10 lessons I have learnt from my son’s first year of play school

10 lessons I have learnt from my son’s first year of play school

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.

You can find this post linked to some of these amazing blog link ups –

Maternity Mondays | Marvellous Mondays | Posts from the Heart | #MG | Big Pink Link | Twinkly Tuesday | Dream Team | Tried and Tested | Blogger Club UK | Best and Worst | Family Fun | Cool Mum Club | A Blogging Good Time | The List Linky | PoCoLo |For the Love of Blog | KCACOLS  …and of course #BlogCrush, the linky I co host every Friday.

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  1. March 10, 2017 / 1:58 am

    I can totally relate to points 7 and 8… even my Little Man always answers that question with ‘Nothing’, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’ll tell you later’. However, when we’re in bed at night, he often opens up about his day at school and I love our little conversations.
    Point 8 – I too felt that same guilt of ‘do I need to send him to nursery when I’m not working’… till I realised how much he’s learning and enjoying, and how much I need those 3 mornings to myself!
    Love points 11 and 12 too – makes me sooooo happy and proud.
    And I love the way you referred to Leo as a noisy little shadow lol.
    Great post!
    Nicole – Tales from Mamaville recently posted…7 things it’s pointless doing after having a babyMy Profile

  2. March 10, 2017 / 5:22 am

    Love #10, I don’t even have kids and my fridge is overflowing with my nephew and nieces artwork. They send it to me and I display it proudly. I may need a second display area soon! #BlogCrush
    Heather Keet recently posted…I’m happy to be subservient…My Profile

  3. March 10, 2017 / 7:33 am

    My girls have both been going since they were quite young. We put my eldest in just after she was two because I needed time with the baby, and she was so bored. She loved it.
    We put the youngest in when she was 20 months old because I was going in to hospital for a major op shortly after that so I needed her to be somewhere safe while I had time to recouperate.
    We’ve never looked back. They both loved it. I’m only allowed to walk them to the school gate, after that they won’t let me walk them to their classrooms because they are ‘big now mommy”.

  4. March 10, 2017 / 7:46 am

    How hard is it to get them to tell you what they have done in a day at nursery!!

    H is terrible for that. Then all of a sudden days later she will mention something that happened weeks before! lol
    Great post

  5. March 10, 2017 / 11:24 am

    no 11 was always my favourite. I do miss picking up the kids from school, but not dropping them off. I love it when they arrive home though, I still get the smiles and cuddles, even from my eldest if she’s in the right mood 🙂

    Anne recently posted…Out of the Cave – My Journey with a Paleo DietMy Profile

  6. March 10, 2017 / 12:37 pm

    You don’t realise how much you miss them until you hve an empty house! The peace is amazing tho! We always put off making lunches toi knwing the horror we will face in the morning! Haha #blogcrush
    pam lorimer recently posted…Food for thought..the feeding journey continuesMy Profile

  7. March 10, 2017 / 1:07 pm

    Nerys has just started doing afternoons at school, 5 days a week and is loving it so far. She went to nursery 2 mornings a week for a few months first though, so we went through the crying-when-I-left-her stage then. It really was awful, but after a few weeks she settled really well, and I’m glad we did it because she goes into her classroom so happily now. x #TheListLinky
    Madeline (This Glorious Life) recently posted…3 reasons you should print and display your photos at homeMy Profile

  8. March 10, 2017 / 2:05 pm

    You’re so right! My daughter started private nursery at 11 months before I went back to work. She was less aware of what was happening because of her age but it was heart-wrenching to leave her. But after a month or so, she started to love going. When she’s dropped off, she runs in without a backward glance most days. She has learnt so much from being around other children and is always mentioning her nursery friends (both kids and adults alike). I think every parent needs to do what is right for them and their child. For us, I know nursery is a great thing and she misses it when she can’t go…like this week because she has chicken pox.

