07/09/2009 04:44 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Ask Joanne - Handling Split Days At The Start Of School

What's your parenting question for our life coach Joanne Mallon? Send it in to this address.

Many of you commented on our recent features about getting ready for reception and how to handle the first day at school.

Tish has a slightly more complicated new start to manage, and asks:

I was wondering how mums handled it when the child is on a split day ie;- coming home for lunch? For the first two weeks they start at 9 until 11.30, come home for lunch and then go back at 1 until 3. I am worried in case my daughter doesn't want to go back in the afternoon.

The school were great and in the induction evening they said that if your child falls asleep or something like that don't worry about bringing them back and to ease them into it gently. But I don't really want her to think it is OK for her to to say that she doesn't WANT to go back or get upset so she stays home.

Here's life coach Joanne's reply:

Dear Tish

You ask about how this will affect your daughter, but it sounds like a potentially stressful time for you too. With bringing her out for lunch, the majority of your day will have to revolve around school runs, playing havoc with any other plans you might have. So do take care of yourself during this time, and get as many rests and time to yourself as possible, especially at the weekend. Other parents probably find this arrangement challenging too, so try to help each other out by swapping school runs. It can be a great time to get to know other parents who are probably wondering about the same things as you.

As for your daughter, she may turn out to be more accepting of the situation than you imagine. Don't put your energy into worrying about something that hasn't happened yet - you are in danger of over-thinking a potential problem that may not even arise. Once the novelty's worn off, children often object to having to go to school every single day. I think the best approach is to be matter of fact: tell them that this is what happens when you start school. Don't get into over-explaining, bargaining or cajoling. Just be straightforward, so she knows that this is how it is. If she can sense that you're firm and there's no negotiation, she'll get the message. Focus on helping her make friends and enjoy herself so she'll want to go to school without persuasion.

Best wishes


Send your parenting question in to Joanne at this address

More life coaching advice from Joanne at this link