What's your top tips for a newbie to school?(24 Posts)
So my dd1 is starting school in sept. and I am now thinking about what I will need to remember, I.e what she needs on a daily, weekly basis as well as what to help with in school, maybe volunteer some time there?
Are there any seasoned parents out there willing to share their top tips for things to remember to take or do, or even on playground etiquette?
smile and be friendly to everyone
join the PTA if you want to make friends
but remember the school aget is not the be and end all - it's 7 years of your life if you have 1 child, from yr 3 onwards you can just wait in the car, don't think everyone knows everyone because they don't
Reception is very different to preschool - don't expect the teacher to give you a blow by blow account of their day.
After school and before school always a bad time to try to get teacher - it is an ideal time to catch up on the school gate news!
The kids have to learn independence - it is more up to them to remember!
Good luck, it will be fine ....
Smile and be friendly, but keep out of the playground shenanigans which will start.
I volunteered to listen to reading - started in the Jan in YrR. Found it really helpful, as found out little bits about their day, and their surroundings. Also nice to chat to TA, teacher, felt easier when I had an issue.
Also helped do book bags and get them changed for PE on that day. First time I did it I went straight out and bought dd a distinctive key ring to go on her book bag. Our school big on piling them all up in a big plastic box. Nightmare if you are looking for a specific one.
With the PE thing - get them used to piling clothes on table/chair, rather than on the floor.
Name anything that will be taken off its a pain but the sew on ones seem stronger. We have shoe stickers as well there are six girls all with the same style of shoe.
They will often bring a run down of what they will be doing in class each half term we also had a rough time table plus a printed sheet of needed to be in school on what day.
Pe bags book bags really helps if you put a keyring on them as they all look the same.
We found a time that suited us to do home work reading keywords and stuck to it hence in year one do not even have to ask to their homework they come in see the pencils on the table or cushions on the floor and its done.
We always get out the uniform the night before inculding underwear .
Have several cheap lunch bags as have found they often get left at school if going home with some one else or get really messy the fabric ones go in the washing machine. Also have about zillion and one plastic pots.
Lots of hellos and smiles especially in a small school
Check book bag for letters and act on them as soon as possible.
Hair up and invest in a nit comb then check at least once a week
Might be tired in the first few weeks plus will pick up all sorts of new bugs be ready for that.
Small packets of tissues
For the winter lots of cheap pairs of gloves even the named ones will go missing encourage them always to store them in their pocket after playtime.
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 wont have a uniform for September!!
Find out which days P.E is on and on those days dont button up the polo shirt with a jumper on over the top it wont 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 couldnt wipe his own bottom and so I ensured he got into a routine of doing one before bed so I knew he wouldnt 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 overs 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. Dont 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 dont 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. Marks and Spencers do socks that have the size in them and space to write a name great if you have more than one child (but with different sized feet) in the same coloured socks (or is it just me who finds figuring out which socks belong to which family member a challenge!!).
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 dont 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 dont need to get logod uniform then dont 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.
Buy a nit comb and tie long hair back.
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 and have a treat box at school for when children hand out cakes on their birthdays.
Checking the school bag for letters party invites daily and dealing with stuff as soon as possible such as writing the dates down and getting stuff organised for it.
Keep unsuitable xmas and birthday presents for the various donations that the school ask for throughout the year (i.e summer and xmas fetes).
I also think it's good to ask the child themselves if there is anything they are worrying about - with DS he wanted to know the "routine" was so he could mentally tick it off during the day, so I found this out and let him know. He was also worried that no one would play with him so I suggested friend making strategies e.g. saying "My name is X, what's your name, do you want to play with me?"
Label everything. If the coat has a detachable hood, label that as well.
Buy cheap sets of gloves, you will loose them on a regular basis.
Buy a fairly unique keyring or two for the bookbag and the PE kit.
If you work set aside at least one week for all kind of school event. Tell this also to the dad. We have a class assembly every term, Spring and Harvest Festival, Summer Fete, Christmas Play, disco, other assorted events like school trip.
Be prepared to be asked for money, food donations and practical help.
Know who the PTA is and how it works. Ask the school for which events they need parent volunteers. We always have them for the allotment days, reading to the class and helping with 1-2-1 reading.
