School newbie - what do I need to do?(8 Posts)
My son starts reception this September (he's currently an only child) and I have no idea how to handle this whole "school thing".
I hated school due to decades of bullying and I really don't want my own hatred of structured education (or more accurately, the people I went to school with) to pass on to him. I'm also a "fixer" so whenever I'm anxious I need to do things rather than sit around and explore my feelings. Obviously, given my own history, I'm a bit anxious about my precious baby boy going to big school, even if he doesn't seem especially fussed right now.
What do I need to do to prepare for this momentous milestone? How many school shirts do I need to buy? Do I need to get stationary? What can I put in pack lunches?
Give me your best advice. Nothing is too basic because I'm absolutely lost right now.
He will be entitled to a free school meal, so check which catering company your school uses and look for a menu (usually available on line). Most children who take a pack lunch have some variety of sandwich or wrap. It's important to make sure that he can open everything you give him. At first they might not eat a lot with nerves or excitement to go and play. As they settle in they will eat more.
If he is particularly messy, you will need more uniform. I bought my DD six shirts so I only needed to do one weekend wash and had one lovely clean shirt for photographs and assembly days. He should be able to get away with 2/3 jumpers, but obviously it depends on how messy he is, again.
Label everything. EVERYTHING. Schools are a vortex of lost jumpers.
Pencil cases probably won't be needed and may not be allowed.
You need to make sure he can go to the toilet himself and reasonably judge when he needs to go. Accidents are totally okay, and if he is prone to them put a little spare set of uniform in his bag.
He needs to be able to reasonably dress himself (including after taking his uniform off for gym). Some schools don't change the little ones, so, again, check. Don't buy laces unless he can do them himself. Nothing worse than tying boys' wet shoelaces on a dry day <shudder>
It would be great if he could recognise and read his own name.
Socially, make sure he knows how to introduce himself. Practice saying 'hello, I'm Ben, would you like to play?'.
He will be fine
Practical advice - enough uniform for clean every day. Buy shorts and trousers because September can be warm!
Don't bother getting shoes until much much closer to the time.
Water bottle, small rucksack and a thin raincoat as well as thicker winter one.
Get labels which you can iron on and you can stick in to shoes.
Buy the basic uniform quite early on. It runs out in the shops annoyingly! Look out for 25% off sales by Sainsbury's.
Get packed lunch box in case he doesn't like the dinners (my ds loves them but dd didn't).
The school will give guidance on settling. Just enjoy the summer holidays and don't over talk it.
Maybe practice the school run if it's a drive. You'll probably be better parking further away from school as easier!
The School should give you a list of what to take in regarding stationary and a uniform list. You need to work out when to leave home and what your routine will be for collection after school.
I wold also consider going to as much in school as you can. If they have a welcome to new parents, go to it. If he has a welcome morning, make sure he goes to it. Most schools do have these sessions when you both find out a bit more.
Also, keep positive. Your DS is not you. Give him a chance to enjoy school and do not put your anxieties onto him. I have seen parents (Mums) continually crying when leaving their children at school. This is unhelpful to everyone. So you do have to "man up" and be positive. I agree that having a good summer is key and remember it is a wonderful time for your son and that the vast majority of children are just fine. Go and visit the school again if you need to be reassured by their settling in processes. I am sure you will see happy engaged children who will chat to you and be proud of their school.
I would add mentioning your own schooling history to his teacher if you feel comfortable doing so. I've always found it helpful to know if a parent is particularly apprehensive about the whole process. Obviously it's a bit mad at the start if the term but in those circumstances I do try to make a little extra time to check in with them etc. Also, bear in mind that your child will at some point fall out with others. Five year olds don't have great self control and someone will say or do something unkind to them! I've had parents who found that really difficult to cope with, due to their own negative experiences at school, so just try to keep a cool, calm head if things happen (easier said than done I know!)
As Greatwhites said, lunches are free for all children in reception, years 1 &2 regardless of family income, so I would get him on hot dinners rather than packed lunches as most of his peers will be doing the same. They can also cater for special diets if he has allergies or intolerances.
Lots of school jumpers/ shirts as they always get food down the front. Whereas dark coloured trousers seem to last the week. Polo shirts are easier to take on and off than buttoned shirts for young children.
Awesome, thanks for the info. I had no idea that school lunches were already free for some age groups so I will definitely get on that. I've also started work on a morning checklist for him to follow so he can mostly get himself ready by following it.
Given how messy my child is and what has been mentioned here, I'll probably get a uniform for each day so that we don't run out part way through the week (chaos would ensue). I've also ordered some name labels so hopefully, that will reduce lost property-diving after-school events.
I need to talk to the teacher anyway because mild autism runs in the family and there is a chance that he has it. I'll mention my own issues and that I'm trying not to pass them on to him.
Please don't buy book bags/PE bags/water bottle until you know what the school wants. Ours provides the first book bag and (I think) a PE bag and use cups rather than bottles. Wait until you get info from the school or ask a parent whose child is in Reception or Year 1 (as things change over the years).
Start to look out for bits of uniform when they are in the sales and many schools will have a second hand rail at the parents' evening/afternoon which is useful for the jumpers/sweatshirts etc.
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