Waa, Leo is starting primary school in less than 3 weeks time and I am so not ready to be sending my baby off to the classroom 5 days a week. I am feeling emotional about this massive step, obviously, and if I am being completely honest I am feeling really overwhelmed too. Leo is my firstborn, I have not had to navigate the chaos of the school run and the world of playground politics before; when it comes to starting school and getting organised I am clueless. To help me feel a little less terrified about the new school year and to give me a lesson or two on how to ease my child into reception year, I have enlisted the help of some fellow mummy bloggers. I asked 10 of my lovely blogging buddies, all mums of children already in school, to share with me their top tips, survival hacks and pearls of wisdom on how to prepare and ease your child (and yourself) into school life. If you have a little one donning a school uniform for the first time this September too then I am sure you will find this post useful and will be bossing your new life as a school run mum before the first half term is over.
The mummy bloggers guide to starting primary school.
‘Be really prepared. It sounds silly but by laying the uniform out the night before and making sure the book bag has the reading book/library book/slip to be returned in the night before means that the mornings are far smoother. Also try not to say things like ‘you’ll have to do that yourself when you go to school’ as it makes school seem a daunting place and may encourage them to rebel against what you are trying to get them to do, e.g. self care, buttons etc. Oh, and no laces in the shoes until they’re at least 15! ‘ – Louise, Pink Pear Bear
‘I remember being so excited and super nervous at the same time. I worried so much about it and couldn’t think about anything else the previous months. (Just a quick note to say that I was also pregnant with my 2nd one so it was a hard time for me as I gave birth a few weeks before my 1st started school so I was more emotional than ever! lol) Anyway what I wanted to say is that I was so worried but when the first day school finally arrived, my daughter was absolutely fine and happy! And I was the ONE crying and super emotional there, lol. Also I think it helped a lot that she had another friend from nursery joining the school together so she felt more confident because of that. She was so happy! Now, the first term was hard in general as she needed time to get settled and she was behind but she did much better the other terms so do not worry too much if the first term doesn’t go as well as you hope. And of course things will be better with time. Good luck with it all! It is a huge milestones for little ones.’ – Franca, A moment with Franca
‘The main thing that helped when Rhys started school was to read books about it in the few weeks beforehand. We had one called ‘When I start school’ which was fab as it addressed lots of possible fears he might have had about school. Oh and label everything with his name!’ – Madeline, This Glorious Life
‘Plan something to do after you’ve dropped your child off. It’s an incredibly emotional experience but way harder for mum/dad. Do not go home to cry into a cup of coffee! Chances are they’ll be happily playing and you’ll be left worrying and over-thinking it all. Plan to go meet a friend or go shopping and you won’t be tempted to sit sobbing into their baby photos at home!!‘ – Jemma, Popcorn for Lunch
‘My main tip would be not to make starting school a big deal. Try and be relaxed about them starting school and make it exciting by letting them choose their lunchbox, shoes etc.’ – Fran, Back with a Bump
‘I drew a little heart on my daughter’s hand and a matching one on mine so that when we missed each other, we could look at the heart and know that the other one was thinking of us. We also watched lots of “Time for school” on cbeebies in the run up to starting.’ – Lucy, Lucy at Home
‘My biggest survival tactic for the first year of school has been networking with other mums. Get chatting at kids parties, exchange numbers, get a little tribe. Our six or seven school mums on a group chat have saved many an embarrassment of not realising it’s a non school uniform day, bring in a teddy day, wear your pyjamas to school day, or worst of all, a staff training day! Notes on doors are a common method of communication at school and if your drop offs are by different people you’ll need a set of Mums who’ll have your back.’ – Sarah, Mum Muddling Through
‘My advice would be to stay as relaxed as possible in the lead up to school but do talk about it. Talk about the teachers names too. For you, I know this bit is really hard but try not to get upset as you wave them off, they may see this as a bad sign. Save the tears for when they are out of sight then have a good cry. Make sure you have plans for those first few days. Perhaps take him out for a family meal at the weekend so he can tell you all about his first week but beware getting any information out of them once they’ve started school is like getting blood out of a stone!’ – Helen, Talking Mums
‘Eva cried every morning for the first 12 months of reception and we tried EVERYTHING! One thing that really helped was to buy a diary and colour code the school days and the weekends/holidays, green for school and pink for home. It really helped her to visualise it like that and to know that there was so many pink days amongst the green.’ – Laura, Five Little Doves
‘At some stage reality will hit that your child will have to do this EVERY day resulting in extreme tiredness and odd / bad behaviour (we had hitting, waking up crying during the night and asking to go to bed at 4pm). So my top tip would be to bring dinner, bed and bath forward by an hour or so. I can remember going through a phase of dishing up dinner at about 3.30pm as my daughter was so tired! Getting any information from your child is near impossible so although tempting, don’t ask loads of general questions about what they did on their day. (I found specific questions got more of a response like what they had for lunch or if anyone was naughty in class!).’ – Cheryl, Tea or Wine
I don’t know about you but I am feeling so much better after reading all this advice. It is impossible to know how you and your little one are going to cope with school life until September comes around but being prepared and having strategies in place to help everything run smoothly is a really good idea. Thank you lovely mummy bloggers for sharing your knowledge with us new mums in the playground, good luck to all your little ones going up a year after the summer holidays.
Do you have a little one starting school in September? Are you feeling prepared or unorganised and overwhelmed? If you already have a child in school I would love for you to share one of your top tips for starting school in the comments below.
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