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I know it's early, but we need your back to school/settling into new school tips....

(39 Posts)
carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 27-Jul-07 20:55:34

I know noone wants to think about going back yet (or maybe after a week of rainy day play you're positively looking forward to it) but we'd like to put together a collection of Mumsnetters' top tips on settling your child into nursery, primary and secondary school, as well as any general tips on making the transition from the long summer hol to school time easier. So if you've had any experience of this and have any suggestions or tips please post them here.

Thanks in advance


JARM Fri 27-Jul-07 20:56:45

ooooh will be watching this with interest. DD1 starts nursery september!

tearinghairout Fri 27-Jul-07 21:01:12

Buying new pencil case/pen/rubber/colouring pencils seems to make it more bearable for my dch. Takes a special trip to WH Smith & then ages to choose the right pencil case, but seems to make them strangely happy.

chatee Fri 27-Jul-07 21:06:41

the last week of the holidays make sure the children are up at the time needed to be up on a school morning and going to bed at the right time too....we generally let the bed time routine slip during the hols (school days they are normally in bed by 7.30 and lights out/story finished by 7.45-8pm)but during the holidays it's normally at least 30-45 mins later going to bed and of course it's then normally an hour or 90 mins later getting up, so it does take a gradual process during the last week to get them back on track!!

coppertop Mon 30-Jul-07 15:34:40

If your child is starting school for the first time, make sure they've had chance to practise changing into their PE kit during the summer holidays.

LIZS Mon 30-Jul-07 16:42:13

If your child is joining an established group of children, such as tranferring from another school or entering Reception from a non-school based nursery, try to find out if there are any others getting together before school starts so your child finds at least a few familiar faces on the first day.

Find out the policy on uniform for Autumn term - if the majority go back in summer dresses/shorts your child may feel awkward if in a pinafore and tights/long trousers !

FluffyMummy123 Mon 30-Jul-07 17:22:13

Message withdrawn

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-Aug-07 11:12:21

LOL Cod. Any more?

saadia Thu 02-Aug-07 11:17:27

I think in the early days it helps if they learn the names of a few classmates. Ds was quite unhappy at nursery and we told him to learn another child's name - don't know why but it seemed to help. I think if they have at least one other "friend" in the early days it makes things easier.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-Aug-07 15:32:51


motherinferior Thu 02-Aug-07 15:34:07

I wrote something on this, based on many MNers' wisdom, a couple of years ago - CAT me if you'd like it, Carrie.

motherinferior Thu 02-Aug-07 15:34:52

That would be 0livia, sorry. and of course you don't have to CAT me, being all central and august and everything. You can probably just Control Me From Afar, in fact.

Quattrocento Thu 02-Aug-07 15:55:57

DS (7) is moving schools by transitioning from pre-prep to prep. He was given a reading list of interesting books to give him and us a bit of inspiration. He was also given a book review form with the polite suggestion that he should read at least one a week and complete a review form for each one. He was also given some handwriting practice sheets. Just to keep his hand in.

We've also arranged some playdates with some of the boys in his new form.

clutteredup Thu 02-Aug-07 16:12:11

lol at cod but she has a point, as a teacher there's nothing worse than snivelling parents making fond farewells inside the classroom, children settle in much better if you send them in confidently smiling wishing them well...............then you can go and weep round the corner , i did !!

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 07-Aug-07 13:02:29

Any more tips please?

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 08-Aug-07 12:58:16


WaynettaSlob Wed 08-Aug-07 13:38:49

I'm a total novice at this as DS1 is starting "big school" in September BUT, as he won't know anyone in the class I have got in touch with the school admin person and got contact details of some other parents, and have stated inviting the boys over on playdates so at least DS1 will see some familiar faces when he starts.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 08-Aug-07 15:40:43

Bumping for those who're complaining they're bored.
Get your thinking caps on! {grin]

yeahinaminute Wed 08-Aug-07 15:52:39

Well DD is starting school in Sept [sob] and although we have no getting -to- know- you issues - she's been to pre - school with most of her pals - I have bought her uniform - placed carefully in a "special place" in her wardrobe - and the most fun was helping me apply her name tapes - it made it seem very, very real to her somehow !!

roisin Wed 08-Aug-07 15:53:53

Don't discuss options too much with your child - any age; but rather set rules and stick with them. And have set routines too. This gives children security.

