Monday, 5 September 2016

Surviving the First day of school

So I've done it.  I've actually survived Bee's very first day of primary school.  It was emotional, it was weird and it was strange, but we survived.  I blogged all about the first morning drop off here.   Today though, I thought I'd share some tips on how to make your child's first day go smoothly.  I'm no expert by any means, but, as the first day is fresh in my mind I thought I'd share the things that worked for us. 

1. Get everything ready the night before
I know this sounds obvious, but this made such a difference to our morning running smoothly and I think it helped Bee to prepare herself for her first school day.  We laid out all of her uniform the night before (by the way make sure EVERYTHING is labelled...Bee lost her hat on the FIRST day!!!).  We put shoes and bags by the door ready.  I even thought about what I was wearing so I didn't waste 10 minutes staring vacantly into my wardrobe.  We also prepped a yummy breakfast the evening before and made strawberry shortcake overnight oats jars.  In the morning, we just took these out of the fridge and breakfast was ready instantly. 

2. Be positive
As parents when we feel stressed or nervous about something, that nervous energy tends to rub off on the little ones.  Try and be as happy and positive as you can about the school day, it really makes a difference. I found that Bee was quite intrigued about what I was going to be doing all day whilst she was at school, I made sure I told her it was going to be oh so boring at home and that I was just going to be cleaning all day (I totally wasn't), so she didn't feel like she was missing out.  Lots of smiles helped and I just acted like her first day was the most exciting thing ever. 

3. Treat yourself 
So you've got there on time and dropped your little one, and now you have approximately 7 hours until pick up time.  You might have to head to work or maybe you are going back home, but make sure you look after yourself a bit.  Even if you couldn't wait for your little angel to start school or you were reluctant and nervous, it's still a strange feeling on that very first day.  It's a new routine, new faces and I felt like it almost was my first day too.  Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself.  You raised that amazing little person who is now at school.  If that doesn't warrant a trip / online view at the Topshop website I don't know what does. 

4. Everyone feels the same
I just wanted everything to be right for Bee's first day.  I worried if her PE kit was right, was I right to put her in the Summer uniform and not the Winter? Were her hair bobbles right? Who would think that a professional who years ago was a competent nurse, would be reduced to worrying about the shade of her daughters tights.  It's all relative though, and you just want to do it all OK.  From talking to other mums at drop off, we all felt the same. 

5. Smile
I covered smiling on point 2, but this is about smiling at the other mums and dads at the school gates.  It dawned on me yesterday that like it or not you are going to be looking at these folk for some time to come, years even.  Now you haven't got to make best mates with them, but a smile will go a long way, and it's always good to have an comrade at the gates.  Don't smile too much though or you'll come across odd.  

6. Playground politics
I haven't encountered any of this yet, but its only day two.  But I've heard things. But whatever. Whenever you get a group of people together you will get on with some and others maybe not so much. Smile and be polite.  We're all there for the same reason.  And remembering the PE kit is too much drama for me already, I don't need anymore at the gates thank you.  

7.  Keeping shtum
When I collected Bee from school I couldn't wait to hear all about her day.  I wanted to know if she had made friends, did she learn anything, what did she play with,  what did she eat.  Bee on the other hand decided this information was classified from her mother who had spent most of the last four years by her side,  thanks Bee.  I did manage however, to ascertain that she ate her pudding before her lunch which she seemed pretty pleased about.  Anyway, don't expect much conversation at home time.  I think it's a mixture of exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed from the school day.  I'm hoping Bee at least will give me something other than pudding-gate at pickup today. 

There you have it.  My survival tips for the first day.  I hope if your little one is starting school this term they have an amazing first day, and for all it's weirdness, the very first day of school is absolutely fine.

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