Top tips: What do I need to know/prepare for September starting reception?(52 Posts)
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...
Wow so much information!
I thought of placing a spare skirt and underwear in dd's school bag. Part of me wondered if she would take it for granted that she had a change of clothes. Rather save her unnecessary embarrassment as accidents do happen!
Brilliant tips regarding carrying wipes and writing names on sleeves in permanent marker.
Regarding playdates- Is this a way of ensuring your dd's have a network of friends? Dd never had playdates at pre school but had a string of friends and was invited to many birthday parties.
thank you so much! I knew most of this but reading them over and over reduces my anxiety
If driving and then parking at school, do not park taking up lots of room and then move when your friend arrives. Keeping parking space for another mother is a total no no. Also, if there is a school bus check where it stops to let the children off and make sure you don't obstruct it.
This sounds a bit odd, but make sure your child can recognise their name. I used to write DS's first name on the collar welt of his polo and PE shirts, so he could see it easily. For reception he had his name in big letters on everything to make it easy to spot.
See if you can pal up with a reception mum who has older children at the school. This is very useful for finding out how stuff works, and what you need to do. A lot of primary schools assume you know how it works even if you have no idea yourself.
Lets see. Make loads of effort with other mums and dads to get to know them- it makes for a much happier community and you never know when you may need to call some favours or arrange playdates- much easier to arrange if you have already chatted with a parent. Realise you are not going to know a lot about what happens during the school day- most of the time DS1 (just going into Y1) will say they either did nothing, or he can't remember. Be determined that they read every night at home- DS1's reading is really coming on but you have to commit to doing it at home. DS1 is a lot happier doing this in the morning if you can make time. Have a calendar on your phone - like google calendar- and put in all school events as soon as you know them so you're not caught out. Buy a lot of uniform, so you don't need to worry about mid-week washing. Enjoy, I loved it when DS1 went to school!
enjolraslove I did vests, tights and socks, but not pants, as the school said to label everything bar underwear. I figure if any child could lose their pants at school, it would be mine, so I may just put her initials in those too.
I've got a silly question- when labelling how far do you go? I mean should I do vests/tights? I don't mind if we lose a couple of these but equally don't want to be slack!
Children love to peel off the iron-on labels so I'd recommend sewing or laundry marker.
Nina, sounds about right to me, DS's school encouraged parents not to go into the classroom after the first few weeks and brought the children out to the playground to their parents so PE kits only got washed at half term and if a teacher or TA noticed it needed a wash and brought it out to you.
A friend of mine says she basically leaves the pe kit on the peg all term and it only comes home if she sniffs something not nice! Is this a common practice?
My daughter is starting school this September and I already have one child in the same school
Things I'm going to do differently.
Give her a pe bag that is different to the school one - as when there are 30 on hooks it'll help her find her own.
Drink's bottle that can hold lots of water - with this heat they'll need it. Like the idea of having the name at the top !
I'm going to get a lunch box that you can put lots of different foods in - there is a great one in lakeland. My daughter is very fussy, so hoping by having lots of goodies - she'll eat better.
bonkers thank you, that's a great help (more August borns here too, mine are twins).
Love the pocket full of kisses, think my boy will appreciate that one too!
Great list bonkers thank you.August born boy too so particularly useful!
Reception help list:
The summer before my August born boy went to school we started practising on preparation. I have (over the years) gathered other parents ideas from here and added to my list so if you see your suggestion, please dont be offended I just thought it was a great tip!!
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!
Dont get a drinks bottle with a rubber sports top - they chew it off!! (although that may just be my boys!) Either use sports cap bottled water bottles and then replace them every week or buy a decent metal one with a hard plastic sports cap - they go through the dishwasher as does a hard bodied lunch box.
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. Some schools may have already signed up to the sticker company as it is a way of raising funds.
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
Practise putting clothes back on when they are inside out and back-to-front (ie as they'll be after they have taken them off for 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. 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 etc 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?"
Don't compare your child to others, don't be drawn into gossip about teachers/ta's/other children, and take most playground gossip with a large pinch of salt. Similarly, complaints from your child that they are bored/friendless/doing nothing at school should be taken with a degree of suspicion.
Our school has a lot of events parents can come and Reception children expect you to be there. If your school publishes a diary you could check and see what happens so far this year. I need at least one full week holiday to attend various events like end of term services, class assemblies, plays, parent meetings etc.
Don't label anyone's child as the naughty one, as yours may be the naughty one the following term.
For girls - have hair in a style that can be tied back for nit avoidance. Spray with de-tangler with tea tree oil in, tightly plait and spray her hair with hairspray. It was a tip I read in a magazine.
Make sure that they know when changing for PE NOT to remove pants and socks.
Not everyone has a cheque book nowadays but you may need one. Our school does not give out receipts for things so it is better to pay by chq as this can be traced as prove of payment.
Similarly alot of schools are making use of email and online payments for things so ensure you sign up for those.
