Is your child starting nursery or school this week? If so it’s likely you’re a bundles of nerves and anxiety, wondering how they’ll cope without you, whether they’ll be looked after properly and let’s face it how you’re going to cope without them. I know the feeling well. Last year my daughter started reception and this year my two year old son will be going to a childminder during school hours for the first time.
Aside from feeling anxious for him, I’m also feeling pretty sad about not having a child at home during the day. I know I’ll get over it but even though my kids drive me potty at times, I miss them when they’re not here. Anyhow pity party aside, I thought it might help some mums if I shared some of what I learnt about starting school last year and how I dealt with it.
1. I underestimated how tired my daughter would be after school. Even though she had been in nursery, school absolutely wiped out my daughter until Easter. Every week by Thursday afternoon my daughter was in meltdown and I realised that it was foolish to schedule after school classes and more than one play date a week until she was in the summer term.
2. I underestimated how many friends both of us would make. Starting school will not only open your child’s world of friendship but yours as well. My daughter excelled at making friends on her own without my guidance and in turn I have made some amazing new mum friends who totally got me through the school year.
3. I underestimated how competitive many mums are. Forget competitiveness over weaning and potty training, nothing will prepare you for the tiger mums you meet at school. Beware the sly ones trying to find out what level reading your child is on, and the ones casually telling your their child is a genius.
4. I underestimated how fast children learn. Reception is more than play, it’s educational play so don’t be surprised at how fast your child learns and how big her world suddenly gets. I went from having a pink obsessed fairy loving four year old to a volcano loving, dinosaur and nature obsessed 5 year old who could read and write pretty well.
5. I underestimated what a partnership it should be between parent/teacher and school. School works best for everyone when you really do work with the teachers. That’s read the endless letters that come home, follow through on the homework and requests and basically ask your kids what’s happening in class. My one always says ‘I can’t remember’ but if I start saying X said she learnt about Y she soon chimes in with her own version.
6. I underestimated how worried I’d be. I’m not sure why I underestimated this considering motherhood is so full of worry but I worried about lunchtimes, bullying, her falling behind, if she had friends etc etc the list was endless and a waste of time because I realised (a) she’d tell me or someone else would if there was a problem and (b) I survived and even liked parts of school and she would too.
So is your child starting school soon? What are you worried about? Let us know and see if we can help.