This time last year my little boy started big school. At the time I was petrified and worrying about how he would cope. I wasn’t entirely sure that he was ready for school and I was worried that he would find the school day really long.
A year later and we are still here. We had some ups and downs but we coped with it and Josh now seems far more settled (touch wood). Those first few months at school can feel really daunting and there is a lot for you to get your head around too. Starting school is a huge milestone for both you and your child. I’ve been reflecting on the things that I wish I had known this time last year.
10 Things To Expect When Your Child Starts School
There Might Be Tears
Those tears might not come on the first day but they may well come later. If this happens then don’t panic. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are sad or hating school. Starting school is such a big change for them and as a result they might be feeling unsure of themselves. Their world is changing and now they are trying to figure out how they fit into this new one. When they come home from school set some time aside to really focus on them; talk to them about how they are feeling. They are probably just wanting lots of hugs and reassurance. However, if you are concerned then make an appointment to speak to their teacher.
They Will Be Tired
Starting school is a big step in a child’s life. They have a whole new routine to get their heads around and as a result they will be tired and possibly grumpy. It might be a good idea to suggest that they have their bath or shower as soon as they get home. This will hopefully perk them up and keep them going until it is time for bed. You also need to make sure that they are going to bed at a decent time. Studies have shown that a child aged between 4 and 5 years-old needs 10-12 hours sleep a night.
Make sure you label everything! Shoes, jumpers and lunch boxes. You should probably label anything and everything that they take to school.. You will probably find that you become very well acquainted with the lost property box. Having labels on everything will make going through that lost property box less painful!
You will find that you have an endless stream of letters coming home. Letters telling you about shared learning, school trips and photos. Remembering all of the important dates and details can be a nightmare but we don’t want to have to keep a huge pile of letters. Set up a family calendar on Google calendars. This means you will be able to access your calendar when you are out and about. You can also share this calendar with other family members. Taking a photo of your letter is also another good way of remembering the details without having to keep the letter!
One minute you are packing your baby off to school and the next you are being asked to sign a permission form for a trip. This might seem really daunting and it is only natural that you will worry about them going on a school trip. However, school trips are an important part of the curriculum and they can really enhance your child’s learning. Also, many schools now offer live updates on your child’s school trip and this means you don’t need to stalk the school minibus to put your mind at rest.
Parent’s Evening may not go as well as you had expected. Don’t panic. Your child is adjusting and it may take them some time to find their feet. Listen to the teacher and ask what you can do at home to help. You might also want to take notes so that you can refer to them later.
They Might Not Want To Talk About Their Day
You want to know about their day but they are too tired to talk. If you are lucky they might grunt a “fine” at you. Don’t be disheartened and don’t take it personally. Keep talking to the teacher and s/he will tell you about your child’s day and how well they are doing.
You might find that your child’s immune system takes a bit of a bashing. This is completely normal and to be expected. Your child will probably come down with a tummy bug at some point. You can try and prevent this by reminding your child to wash their hands after they have been to the toilet and before they eat their meals. You might also want to give them a daily vitamin tablet (check that it is suitable for children) to help with their immune system. However, lots of vegetables and fruit will also help with warding off any nasty bugs.
Are They Drinking Enough?
You might find that your child isn’t drinking enough during the school day. If this is the case then have a word with your child’s teacher and ask them to gently encourage your child to drink more.
Nits, need I say more? Every parent fears them. Be vigilant and watch out for your child scratching their head. Make sure you check your child’s hair weekly. You can also use shampoos that are supposed to help with preventing head lice. Don’t worry if your child does get head lice as it is very straightforward to treat.
Finally, try not to worry. This is a massive milestone for both you and your child. It will take time for both of you to get used to the new routine. Stay positive and keep encouraging your child. Remind them that school and learning is a new and very exciting adventure –
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!