The push/pull of back to school

Its flown by, we have not done everything we wanted to do, yet we have done more than we imagined we would. We have been blessed with ok’ish weather and we have managed (shock, horror) to avoid the dreaded soft play pit of hell.

dad starting

My dad on his first day of school in 1958 (check out those shoes)

We are on countdown now, the final few days and even the kids want to go back to school. But this is the push and pull of it all. I have one child entering year 3 and one child starting reception, it is a big year for her. I am reading lots of posts full of sadness and emotion for their darling starting school, and lots of posts of joy for whom the return to school can only bring back that much loved routine (which we all secretly crave) and a little more time to themselves, or money if they have been paying for summer camp for the last 6 weeks. I go from elation to devastation minute by minute.

It is a mixture of emotions as I am asked for the 20th time that day for ‘food, I am hungry’ as I secretly wish the time away and yet hold onto time as I realise my daughter starting school is a big deal.

So how to deal with the next week. The ‘first week’ of school has been around for centuries! Over hundreds of years, mothers and fathers will have dressed their little ones in their uniform, said a few poignant words, taken a photograph of some sort and had a little weep as their darling walks away from them and into the world of education. It is a rite of passage, a journey they begin and one that you can accompany them on, depending on your definition of the ‘helicopter mum’.

It is the start of something new though and changing times can lead to an unsettling time.

Below are 5 things you can do to ease the first week back/starting school for everyone.

  1. Talk to them. This might sound kind of obvious but it is amazing how much we assume our children know. We tend to get through the last few weeks of the summer break following orders (us not them) and we take to hiding in the kitchen eating packet of biscuits without a child hanging off us that the art of conversing is whittled down to a few words.
  2. Be careful how you word your questions. I asked my daughter whether she was ‘scared at starting school’ and she responded rather maturely with ‘no, should I be?’ and I realised just what a loaded question it was. We want to feel comforted at their journey, we want them to breeze through it all and so pitching questions that allow them to take the lead in how they feel about it all will help for a smooth conversation.
  3. Teach them how to put socks on quickly (although I have still not figured this out) I cannot stress how important this is when you are 5 minutes behind schedule and you discover your child is not wearing socks. It is a painful and frustrating experience watching your child who insists they can do it themselves (independence is to be encouraged right?) spend 7 minutes putting on ONE SOCK.
  4. Don’t be shy on the hugs. We are busy, we have stuff to do and often after school can become just another whirl of things to do. Get them to this club, collect from this class etc, getting tea ready, sorting out the house, washing the uniform that has come home covered in pen marks!!!… that we forget to sit down, have a little cuddle and give a bit of time to sharing what may have happened that day.
  5. Get organised (that’s you, not them) during the summer all sense of routine goes out of the window (this time last week my kids were frolicking in a hot tub..I kid you not) and it can take time to get back into it. It helps that the nights are getting darker earlier and so getting them back to bed on time is a little easier. Simple things like getting their uniform out ready, having book bags by the door, signing letter for lunches etc so the morning can be a calm start to the day.

 

It is no joke how quickly time flies. Before we know it, it will be half term, bonfire night and then Christmas.

Enjoy the last few days before term starts and don’t forget to name all the uniform!

Love Sophie x

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