Here you are, with your three a four year old, ready to take those next steps of parenting and give your child their first taste of life without you guiding them or waiting in the next room when they bump their heads. You’ve received that email or letter letting you know which school will be privileged with teaching your little angel and you’re getting yourself ready for September when the big day will arrive. But what’s next? What do you actually need to do now the confirmation has been received?
1. Complete the form to accept the place. Many schools will send something out to all children who have had a place accepted at the school, so do make sure you return this to confirm your child’s place and make sure you receive all the information from them.
2. Get to know the school. Once you’ve sent your form in you should be invited to the school for a tater session. For some children this will be once, for some it may be several. Some schools even send the child’s teacher out to meet each new starter. Good questions are ask are what the uniform is, the times school starts and ends, what lunch options are, what homework will be and what ability is expected of the children starting – e.g. should they be able to read and write their own name?
3. Buy the uniform. My advice is when it comes to some items, buy quality so it lasts, other pieces are fine to be bought on a budget. Last year I bought supermarket tops and they faded and shrank within the first term, whereas the tops I bought from the schoolwear shop can be passed down to my second child. However skirts, pinafores and trousers are usually pretty good from most places so don’t feel you need to spend a fortune on these. Jumpers and cardigans again should be bought from the school wear shop as you will need them to have the school logo on.
4. Get labelling! Label everything, apart from their underwear, and even then you will find things get lost.
5. Make sure they are independent. By the time they are starting reception they should be able to dress and undress themselves and be able to go to toilet without help. It won’t go down well unless there is a good reason for them not to be able to do these so if you’re little one’s not quite there use the summer to get practising.
6. Plan your routine. Your morning routine will probably be a work in progress, but for a bit of guidance I give myself an hour from getting up to leaving the house with two children. You may need more, you may crack it and need less. Usually this involves getting up, giving them breakfast, getting myself dressed, getting them dressed, brushing teeth and hair, shoes and coats on and getting out of the house. Phew!
7. Don’t expect too much. Every child is good at different things so whilst an academic child may overachieve in writing and reading they may not be quite as sociable as some, and vice versa. Try not to compare them to other children, as difficult as this can be. Celebrate what they are good at and encourage that which they find more of a challenge.
8. Prepare yourself for the playground mums. I have found it hugely entertaining and eye-opening being in the playground at pick-up and drop-off times. I have met some mums that I have got on great with and overheard some interesting and downright odd conversations! Don’t stress about fitting in and just take it for what it is – a ten minute slot in your life to witness the characters of your community in full force!
9. Be Positive. Children pick up on our emotions as well as their own, so when that first day arrives smile, act confident and save those tears for when they are out of sight.
10. Enjoy the summer. Make the most of these days before you will be escorting your precious little one through those school gates and waving them off into the next stage of their lives. Time with these little ones goes so fast and once they are in school your days will be filled with getting them ready, making sure they do their homework and dealing with them when they are tired after a busy day.
I hope these tips can help you get yourself and your child ready for the school days ahead!