Going back to school because your child is starting kindy? It won’t be a stress with these handy tips to help you get organised.
Having your first child start school can leave a mummy facing a myriad of emotion and a tonne of overwhelming advice. As a newbie kindy parent you may find yourself worried about the best way to get organised, assist your little person in transitioning or even in what’s a must have (or total waste of time and money!)
In a period of huge adjustment for both parents and children we at Baby Hints & Tips are here to assist. We’ve surveyed the playground and – good news – here are our top 10 tips from those who have been there before.
Labels versus laundry marker
Whilst fancy iron on labels look adorable they do cost a bomb! Many of them don’t stand the test of time (especially on frequently washed items) and cuteness aside there’s nothing fun about a lost school jacket at 8:55am in the morning. A laundry marker makes names (and ownership) permanent and costs just $3 at the shops.
Label their quality school shoes (and break them in!)
Firstly, buy the best school shoes you can afford. Your child will wear these shoes every day for a year. Cheaper shoes won’t go the distance nor will they provide the orthopaedic support that is best for a daily shoe. Once you’ve bought them practice wearing them lots, break them in before the first day of school! Make sure your child can put their shoes on and off themselves and then label them both. Kindy children often remove their shoes for gross motor activities and there’s nothing worse than your child coming home wearing someone else’s shoes!
Buy a simple lunch box – and don’t over pack it!
Fancy lunch boxes are all the rage and filling them with many small boxes may appeal to Mums especially if you have a ‘nude food’ policy. Whatever you choose make sure your child can open their lunchbox (and its containers) without assistance. It’s tempting to send your child with a huge box of food each day; however, try to only send what they really need. When the bell for play is rung food is quickly forgotten and you’ll have lots of wasted returns if you over pack. What your child needs will quickly be established based on what’s coming home uneaten!
Mark your child’s school bag with something they can identify
If your school has a standard ‘uniform’ school bag it’s easy for your little person to be confused as to which bag is theirs. Make or buy a large tag for them with their name on, tie a piece of bright ribbon or choose a key ring that will help them to identify their bag.
School life is what you make it
Get involved with school life such as classroom reading, P&C meetings and events, or canteen. It’s guaranteed your days as a school parent will be more rewarding and engaging if you do. Being in the school community puts you more in touch with what’s happening behind the gates as well as involving you with a whole new network of Mums who may just like wine as much as you do!
Accept your child is going to be very tired and may be unpleasant
Being a kindy kid is tiring work! Your child will be exhausted and many parents report their little angel can be quite unpleasant while they adjust to the demands of school life. Minimising after school activities in term one is a great idea allowing your child more time to just relax and unwind. Don’t be alarmed if they are cranky, tired and generally objectionable, it’s all perfectly normal and it’s definitely temporary! During the early days you may need to serve dinner earlier, forgo swimming lessons or try to generally be more understanding if your child is emotional. Remember though, this too shall pass!
Make sure your child can toilet alone
Locking the toilet door, handling a zipper fly, using a urinal or pulling up stockings alone are all tricky little things you may have helped your child with up until now. Encourage them to know these skills before school starts. Little girls may also be more confident wearing dark coloured boy short style knickers – much more forgiving for lunchtime monkey bars or recess cartwheels!
Buy as much uniform as you can afford
Kindy kids get pretty grotty. Buying a single uniform is not a good proposition unless you really like washing under pressure! If your budget is tight you might like to consider a new uniform and a second set (or two) from the school clothing pool. A second or third uniform can be a real godsend and removes the need to wash everyday or late at night.
Have a cry the night before – and wear your sunglasses on the day!
A child starting school can be a hugely emotional time for a parent. It’s okay to be feeling this way! The important thing is to do your best to manage your emotions in front of your child. Have a cry the night before and let all those feelings out! Let your little person march off on their new journey without the worry that mummy is howling in the foetal position as they go. If you can’t be sure of containing the tears wear your sunglasses, bring a tissue and do your very best!
Be organised for your sanity and your child’s confidence
There’s lots to remember and an endless amount of communication coming home from the school. Start a system that works for you and stay on top of it. Use a calendar, file the notes, write a chart for your child. Your little person will survive if you send them in their school uniform on free-dress day but they’ll be happier if you don’t! Feel in control and let your child enjoy the confidence of an organised family.
Bonus Tip: Take a moment and be amazed at what you have done!
Brush the tears aside and look at what you have achieved. You’ve parented through the hard nights, feeding challenges, toilet training, fevers, terrible twos, threenager stages and now you are here. You made it. Look at that amazing kid you’ve moulded. Soak it in – this is a milestone for your whole family, be proud of the journey so far! Good luck!