    Glad you have embraced the ‘you’ time (I occasionally take a day off work just to have a ‘me’ day!) and you’re right about you valuing your time together because you have that time apart! #BlogCrush
    Angela Watling recently posted…30 Days Blogging – Day 14: Films that I love, love, love!My Profile

  9. Sarah
    March 10, 2017 / 2:44 pm

    Ah lovely!! my little one is with a childminder the three days I workout the moment but I think when she’s a bit older play school is the way forward! #thelistlinky

  10. March 10, 2017 / 4:38 pm

    I’m really not looking forward to leaving my crying child in the arms of a stranger. I don’t know if I can do that. It doesn’t feel right. #BlogCrush

  11. Amy & Tots
    March 11, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    At least it isn’t just my child that replies with “nothing” when asked what they got up to. I have images of her just sitting at a table all day staring into space haha! #BlogCrush
    Amy & Tots recently posted…My Battle with Postnatal DepressionMy Profile

  12. March 12, 2017 / 2:17 am

    Lunches! Ugh, School lunches are the bane of our existence. Make the early, and they won’t eat them. Make them late, and they won’t eat them. Might as well throw a few dollars out the car window as you are driving to school each day and get the same result! Ugh. Brilliant you are! #BlogCrush xoxo

  13. March 12, 2017 / 7:22 am

    All so true. A great tip for the artwork is take photos of them then you can get rid of them after a week or so to make room for all the new ones. If you want to you could even make a scrapbook of the photos, helps with the guilt and the kids love that you are wanting to make a permanent record of their amazing creations x
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…Happy Days: New Starts and HomecomingsMy Profile

  14. March 13, 2017 / 7:49 pm

    We’re always the ones who are late too. I am usually such a stickler for being on time to things, but I just can’t seem to manage it with the school run! Aargh! Haha.

    I am dreading having to leave a crying child at nursery. My eldest never had any issues and happily waved goodbye to me every morning, but my younger daughter is very different in temperament and I think we may have some issues…. I’m glad to hear that Leo has settled now 🙂 #blogcrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Blog Crush Week 4: 10th February 2017My Profile

  15. March 13, 2017 / 10:19 pm

    I’m always late. No matter how hard I try to be on time I still end up being late. Molly used to scream when I dropped her off at nursery. I spent the first few weeks crying all the way home and wondering if I should take her out and just have her at home with me all the time. Obviously this was a stupid idea and thank God I didn’t because she loves nursery now. I’m lucky if I even get a wave goodbye now, never mind a kiss haha #marvmondays

  16. March 13, 2017 / 10:36 pm

    I felt a little guilty about sending Ella to nursery schoold this year when I knew that I was going to be on maternity leave at the same time, but I am so glad that we did now. Its not easy keeping two little ones entertained and happy all day every day. So those three days a week when she is at school is the perfect balance. That said, there are moments when the littlest is napping that I feel a little lost and dont know what to do with myself like you, then she comes home from school and I realise how crazy I was not to make the most of those 15-30 free minutes! We were also drowning under art work recently too, then I found a solution, I bought a plastic box to store all her artwork that she brings home from school which means that I can always add new bits to the fridge and take the old bits down and store them. Definitely one of the best things I started doing this year 😉 Fab post, thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

  17. March 15, 2017 / 10:47 pm

    I can certainly relate to these. I remember how anxious I was about leaving my eldest with strangers when she first started preschool – although by the time my youngest started, I knew the staff and was much more relaxed about it all. Having some child-free time is nice (and gives me the chance to go for a run or get some jobs done or even enjoy a hot cup of coffee!) I always regret not doing things the night before too and often end up running late. That feeling when they greet you with a big smile and a hug at pick-up time is amazing. My eldest never told me much about what happened at preschool – I was expecting the same from my youngest but so far she’s been quite chatty which has been lovely.

  18. March 27, 2017 / 9:45 am

    It doesn’t get any better in terms of finding out what they’ve done. The Tubblet learns or does nothing at school, guides, youth club or whilst at home … It’s a complete mystery what she does all day!
    Tubbs recently posted…Looking After Ourselves. The Art of Self-CareMy Profile

  19. October 9, 2017 / 6:23 pm

    Felt so good to read this since we are currently on month 2 of nursery for my 2.5year old and she is not 100% settles yet. But I’m confident that it’ll be good for her and us. Completely agree about loving/dreading the time alone- I mean I have another child at home so it’s not really alone time but I just never knew how much easier it is to care for just one child. Lol. #thelistlinky