Advice For First Time School Mums From Seasoned Mums and Teachers

advice for first time school mums
One more week and my first born will be achieving one of the biggest milestones yet. Prep. It’ll be a milestone for me too, my first child at primary school, yet my memories of my own primary school days are still so vivid.

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

advice for first time school mums
Leigh suggests taking some time out from work on the first day to sit with your child while they wait to go into class. She recommends keeping conversation normal, don’t ask how they’re feeling otherwise they could get nervous. Look at the experience as being positive and fun and there are likely to be no tears!

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

Advice for first time school mums
Emma and Susan both recommend visiting the school in the week beforehand to build familiarity, alleviate the mystery of school and reduce the chances of separation anxiety. Show them where the toilets are, the tuck shop, where their classroom is (maybe even have a peek in the window). Walk the route you’ll take from where you’ll park the car to the classroom. Another good idea is to find out if your school offer a meet and greet for children before school begins.

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.

Encourage independence

advice for first time school mums
If you haven’t created a little space in your home for things like school bags, hat, shoes and other school items yet, Emma suggests you do. This is the perfect way to get your children packing their own school bags from the beginning as they will be expected to know where their things are and pack their own bags when they are at school.

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.

Get organised

advice for first time school mums
This is something that I’m most nervous about with a six-month-old baby and being used to relaxed Kindergarten and child care drop off times for so long!

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

advice for first time school mums
A hot tip from teacher Emma – no TV or devices like the iPad before school! Emma says this can be tricky but suggests you try having your children listen to stories on cd or on the radio, read books, enjoy some quiet drawing or play with building blocks! She also suggests walking to school if possible. This will get the brain ready for a day of learning.

Show interest

advice for first time school mums
I must admit that ever since Elliott started daycare I always showed interest, not because I had to, but because I was genuinely interested. Tamra, another mum and teacher say it’s so important to listen with excitement when your child gets home from school and tells you about something they learnt. When they do this, delve into their love of learning with them.

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.

Volunteer

Advice for first time school mums
Amber reckons volunteering in the classroom is a must and that it’ so nice to see your little one interacting with their new friends as well as you building a relationship with the teacher and getting to know the class dynamic. “It will help you understand issues as they arise throughout the year and how the school system works,” says Amber.

Don’t compare

Advice for first time school mums
Ever since I became a parent one thing that seems to dominate this parenthood journey is comparisons. It really isn’t healthy but I guess comparing ourselves is often part of human nature. I love Monique’s suggestion that you should not compare your child to other kids. “It will drive you insane,” Monique says.

Every child is different and they all learn differently and at different speeds. So true Monique, so true.

Stay up to date

Advice for first time school mums
Cristal admitted that one of her downfalls when her children started school was the communication. She suggests knowing what the communication channels are between you and the school/teacher and allocating time to read the information that does come home so you know exactly what is happening and you can update the timetable on your fridge!

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!!!

Back to School Blog Hop

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

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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6 Comments

  1. January 20, 2017 / 8:35 am

    Wonderful tips! I always plan something for myself on the first day of school – a visit to the hair dresser or coffee with friends. Our school usually does a “tears and tissues” morning tea for Kindy/prep parents after the first drop off! Another great advice I have been given in the past is to keep questions after school concrete – like do you know who you sat next to in the classroom? Rather than “Was school good?”. All the best with the first day!

  2. January 20, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    I am taking note of every single word here – as the day is fast approaching for our one and only to start school (prep)!! Nervous excitement! Great tips! Good luck to you too mama!!

  3. January 22, 2017 / 6:26 am

    I will have to remember these tips, I can’t believe our beautiful boys are starting prep THIS WEEK!!