The emphasis for young families at this time year is definitely the start of school. Parents are busy buying supplies, researching school lunches, ironing uniforms and trying to prepare little ones for what can be a daunting experience for everyone involved.
Combined, the B2BK team have a total of 8 school-aged children between us ranging from Grade 1 through to Grade 12. Here’s how we all handled starting school with our babies.
Be organised! Prepare lunches beforehand, have uniforms ready to go, freeze drink bottles and have everything readily accessible. You want plenty of time on that first day for lots of “first day of school pics” not running around finding little Johnny’s lunchbox! Yikes!
Lower your expectations for your child. There might be breakdowns, tears and school refusal. All these things are normal. It is likely they will lose things, forget things and be a general hot mess. Be prepared for all of these eventualities!
Talk positively. Let them know school is a safe place with people who care about them and that the teacher is there to help. Talk about it casually but try not to make too much of a big deal about it. Sometimes expectation is a bit different from reality!
Remind them to go to the toilet a LOT! Pack spare clothes, just in case.
Simplify. Make home life as straightforward as possible for at least the first term. Restrict extra curricular activities, have snacks ready to go in the afternoon and expect that there may be quite a few evenings where your child falls asleep at the dinner table!
Be realistic. Little Johnny isn’t going to start school and instantly learn to read and write! These things take months and even years. Each child is different and will learn at their own pace. My daughter didn’t show the slightest inclination to read until she was 7! Now there’s no stopping her.
Say goodbye and don’t loiter! Hanging around can exacerbate already emotional feelings. Give your child a LOT of love, then get out!
Have a good cry! Three kids in and I STILL cried when my youngest started school! Meet up with some other prep parents and have a good howl together. Or actually go and have your first hot coffee in 5 years in peace!
Savour the moment. My eldest daughter is beginning her final year of school and I can’t begin to tell you how quickly it went. I know it’s hard to hear this when you are deep in the trenches of parenting little ones, but one day they will walk out of those school gates as an adult. And that’s a whole different parenting journey…..