnt collect her from school even, it gave me an amazing insight into her 'world'! Makes you understand just what they go through each day.

bossboggle Sun 04-Sep-11 20:54:53

Happy mum22 how brilliant. I would add - don't panic, take some deep breaths and relax, it will help your child to relax too. As we say in our school - if you don't believe half of what your child tells you about us then we won't believe half of what your child tells us about you!! My DD wrote in her 'story book' at school that she had been staying with her daddy at his house - quite a shock to her teacher considering that we had a baby who was only six weeks old at the time. It was a new concept to her and she had heard someone saying that they were staying with their daddy at his house and she wanted to do the same - in her story book!! Glad to say my husband and I are still happily married after some 26 years or so!! Frightened the life out of the teacher!! She didn't quite know how to broach the subject at the time but we did have a good laugh about it though!!

piprabbit Sun 04-Sep-11 21:12:35

Don't expect your child to tell you anything about what they do. If you ask who they played with and they say "nobody", don't panic, it won't be true and they will not be condemned to a lifetime as a social outcast.

Do have a drink and snack ready for them as soon as they get home (or in the car if you have quite a bit of travel) - not a lot, but enough to tide them over.

Do shift bedtime forward as early as possible (6pm or earlier perhaps) - all the new experiences will be really tiring, and they won't have a chance for a lay-in.

Don't worry if your child seems to be grumpy, aggressive or generally difficult - it will probably be tiredness (see above) coupled with being really good at school and saving up the bad behaviour for home.

No matter how tearful you feel, or how worried about how they are doing - relax, keep smiling and being positive. Most children are fine about starting school - they only realise that there might be something scary about it when they pick up signs from their parents that they are worried.

Good luck.

blackeyedsusan Sun 04-Sep-11 21:40:09

crunchie pants are usually provided by school for the odd accident. if you have a child prone to leaking pants/trousers/socks and spare cheap shoes in a bag, all labelled. it can live on theirpeg if they are in reception.

expect a return to younger behaviour, it is sheer exhaustion and the strain of being good all day.

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