So far I feel as though I’ve been winging it with all the orientation days, book list ordering, uniform purchasing and finding my way around Master E’s new school, but all seems to be on track to a fairly smooth start.
I may or may not have had too great an expectation of covering all of his books and scrapbooks in Lightning McQueen paper. I’ve only been able to manage 4 and with 8 scrapbooks left to go I’m pretty sure I’m just going to whack a clear plastic protector over them. I really couldn’t be bothered and I’m sure Master E won’t really care.
But the way I imagine Master E’s first day at prep, the drop-off, the pickup and all the days following, could be completely different to reality because I’ve never ever done this before, apart from going to school myself for the first time almost 30 years ago.
So as a mum with absolutely zero ‘school mum’ experience, I do not feel I’m in a position to write a blog post providing advice. That is why I consulted a bunch of extremely wise and experienced mums and teachers on my Facebook page and asked them to share their advice for first-time school mums (thank you!). I’m sure plenty of you first-time school mums reading this post will find this EXTREMELY useful!
The first drop off
Karina has a great way of looking at the first day. Don’t see it as the end of an era, see it as a new adventure, a whole new world.
Alison makes some good points about reducing anxiety on the first day. She suggests not projecting anxiety and feelings onto your child by saying things like, “I’m going to miss you so much!” Or, “There’s going to be lots of new things and lots of new people but don’t be scared.”
Emma, a mum and teacher says that quick goodbyes are often the best goodbyes in the first week. Take your child to where they need to be, let the teacher greet your child, help them unpack their belongings and settle them to an activity. Say, ‘Have a good day at Kindy/Prep/School and (name) will pick you up this afternoon,’ and leave without hesitation. This shows your child that you are confident in leaving them there.
Kelly also suggests not planning anything for the first day, hold your tears for the car, get home and sob like a baby, because it’s okay to feel sad, it’s a big deal!
Dealing with anxiety
As mentioned in first drop off, quick drop offs are always the best. Zita, a teacher, says that “even though it will probably break your heart, especially if your child is crying, it is better to leave promptly and not drag it out. The teacher will be able to monitor the situation and if your child does not settle, you will be contacted, no news is good news.”
Both Susan and Melissa are advocates for making the experience a positive and exciting one, like an adventure but warn that the second and third weeks can be tough with littlies getting very tired and suggest allowing them to nap when possible.
Zita makes a great point when it comes to lunchboxes. You may have bought a shiny new one but is your child able to open and close it? Just imagine a prep teacher with 25 students trying to help all of them open and close their lunchboxes!
We trialled the Nude Food Movers lunchbox range and as much as we loved them and Master E can pull the lunchbox out of the cooling bag and open the box up, he still can’t manage to put it back in the cooler sleeve as it’s too tight. I will now use another lunch bag with other Nude Food Mover containers in it with an ice brick.
Emma suggests the use of a timetable on the fridge so that your child knows what’s happening at school each day – library, swimming, PE, assembly. I reckon this will help me remember too!
Another item on my list is labelling. I ended up going with Tiny Me labels for everything from school books, glue sticks, pencils and shoes, right through to iron on labels for uniforms. Apparently, mum and teacher Emma suggests labelling undies too. I would never have thought!
Limit the tech before school
One thing that I have been doing for a little while with the artwork Master E brings home is frame it. I purchased a lovely big frame and I replace it with artwork he has created. It takes pride of place on our sideboard and Master E feels very proud when he sees his work in a frame.
Every child is different and they all learn differently and at different speeds. So true Monique, so true.
Stay up to date
And as much as we may find newsletters another email in our already full inbox or another piece of paper in our pile, Robyna advises that you read the school newsletter CAREFULLY.
So after reading through all of this amazing advice for first-time school mums, I think I’m set. I’ll now just take Erica’s advice –
“Don’t stress, there’s nothing to worry about, just relax and enjoy another milestone that you and your child have accomplished. “
Good luck Mums and students!!!
This article is part of the 2017 Aussie Back to School Blog Hop! Please read the articles here by some wonderful Australian Bloggers! You will find out how the first time school mums are feeling, great lunch box ideas as well as suggestions for those who don’t like crunch and sip!
2017 Aussie Back to School Blog Hop!
Teacher’s Please Don’t! | Your Kids OT
10 simple ways to make school lunches more fun | Kidgredients
Teacher Types Top Tips for Going Back to School | Teacher Types
Maintaining a Play Filled Routine throughout the School Term | Kids Play Space
5 Must Have Items for Starting Day Care | My Bored Toddler
Handling Crunch and Sip with Fussy Kids | Play With Food
How to share your child’s special needs with their new teacher | My Home Truths
16 things the school holidays have taught me | Eenie Meenie Miney Mum
The Most Important Skills Your Child Needs for School | The Happy Me Shop
101 Sandwich Filling Ideas for Kids | Create Bake Make