School. We have been there, done that… got the t-shirt. But when your child starts school you feel like you haven’t been there. Like you don’t know. All the nerves, butterflies… they all come rushing back. You have just started school, again.
Little lady started three weeks ago and since then our life’s have, once again, changed, and we have had to make adjustments. Most of the time I felt like I was the one starting school.
Prep…. planning, organising for the first day, took me weeks. Checking and re-checking every single thing. As time has gone by it has got easier. But I still spend time preparing as much as I can.
Although I was one of the lucky ones, as little lady walked straight in and did not look back, I was left with a lump in my throat and a little worry. As I looked around the playground I noticed I was not the only one with the ‘will she be ok?’ Look all over my face. I spent most of the journey home crying.
So, what have I learnt over the last three weeks?
- Bed time is key. Getting them into a routine means the world to me. When they are asleep on time the morning is so much nicer.
- Preparation: I do it all the night before, ironing, packed lunch, start the laundry, tidy. This means in the mornings I can be more focused on the children. Rather than juggling five things at the same time.
- Spending time talking to them about their day. We have a car journey which is great for this. I always ask, what was great about today? What was bad about today? What was funny today? Who did you play with? What did you eat for lunch? These probing questions tend to elicit a richer answer rather than “how was your day?”, which got me a blank look and a “fine”. These questions give me so much information about her day. When she does not feel like sharing, I still do get ‘fine’.
- Talk to parents in the playground. This network is vital, no only to just make new friends in the same boat as you but for everything else. Information, play dates, 5 minutes of adult time before the children come out. We have a WhatsApp chat. This changed my world, instant answers to all the panic questions. Is the school trip tomorrow? What do they need to take today? etc.
- Do homework as soon as possible. The first time she got homework I hadn’t realised that it had been set. That morning was one of the more stressful ones. Trying to do it when they are tired or in a hurry is stressful. We now finish homework on a Saturday morning, leaving the whole weekend for fun and play. Mr Man goes over the homework once more on Sunday nights to ensure their learning is reinforced. It need not be anything more than 5 minutes as a recap.
What ever year they are in I am sure it is daunting. Hope this helps.