The summer has flown by (yeah right!) quicker than you can shake out that annoying last bit of sand from your shoes. Please tell me that I am not the only one that manages to bring home enough sand in my shoes, pockets or hair to erect my own beach at home?
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.
For some parents this will cause much glee, air punching and celebrations and the chance to finally go to the loo in peace. For others that moment has arrived when their "baby" starts big school. Where did that time go I hear you cry?
Whilst it is an exciting milestone it can also be a stressful, sad and anxious time so I have put together a simple guide to help you through that first day at big school.
Prep like a pro
Prepare and lay out all the uniform, bags, lunches and equipment you will need the night before. Putting your keys, bags and whatever you may need for the next day a by the door will also avoid a last minute flap, which is the last thing you will need on the day.The more prepared you feel the less time you will panic thinking you have forgotten something leaving you more time for the most important thing: spending the morning with your little one sharing this special day together. Don't forget to charge your phone or camera for that important picture of your child standing on the doorstep in a jumper that is 2 sizes to big to share with friends,relatives and Facebook.
Keep it on the down low
Even if you have prepped like a pro I can guarantee you will still feel a mix of apprehension, excitement, nerves and pride. This is perfectly normal but try to remain calm and positive. Your child will pick up on your feelings and mimic them so if you are relaxed and calm chances are your child will be too.
Breakfast like a King
This may be the biggest meal your child will eat until home time so make it count and eat together! Your child's favourite dish that you know they will eat plenty of is sure to be a winner.
Keep the numbers down
Whilst it is understandable that Grandparents and close relatives will want to share this day with you, all the goodbyes and extra bodies on the playground can be very overwhelming for your child and the other children. Perhaps they could come over and have breakfast and see you off or meet you for an after school tea.
Leave plenty of time
Being late will just add to your stress levels which you or little one doesn't need!
Settle into school
Once you arrive take them to where they need to be and remind them of their teacher's name and where the toilets their belongings are. Getting them engaged or involved in an activity can help distract them.
Time to say see you later
We can never really be sure how our children are going to react and I always like to plan how I would like to handle a situation before it. I would advise having a plan in place for each scenario as it will help you feel more in control. Remind your child that you will back at the end of the day along with all the other parents, give them plenty of reassurance if they need it but don't force a public kiss or hug if they resist and say a cheery goodbye. Once you have said goodbye leave straight away instead of lingering and don't be tempted to go back to check. It can unsettle a child that was settled in just fine. I always advise to say goodbye and not just slip out because it can cause them to feel more insecure. If you need to call or check in with the school remind yourself you can phone them later to reassure you.
Fill your day
If you do manage to get out of the classroom and through the school gates give yourself an A*! You will be restless and clock watching like mad all day as the time passes in slow motion. Perhaps go to the gym, meet a friend for coffee or catch up on a good book to take your mind off what you really are thinking about: Why isn't it 3 o clock yet?!
Don't be late on pick up
It is obvious but leave plenty of time to get there so you are there to greet them as soon as they come out preferably with a drink and a snack to hand as they will come out starving! Try not to bombard your child with lots of questions even though you are desperate for every detail of their day but really listen to what they have to say.
It is totally normal for their behaviour to regress a bit once they start school. It is most mostly due to a new routine, environment and tiredness. Bringing their dinner and bedtime forward plus keeping to their usual routine as much as you can will help them whilst they adjust to school life. Give them time and patience and this phase will pass.
Wishing everyone a great school year!
If your child does experience difficulties settling in to school or you are worried about their behaviour Kerry Cares Parenting can help you and your little ones. Please visit www.kerrycaresparenting.com for more information or get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org for some friendly advice.