Make a decision about school dinners vs packed lunches and tell your child they have to stick with it for half a term. (I told mine til they were 14!)
Immediately when they get home:
* What do they do with their shoes, coat, uniform?
* Check bag (or get them to) for letters home. Deal with them immediately. Write checks/fill in forms and put straight back in bags.
* Where do they put their school bags, lunchboxes?
* When do they do their homework?

I know there are fantastic previous threads on here for good morning routines.

Make sure your child knows where they are meeting you after school (especially if it is a big one), and be certain you are reliably there. But give them instructions as to what they should do if you have not turned up.

If your older child is struggling to settle, and especially to separate from you, try writing a short letter to them to keep in their coat pocket. But they're not allowed to read it until after you've gone.

I don't think you should pre-empt the start of school. Ideally sort out school uniform/equipment, etc. early in the summer holidays, then have a specially fantastic fun last week of the hols.

Then go back to school with a bang. Concentrate on making sure they get to bed early, plenty of sleep, and good breakfasts, and they'll soon get back into school routine.

PrettyCandles Wed 08-Aug-07 16:02:59

Ds1 needs a gentle and clear transitiuon backinto school mode. He can't cope with holiday excitements, late bedtimes, leisurely breakfasts and unstructured days continuing until the last moment of the holidays, and then waking uyp the following day and going straight to school. So we make sure that the last couple of days of holiday are fairly quiet, boring days, with much of the routine of schooldays. We do preparing-for-school things, eg instead of sorting out laundry, uniforms, bookbags etc in the evening, I do it during the day so that he can see that we are getting ready to go back to school. We talk about it, and about how schooldays are different to holidyas, what he's looking ofrward to the most at school, what he'll miss from the holidays, etc. We also plan a playdate for the first week.

With dd, who starts Reception in September, we've played with all of her uniform and school kit, so she knows what her stuff looks like and how to put it on etc. I don't think she needs much settling - she's so eager to go!

roisin Wed 08-Aug-07 16:09:17

That's interesting PrettyCandles. My boys sometimes take a while to adjust to 'holiday-mode' after they breakup, but going back to school is always very straightforward and they just slip back into routine.

But if they do go back on a Monday they are very tired by the end fo the week.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 09-Aug-07 13:20:50

Any more for any more?

Earlybird Thu 09-Aug-07 14:18:40

We've just moved to America for a few years. DD would have been in Y2, but here in the States she'll be in first grade. She'll be going to a private school (does that automatically make it poncey? ). We've worked with the school to do some things that appear to have helped dd (hopefully - we'll know in a few weeks when school starts).

Most of my tips revolve around familiarising dd with the new physical setting, and also doing what we can to ensure she sees a few familiar faces when she goes into the classroom.

The school provided us with the names/contact details of 4 children they thought might 'fit' well with dd, and we've had playdates with two of them (others away on holiday).

We've walked through the building several times, and have seen which classroom will be hers, we've seen the gym and lunchroom and library. We've identified the closest bathrooms to her classroom, and seen the area where her 'peg' will be.

Her teacher wrote all the children a letter, and is meeting with the children new to the school upfront. DD's meeting was a few days ago, and she was able to see the classroom, and where she'll be sitting. The teacher has kindly placed her next to a girl we've met and had playdates with over the summer. DD came out of the meeting very excited.

Interesting to me - all the children in dd's year have an 'orientation' meeting for an hour in advance of the start of school. The children will look around the physical classroom/lower school space while the parents are briefed about practical school matters - pick up and drop off locations, lunch routine, sports, curriculum, etc. The school has thoughtfully scheduled the meeting at lunchtime so that working parents might better be able to attend.

Long-winded (as always!) way of saying - introduce things gradually, and it should be a much easier transition.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 09-Aug-07 17:34:10

Another one bumps the thread.

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