Lots of people get anxious or upset about their children starting at school. They are worried about how their child will cope, how they will settle and whether they are old enough and ready for big school.
A parent's impression of their child's school day can be rather nebulous, and so I thought I would share a few techniques I've developed to get a bit of a firmer idea of what their school day is like.
Now, when I drop my daughter off each day, I will hand her over to someone else. A surrogate parent, almost. Someone other than me will pick her up when she falls, wipe away her tears and reassure her that everything is going to be okay.
In a day or two, almost 70,000 four-year-olds will be starting school and it's a big day in everyone's life. I'm 53 and I can still remember my first day at school! Your child is very likely to be anxious about their first day and it's important that you prepare your little ones well. I've given my top tips for preparation below.
My eldest starts school in a few days time and I must admit I'm surprised by my own reaction to it. I'm stilling rooting for being dry eyed at the gate but I can't count on it!
Parents can inevitably struggle with this painful process. Many avoid talking about Back to School for fear of upsetting the present happy moment. It often gets left to the last minute or gets lost in the rush to prepare packed lunches and bags.
Don't get me wrong - I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be at home with my kids and I love it, most of the time. But recently I've been missing the part of me that existed before I became the bum-wiping, tantrum-soothing ninja I am today.
The Self-Esteem Team, the group I work with who go into schools teaching students on mental health, self-esteem and exam stress, are writing to David Cameron every single day for the next year in a bid to revolutionise the education system by including mental wellbeing on the curriculum. Until that date is in the diary though, here are seven ways to build resilience...
The uniform has been carefully purchased, washed and ironed to an inch of its life and the painful task of labelling the whole flipping thing is finally done.The time has come at last time for the new school year and the kids are FINALLY back at school! I can feel your excitement from here.
I've made it! Three kids have learned to eat, walk, use a toilet, quote Princess Bride, and talk in thick Boston accents (R's are hawd to say, ok?) under my tutelage. But now they are someone else's responsibility from 9am until 3pm.
Despite reaching your limits entertaining the kids day in and day out for six straight weeks (and feeling great comfort in knowing that this period is finally coming to an end), you realise that you have no idea whatsoever when school actually starts back. You know that it's sometime in early September... but that's about it.
It feels a shame to cut the six weeks short by readying ourselves now for the school term, but having left it too late in the past, and having been a teacher myself for many years, I know that being a prepared parent makes things much easier.
We said yes to breaking the rules, to late nights, to doing whatever we felt like despite the long list of errands that piled up. They might have been small acts of rebellion - going out on cool mornings without socks, walks in the rain without umbrellas, frivolous presents bought on a whim with little thought of our family budget.
Operation 'Find the shoes' commences. Mum says 'Where are your shoes?'. Kid 1 replies ' I dunno. I dunno'. Kid 2 does not respond. His face is pressed up against the flat screen TV causing snot to smear across the front of his idol, Peppa Pig.
A change in focus. A change in priorities. A change in what matters most. Something I've experienced and heard so much in the past few months. Cancer really has a way of throwing everything up in the air, with it landing in different places than thrown.
My son is in Year 6, so my diary for the next few weeks is full to bursting with open mornings, open days and open evenings for the local schools we're looking at. It's a huge decision to be making, especially if this is your first child to reach secondary age - one that could impact their life (and yours) quite significantly.