Invest in labels: sew in (for clothing) and stickers for waterbottles, etc..
Invest in indelible marker pen - for when you don't feel like sewing or it's last minute.
Buy two water bottles (they're bound to lose one and when you need one you won't be able to find one in the shops).
Buy the sturdiest school shoes you can - with good grip on soles. My DDs at least seem to spend a lot of time dragging/ scraping their feet along and the soles get smooth as glass so that by November when it's icy they're practically ice skating to school.
Try and ask about letters/ forms every day & also check bags regularly. Letters are often put into the bag in Reception by TAs or Teachers for the children, so they may not always know about it.
Check the school website - if there is a diary page with important upcoming dates - bookmark that page and check it weekly (I tend to check it Thursdays at work as part of my morning routine and diary in anything I need to remember).
Be there for those important days for your DC - it really is important Mummy & Daddy are there to see them get an award, perform in the Christmas play, etc...
Remember that start and end of term are usually very hectic times - so try to be extra understanding of your DC (and the teachers).
Just be aware that it doesn't matter how well you label it, the sweatshirt with the logo on will go missing forever but the cheap cardie from asda with the ink blob on the sleeve will always be going in list property.
Organisation! If you are not organised get a system set up asap - kitchen calendar works for me. The volume of 'stuff' to remember is unbelievable. Get into a habit of checking the bag/emails daily (some schools use parentmail not letters home) and entering the info onto the calendar every night. You don't want to be the mum to forget non uniform day.
Envelopes. Never used so many - can you send £3 for x, reply to party invite. Stick in evelope in DD's bookbag.
Uniform. Buy early, the small stuff sells out. If anything needs to be bought from school remember they close mid July.
What she needs daily/weekly depends on school. DD just has a school reading folder and her lunch box. Her pe kit stays at school all term.
One of my most useful sources of info is the weekly school assembly parents can attend. If yours has one it is well worth attending if you can manage it workwise. You see what the children are doing and the children can take in certificates they have got externally eg swimming lessons.
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Agree about labelling everything, keyrings on bookbags and checking and acting on letters every day. Also doubling up on scool jumpers, water bottles, gloves etc, things do get left at school. To be fair though we've never had any real issues with lost property, missing items have always found their way back to us.
Reception survival checklist.
* Over the next few months practice dressing and undressing independently. I also taught mine to practice lying the clothes on a table rather than throwing them in a screwed up ball. Get her used to buttons and zips.
* Train them to close their water bottle! Every time..😂
Once dd is there;
* Label everything that will be taken off, water bottles, lunch bags etc.
* Identifiable keyring on book bag and don't buy the school pe bag as lots of people will have the same one.
* Smile and be friendly to everyone and join the PTA if you want to make friends.
* Hang all uniform, in the order they will put them on, in their room the night before.
* Make packed lunch the night before and just keep it in the fridge till the morning.
* Check book bag for letters daily.
* Keep a bowl of change ready for own clothes days etc.
* If wearing pinafore dress, only button up 2 buttons for quick PE changes. You can also use velcro on the top button to make things even easier.
* In summer months, buy a zip up summer dress for PE days and save the pretty button up one for non PE days.
That should read. If wearing pinafore dress, only button up 2 buttons of the blouse for quick PE changes.
be aware things WILL go missing
EVEN if you wrote your name, the child's name and class and your phone number on the inside of the backpack, underside of the straps and all around... (not bitter, it was just a £8 paw patrol backpack, but still...)
Also the named waterbottle that gets put in a tray in class where there is no one else with your child's name... that will go missing too...
Label with indelible pen, or just biro and re-do every half term.
Key ring on book bag. Reflectors are also good on bags, coats etc if you will walk home after scool in winter.
Find your cheque book, as it's the best way to ensure payment is only taken if clubs or trips actually happen.
Also a stash of envelopes.
Keep a pen and some pound coins in your coat pocket for all those forms and donations that your child didn't tell you about and the form got lost between their hand and their book bag...
Look up when World Book Day is, ditto NSPCC number week and Children in Need (youre spared comic Relief for a year!). Stash some spotty clothes, something with a number, and dressing up stuff. Gold crowns from crackers and stickers are helpful.
