Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Starting School - What I Wish I'd Known

Over the next couple of weeks Archer has some big events afoot. We've been to the school twice a day for nearly two years with his big brother, but now it's his turn. School taster days are here and, boy, is he excited!

There are so many things I wish I knew when Harry started school - little things that can help with the smooth running of the transition to school. I thought I'd note down a few of them here as a handy reminder to myself - and you never know, they may help someone else!!

1. Befriend someone with an older sibling at the school. If you can do this, everything will be so much easier! There are so many little quirks and differences about each school that only the parents really appreciate. What time do they actually *need* to be in school? (Harry's school starts at 9 but in reality that's when the register is done and the kids are sat on the carpet. Nearly everyone drops off at 8.50 when the 'doors open'). How on earth do cake sales work? What's the method for school dinners? What kind of water bottle do they need? What happens if I'm late to school? What about after school clubs? The list is endless - yes, the school will answer your questions, but nothing beats a quick text to your friend at 10pm when you realise you're supposed to be sending in your 4 year old with money in the morning and you suspect it will get lost in the ether (stock up on those titchy envelopes now!)

2. School Uniform - I buy all my school uniform from Tesco - it's cheap and hard wearing and, best of all I can order on click and collect and pick up from just down the road.

For some reason, school trousers seem to a size bigger than jeans or other trousers - even if you get them from the same shop. I bough Harry age 4-5 for starting school as that's the size he was wearing but they were MASSIVE! He ended up in age 3-4 for the first term or so. Polo shirts on the other hand *look* massive but soon shrink to size, and besides they will probably be under a pinafore or jumper up until Christmas anyway. 

On the subject of what exactly they will be wearing it's worth noting that the weather in September can still be pretty balmy but try buying summer uniform in the run up to September and you might find you are out of luck! So if you want shorts or checked dresses, I'd get them in now! 

3. Labelling - just label everything! Things will still disappear into the ether. I sew labels in for mine so I can easily switch them for the younger kids but I have had second hand clothes with iron on and stick in labels that are impossible to remover so those are definitely a quicker option. I've also heard good things about the stamps you can get but I've not tried them.

Whilst labelling your child's shoes (remember everyone will have gone to your local shoe shop and bought those ones with the lights in... And many will be  the same size) try chopping a large sticker in half. Put one half in each shoe. This way, when your child goes to put their shoes on, they only have to match the picture and they will get them on the right feet.  

4. Don't sweat the small stuff. And in reception the small stuff is the curriculum. Focus on your child enjoying school, making friends and settling in. Don't expect reading books home and homework - to be honest even if these things come home early in the year I would treat it as optional. Your precious little person has years at school ahead of them. Just make sure it's a safe, happy place for them whatever way they can.

We have been enjoying completing a school sticker book that is guiding Archer through what to expect at school - I used the same one with Harry and it's lovely to see how he has come on.

5. When that day finally comes it will be emotional. You are waving them off into a new world where you will no longer be instrumental in everything they do. In fact, you probably won't have a clue what they do all day! If you can get in touch with some of the other mums and arrange to go out for a coffee - or to someone's house so the tears don't matter... 

And be ready (with a snack in hand) for pick up and your brand new school child to come home all full of beans...

It's been a while...

It has been a long time since I blogged. Life has really taken over! Going from 2-4 kids has been quite a shock - and the past year has gone by in a blur. 

However, recently I've been spending rather too much time on random Internet forums and I realised that that probably meant I had time to blog!

The last few months have been eventful -
I became a great Aunt, we had an extension built, the boys started swimming lessons.
The next few are going to be a period of great change -  in September my baby boy Archer starts school, I go back to work and a wonderful nanny starts working with us. Before that we have my cousins festi-wedding, Camp Bestival and a summer full of fun to fill!

I hope some of you will join me on my journey :-)