5 Things to Know Once Your Little One Starts School
From Stain Fighting Techniques to Valuable Life Skills
Do they have a pen and paper? Can they write their name? Can they put their own (self-fastening) shoes on? When you are preparing your child for school, these are often the first things that spring to mind. It's such a significant and thrilling milestone that you'll often wonder whether they're really ready... since they were just wearing pull-ups yesterday. And how in the world are they going to carry that enormous bag with the weight of their sweaters, water bottle, lunch box, and library books? Even so, it's adorable to see them attempt.
Some things are best learned on the job, as the saying goes. and the first year of school might be compared in this way. Of course, every kid is unique, and while some may run through those gates without a second thought, others will cling to a parent's leg and need a little more encouragement to take those first small steps through that large gate. If that's you, dropping off can take a bit longer, but they will arrive on time!
I am all for soaking up good advice and sharing useful information, particularly when it comes to the type of things that may make you lose it when juggling a full-time job and your academic schedule (or is that just me?). So here I am playing my part, as a mother who has now (somewhat) successfully weathered two out of three kids attending school.
1. Unclean face, dirty socks, and dirty shoes. Such a mess
Since kids love to get messy, this may not come as a complete surprise. However, it is clear that the parent who was left in the laundry at midnight with wet clothing wasn't the one who thought that wearing white socks and/or shirts as part of the school uniform was a good idea. Furthermore, even if your uniform doesn't include white, you are still probably pulling out the stain remover. These little individuals seem to draw stains like a magnet. That assortment of rocks in their bag? It was a solid digging effort!
So establish a washing schedule for yourself that includes additional time for soaking, and if you can, try to have enough shirts and socks to last you a week. My saving grace was having a uniform kit for Monday through Friday, even if it included some hand-me-downs.
Label each item. Buy more!
No matter how well-trained your kid is, you can be sure that you will find yourself repeatedly wandering around the school's grounds looking for hats, water bottles, and lunchboxes. How in the world can one kid lose so much in a day?
2. Playdates and forming new parent friendships
When your child enters school, it's strange to have to go outside of your comfort zone to make new acquaintances. You will be consumed with concern about how they will find their people or if they will make any new friends from class. Birthdays and playdates with their class will place you in front of a whole new set of people, whether or not you knew other parents previously. When it comes to these issues, you will really need to put yourself out there and make an effort since the kids whose parents get involved often stick together.
A wise second-time school mum once advised me to go to the park on a Friday afternoon even if I had to carry my laptop and a bottle of wine hidden in my backpack. These playdates truly do aid your child in making friends... and it will also be beneficial to you!
Oh, and don't be surprised if your child tells you they "didn't play with anybody" when they get home because apparently our little ones have a habit of that. However, if you are concerned, make sure to speak with their instructor to find out how they are doing in terms of making friends. One of the most crucial things for kids to develop at this age is social skills, but it takes time.
3. Generally speaking, when it comes to school shoes, you get what you pay for
Your child will wear school shoes for 1,400 hours, which is often a lot more than the number of times they wear them for daily trips to the playground. Since you've heard that kids wear them out fast, you may be tempted to get cheap, but the reality is quite the reverse. Purchasing high-quality school shoes from reputable retailers like Shoes & Sox will guarantee that they endure for a long time, or at least until the child has outgrown them. And be careful not to get the incorrect size, as I did. Before I realised I hadn't allowed enough room for growing, my tiny one was falling over! Your child's school shoes will be properly fitted for them if you have a professional do it. You should set an appointment with The Fit Squad at Shoes & Sox to have them professionally fitted so they can suggest the best kind of shoes for you.
Keep in mind that they will be more active than ever at this age since their little feet are still growing and developing. Therefore, it's crucial to make sure kids have comfortable footwear so they don't have painful feet and legs at the conclusion of a long school day.
4. Join the class WhatsApp group and participate
Or any technology, app, social network, or platform your class chooses to use to interact. If my second mother hadn't offered to be the class parent, I really doubt that I would have made it through my first year of kindergarten. simply because figuring out the new procedures, readers, mailings, and authorisation forms was difficult enough!
You will typically find that some parents are amazing and have everything under control (thank you, you are greatly appreciated), while other parents are unable to pick up their children from school on time, miss memos, and wind up sending their child to school in uniform on mufti day (twice) - or was that just me again?
5. Avoid overscheduling your child, particularly in the first year
I understand your desire for your child to participate in everything. anything from ballet or soccer to piano classes and regular playdates. Your child will have several options to become involved in throughout that first year of school. But let's not overlook how important the first year of school will be. By the time Friday arrives, they will usually be exhausted, irritable, and have had one or more meltdowns. So, be careful how you plan their time so that they have a little more rest after a long school week. When kids are dealing with all of their "firsts" at school, they will need you to be there to support them.
Both parents and children may find the first year of school to be an exciting period. You'll soon be amazed by how transformational that first year of school is and will be asking where the year went. They won't only seem physically bigger; they'll also be reading, writing, socialising, and maybe even developing a little more cheek! You'll be in awe when that youngster appears before your eyes and for some, want to press pause for a while.
P.S. Remember to take a photo on the first day so you can compare it to their last day of kindergarten. To consider how much kids can change in a single year is quite astounding.