Remember that although this is your first time to experience Reception it will not be your teachers. Listen to what they have to say as they would of dealt with MANY children over the years all with different abilities, personalities and flawes. If they are concerned about anything then dont get defensive work with the school to overcome the problem.
I agree with Kbear. If you work then keep at least 1 week leave aside for all the events they love to invite the parents to and the children really look forward seeing mum and dad. And try to explain to your child while XX's mum is ALWAYS there while you are going to work. Grrr.
We now have four calendars electronically inter-connected so DH and I know when we are supposed to be where, when DD has what event and how many class parties are in each month. Reception was a nightmare party wise.
Keep lots of small change and your chequebook handy. £0.50 for this, £1 for that and the holiday fund for the school trip.
For labeling - label detachable hoods. DD found her hood more useful for the doll in the playarea then on her head "But mummy, she needed a blanket".
Some great tips here.
We have three sets of clothes and i do a wash on a Wednesday.
i'd agree about having a snack or something on meeting them at the end of the day. one, they're starving and two it distracts them from running off on the way home.
Don't try to do too many after school activities.
They need to be able to wipe properly after the toilet, and get fully dressed and undressed.
They need to be able to ask the teacher if they need something - that one's from hindsight - they forgot to call my ds's class in for lunch once and none of them said anything.
For anybody with daughters: Please stay away from socks that have a little bow/flower etc. on the ankle. You will be forever looking for the right and left sock to match.
Take a snack when you pick them up.
A small carton of juice, or a bottle of squash is a great idea, particularly in the summer months (and those first few weeks back in September when summer often has a last hurrah) when they often haven't had enough to drink during the day and come out dehydrated and grumpy.
I remember my mum would have tall glasses of orange squash waiting in the fridge for us when we'd get home from school on hot days. It was the best!
Thanks zipzap. I think we might have to go and check out the loos! I know he still uses the potty by choice at pre-school!! He has age 3 school trousers all ready to go and they are too long. He's August born and short - poor boy!!
Oh and if anybody's planning on buying uniform from marks and spencers - their 'back to school' promotion of 20% off uniform finishes this week (sorry doesn't say what they count as the end of week!)
And they don't call it the back to school promotion any more as the thing starts before the summer half term and is over before the end of the summer term - but all the staff call it the back to school promotion still!
PBO I'd definitely check it in that case - ds2 is only just 1m tall now and still struggling with them (and as well as being short he has short legs and a long body iyswim) - height wise he is usually about 1st percentile give or take a smidge depending on if he's having a growth spurt - he was probably about 90cm tall a year ago and his age 3 school trousers are only now just about the right length to give you an idea of his size.
So yes - definitely check it out with your son together before he needs to go by himself and struggles!
Most supermarkets, plus places like Wilkos do lunchboxes with straps. DD has a fabric one from The Range. We wipe it out daily and then throw it in the washing machine on a Friday night.
One thing we did find hard to source, oddly enough, was a drinks bottle. At dd's school they expect them to be transparent so they can see you're only giving water. Water bottles nowadays are covered in cartoon characters and/or neon pink. Finding a plain, see through one was a bit of a task it turned out.
DS was born by emcs 4 days before dd started reception. It was occasionally very chaotic. You might find that having a routine established helps though. DS quickly got his feeds and naps sorted round the school run.
zipzap - how tall (my DS (3.11) is around 94cm tall currently and going to school induction next week)
Bloody hell, there's so much to think about! Thanks for all the really comprehensive advice though.
TeamEdward - where do you get those lunchboxes from?
I've heard people before say lunch boxes with shoulder straps are good. And specific links/recommendations?
Will invest in a Sharpie pen.
I'm all about preparation the night before. I'll have a few more things to think about now but I'm sure I'll get into the swing if things soon. I think it'll be easier on my non work days and DC3 is due in January which will add another layer of chaos. We should have some sort of routine by then to completely go out the window!
Make sure they know the procedure for going to the toilet too. So at dd's school, they had to put up their hand and then collect a teddybear and then proceed to the toilet. Lots of accidents at first with children not putting up their hand soon enough, rushing back to get a teddy etc. I had a bit of a problem with dd when she started because she took the 'no questions, no talking during quiet time' too literally and for 45 minutes thought she couldn't ask for the loo. She then had an accident. These little things will crop up over time.
If your child is small then check they can use the loos. Ds2 is v short for his age and when we went for one of the induction afternoons we discovered that he needed me to plonk him on the loo as they were too tall for him to get onto unaided. We then discovered
as I let go of him having lifted him up and he carried on falling into the toilet that the seat was too big too. Oops.
There is now an ikea step in the wheelchair friendly loo which he can use as the bars mean that he can use them as handles to stop himself falling through. he just has to remember to use the right cubicle and move the step infront of the loo and then out of the way afterwards.
Once I'd spotted the problem it was easy to talk to the teachers and come up with a solution but it was only fluke that I'd gone into the loos on the induction afternoon - it's easy to assume that as they have infant sized loos that look diddy that they will be small enough for all the kids!
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