Today marks 12 whole months since Leo’s first day of play school. At 2 and half years old we decided Leo was ready to start mixing more with other kids, learning valuable skills for school and, well, I needed a bit of a break if I’m honest. The year has gone so quickly and I feel like Leo isn’t the only one who’s been learning new things, I’ve learnt a fair few lessons myself too and I thought I would share them with you all.
10 lessons I’ve learnt from my son’s first year of play school
1. The first day is scary, for mum and toddler – That first time I dropped Leo off I was terrified, I was so worried he wouldn’t settle without me or he’d go around terrorising all the other children (he still hadn’t grown out of his vampire phase). Leo was fine on our way to play school but he did cry when he realised I couldn’t stay with him, this was tough on both of us. As time has gone on my worries have diminished and Leo doesn’t even give a half hearted sob when I turn and walk out the door now.
2. Leaving your child cry in the arms of strangers is tough – For the first few months Leo would cry his eyes out when I left. There would be days where he would cling to my legs like a leach and he would scream at the top of his lungs when I was eventually persuaded to leave by the staff.
3. Sometimes your child can’t wait to get away from you – OK, so this is all the time for Leo recently. I’m lucky if he even glances in my direction once we’ve hung his coat and bag up. I practically have to beg him for a kiss goodbye most days. He went from crying his eyes out when I left to barely acknowledging my existence almost over night, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground.
4. The play school book will always disappear 15minutes before you have to leave the house – If only there was a way I could reclaim all the hours I’ve spent searching for the damn play school book! It can be sensibly placed on the kitchen table the previous day but come morning it has moved and disappeared into a ‘What the lady bird heard’ shaped black hole. The book bag likes to play hide and seek as well.
5. Only a fool doesn’t make a packed lunch the night before – Every evening that I don’t bother/forget to make Leo’s sandwiches for the next day I know I’m going to regret it. There is enough stuff to do in the morning to get us all out of the house by 8.50am , let alone try and find an extra 5 minutes to make Leo’s lunch. No matter how tired you are just drag your self to the kitchen and pack that lunch box, you will be so grateful not to have to deal with the extra task during all the morning chaos.
6. We are the people who are always late – I always thought I was an organised person, what with all my list making and good time keeping whilst employed. It turns out becoming a mother has killed off the part of my brain responsible for organisation as I am always late getting Leo to play school. Always. I think I have probably marched Leo through those doors dead on 9am a handful of times in the last year. I try to be organised (see points 4&5) but somehow everyday I end up walking Leo in to a room full of children whilst trying to act oblivious to the fact we are almost 15minutes late. He is also always the last one to be picked up!
7. Kids don’t like to tell you what they’ve been doing all day – I ask Leo everyday what he has done at play school and his answer is always ‘nothing’. I have tried other tactics like asking what toys did he play with, who did he play with, did he go outside etc but all I get is ‘I don’t know’ or he starts talking about something else . From what I’ve heard from other mums, it can be difficult to get your child to talk to you about school.
8. Child free time can be amazing– I love my boy to pieces but it is so nice to have a bit of a break. I struggled with guilt over this at first as I don’t work so there is no real need for Leo to be in play school but as time has gone on I’ve realised it’s OK for me to have some time to myself. Being a mum is hard, especially when you’re two year old is all about being terrible, and we all deserve a break sometimes. I have been able to grow my blog, drink copious amounts of hot tea, spend quality time with my baby, clean the house in peace, binge watch boxsets, relax in the bath and just do whatever the hell I feel like for 3 morning a week, safe in the knowledge that my son is being looked after and having loads of fun at play school.
9. Child free time can be boring – I know I have Alex now so I’m not technically child free when Leo goes to play school but some days I’m just so bored without my Leo in the house. After the novelty of my first uninterrupted wee of the day has worn off I soon start to miss my noisy little shadow. Although I often crave 5 minutes to myself, when I do get the opportunity I sometimes feel a bit lost. Most of the time I really enjoy my 3 days a week all to myself (and now Alex) though, as explained in point 8.
10. A fridge does not provide adequate space for displaying play school ‘art‘ – Oh my god, my house is overflowing with finger paintings, letter practice sheets, bits of cardboard that are supposed to be sculptures and sheets of A4 decorated with a single line of red felt tip. I love that Leo is learning to be creative and he always says his masterpieces are presents for me but, seriously, most of it belongs in the bin at play school. Once he has brought it home to me though I just don’t have the heart to bin it. I have a pin board covered in his paintings and crafts and I stick a picture or 2 on the fridge every now and then too. By the time Leo finishes in play school in July I will be able to wallpaper my entire house with all his artwork.
I said I was going to stop at 10 but here’s a bonus 2 lessons, just for you..
11. Nothing beats seeing your child running up to you, with a big smile on their face and arms wide open for a hug when you pick them up at the end of the day.
12. Seeing your child grow, develop and learn new things is amazing. I am so proud of how far my boy has come on in the last year, play school has been so good for him and he has really thrived since he started going for 3 days a week. I am so glad we made the decision for him to go to play school, seeing how much he’s come on in just a year proves to me that we made the right choice.
Does your little one go to play school? How are you all finding it, do you have any lessons to add? If you have a toddler, are you thinking of sending them to play school at some point? Let me know in the comments.
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