Get in touch with other parents and especially if you work and commute, agree to be emergency contacts. Actually if you can regularly agree your child goes elsewhere one day so your can work late, and vice versa, this can make life much less stressful.
Time getting ready in the morning, and be prepared to put clothes on child. Here, have to be dressed down to socks by 8 am, breakfast eaten by 8.15, shoes on by 8.20, I'm dressed and have made packed lunch by 8.15, and goodness knows what the 10 minutes before 8.30 are used for but they are vital!
Also don't send any cool character items like Angry Birds hats or gloves, as you'll not see them again. A drawer of cheap hats and gloves by the door is a godsend.
Check location of children's shoes before they go to bed. It's amazing how they can lose them inside the house...
Buy loads. Keep all odd ones - by the end of the winter you'll be sending them in in whatever mismatched combo they can cobble together.
Google calendar is my absolute bible. I sit down for 10 mins every Friday with the email newsletter (our school is allegedly "paperless" - although the amount of shite in DD1's book bag begs to differ) and shove all the dates for your diary into it so they come up on my phone and everywhere else.
With the envelopes and cheque books - you might not need them. Again, our school is cashless - everything's done via schoolmoney so it's just a case of logging on and paying for whatever you need to via that. I bought a tonne of little envelopes just in case - never used them (and on an ex-teacher note - if you are sending in money in little envelopes - sellotape the very corners up as the glue stops in a perfect distance for random pound coins to escape out).
We needed a fresh GP prescription for DD1's asthma inhaler etc - just something to factor in having to do as they wanted a "current" inhaler all in a box etc.
I love stickin name labels for things like lunchboxes and waterbottles - some of the ones on our lunch tupperware have been going in the dishwasher daily for a good 3+ years now and are still stuck solid. I use them on the care labels of clothes as well if I'm feeling particularly non-motivated to name label things properly, and they stick inside shoes etc as well. I've got proper nice woven ones and iron in ones as well for when motivation levels vary but the stickins are definitely worth having a few.
Some schools have a problem with uniform pilfering. Don't just label the care label - I tend to write the name inside the neck ribbing as well (obviously easier if you've got pale coloured uniforms - harder if you've got navy) and inside the cuff. Haven't lost anything yet this year (I've probably jinxed it now).
Hair bobbles for girls - buy bloody millions (poundland is my friend). If you've got a kid like mine who is a hair fiddler on the carpet, or likes to take them out to give as bracelets to their friend, or sits near a friend who likes to indulge in carpet time hairdressing! I must go through millions of the buggers.
The big Ikea Kallax canvas boxes are perfect bookbag or infant rucksack size. We've got a unit of it with some little drawers for hair brushes, bobbles etc and then big canvas boxes for bookbags and activity rucksacks (like dancing etc) - all school/activity related uniform and stuff lives in there and I clean/sort out accordingly and put stuff back in there. Saves a tonne of time on a morning.
Our school also insists on see through water bottles. They're actually fairly hard to find in the shops that don't leak like mad so I've now given up and buy the school logoed ones.
Check on your own school individual rules and preferences. 100 people on MN telling you that their school insists on indoor shoes/water bottles/particular colour coats/PE kits from day 1 etc. is not that helpful if your school does none of these things!
My top tip would be to pal up with a parent with a Y1 child, or someone who has an older sibling in the school. They will be an invaluable source of information as to the things that school thinks are obvious and therefore doesn't think to tell you!
Don't believe anyone who talks loudly about their child's reading level.
Mostly I'd say just enjoy the time. I cannot believe that this was me 1 year ago. DD has absolutely flourished. She's so happy and she's learned so much.
Don't believe anyone who talks loudly about their child's reading level.
Agreed. They mostly pretty much level out a few years down the line. I couldn't tell you which of my colleagues was on lime in reception.
Make sure they can take themselves to the loo and wipe their bottom, dress/undress themselves (including coat and shoes), use a knife and fork, sit quietly and listen to instructions, put their hand up and let the teacher know if there is a problem.
Try and teach them to recognise their name, or if not add a symbol or picture, so they can recognise their belongings.
Don't worry about the academic stuff.
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