I have seen a lot of blog posts recently about anxious parents, worrying about their babies going off to school. Some might say I am the worst person to be giving survival tips on this as I cry every year after the holidays BUT not in front of them.
Just because I am an emotional wreck, doesn’t mean I can’t pass on advice from my experiences.
1. BE SUPER ORGANISED
Start from the beginning with this tip. Buy in uniforms, bags and pencil cases a few weeks before, leave the shoes to last in case they have a growth spurt during the summer. Putting off buying the uniform isn’t going to make the time go slower or delay the inevitable, they will still have to go and leaving the shopping to the last minute is only going to stress you more.
Also, to help prepare your child, do a couple of run throughs, try on the uniform (see number 2), decide on what snacks they would like for play-time and what they would like in their lunchbox. Make the build up as fun as possible.
That first morning, try and get up and get yourself organised and fed before the wee one. Then you can concentrate on getting him/her dressed and ready for the millions of pictures you are about to take!
2. NO CRYING!
Children are sensitive to our feelings, if they see you getting upset, they will get upset. If they feel you are scared, they will get scared too. This won’t be the first time you’ll have to plaster a smile on your face and pretend you’re fine. As soon as you’re out of sight of them, then you can let the tears flow.
3. KEEP BUSY
Whether it’s doing odd jobs around the house that you could never get done with a 4-year-old under your feet or go out for lunch with a friend, just try and keep yourself busy in those first few days. It’s amazing how quickly you get into a routine of the school run but I’d say the first week is definitely the hardest, keeping yourself busy really does help.
4. TRY NOT TO WORRY
I know this is easier said than done for some people. Hubby is much better at these situations than me and I would text him with all kinds of scenarios, he would always talk sense into me, reassure me that they would be fine and he was always right.
If your child is not fine and won’t settle and is uncontrollably crying, the school WILL call you. Keep that in your head. They aren’t ogres, they are taking care of your baby in the next chapter of their lives, they aren’t going to sit and watch them cry. They have all sorts of distraction techniques up their sleeve and probably have more experience with children than you do. (I can hear all the mums screaming “but they are not their mum”). This is true but they are probably the next best thing apart from family. Half of the teachers are probably parents themselves, they feel your pain.
5. EMBRACE THE CHANGE
Starting school is a huge change, it doesn’t have to be a negative, though. Your child is going to be learning so much, not just academically but learning about how friendships work, how to deal with new situations, how to stand on their own two feet. Of course you will see a change in them because they are mixing with new adults and new children, however, nothing is going to change how they feel about you. You’ll still be the one they come home to, bursting with their wee stories or who was mean to who in the playground. There might be some hiccups along the way, be prepared for that, but life is full of hiccups.
This is just their first move into the big world, as scary as it is to us parents, they need to grow up.
My youngest started high school 2 weeks ago and I think it was just as difficult, if not more so as when she first started school. This parenting malarkey doesn’t get easier but one thing I can promise you is that it’s worth it. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your baby grow up, if only the time went a bit slower.
Good Luck, I’ll be thinking of you all!
Love, Tammy x