Tuesday 12 November 2019

STARTING PRIMARY SCHOOL: 12 Things I've Learnt in the First Half Term

STARTING PRIMARY SCHOOL: 12 Things I've Learnt in the First Half Term
We've done it...the first half term of primary school! We have all been through a rollercoaster of a ride over the past seven weeks; we've learnt a lot, cried many tears and had all of the early nights. But we've done it and I think it's fair to say it's been a steep learning curve at times; some good, some more challenging. I couldn't be prouder of Isabella and how she's handled all of the changes and hard times. She did have a wobble for a few weeks from around week two, but now she wakes up with a smile excited to go to school and can't wait to share her day with us at the end. It has surprised me quite how quickly we have got into the new school run routine, before we knew it Poppy and I were into a completely new routine and the school day suddenly doesn't feel very long at all.

There have been twelve key things that I've learnt over the past half term - these are tips/tricks that will hopefully help you if you're little one has just started school or you have this big milestone in the future.

1) Choose dark coloured uniform if you can - everything gets dirty, especially socks, so those pristine white knee high socks very quickly become a muddy grey shade! Choosing dark grey or navy tights/socks makes washing easier and keeps your little one looking smart too.
2) Stay organised - once one letter has been dealt with another one will appear in the bookbag, so it's worth keeping on top of them. The same goes with homework, although Isabella is only in Reception so doesn't have lots of homework, she does have sounds to practice and a piece that needed to be completed by the end of the half term. We are now in the routine of practising her sounds as soon as she's in from school, so that she can relax for the rest of the afternoon/evening. 

3) Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions - the tiredness, busy days and new routine all mixed together can create quite the emotional situation and not just for the child either. I've cried so many times over the past few months...sometimes out of sadness and sometimes out of simply not knowing what the best thing to do is. As with all parenting there isn't a handbook to tell you what to do and each child reacts to school differently, so you find yourself constantly questioning your decisions. 
4) The tiredness hits within a few days of starting school - initially there is a lot of excitement and build up for the start of school, but as that wears away and realisation hits the tiredness often does too. Isabella usually went to bed at 6.30pm, but I found her needing to go to sleep from 5.30pm some nights. 
5) Be prepared to bring forward bedtime by quite a considerable amount of time - closely linked to the previous point is keeping bedtime flexible. We have always been a very routine driven family, but I've found the need to adapt our routine in line with how Isabella is feeling each day. Sometimes she's highly emotional, which would prompt an earlier bedtime, whereas other days she's absolutely fine and will go to bed at her normal time. 
6) Talk to the teacher - all manor of stories can come from a day at school, so talking to the teacher helps gets an accurate picture of how they've been throughout the day. They are also the person to air any concerns with or ask for some extra support/advice if you're not sure what the best thing to do is. 
7) Reduce hours if you feel they need it - After around three weeks at school Isabella was very tired, emotional and quite simply exhausted, so I decided to ask for her to have a half day one Friday. As she isn't the legal age to be at school yet (which is five years old in the UK) it would be marked down as an authorised absence and it allowed her some time to catch up with everything. Don't be afraid to ask for an afternoon off here or there, especially if like Isabella's school they haven't started in a phased manner. 
8) Keep those first few weekends of starting school free - they will be incredibly tired and need to just have some relaxed time with those that they've missed while at school, so keep weekend plans to a minimum.
9) Stickers are everything - whether it's for being kind, good listening, helping others or exceptional manners a sticker means everything to a four year old, so having somewhere safe to keep them means a lot. This could be a little notebook, kitchen cupboard door etc., just somewhere that makes them feel like their achievement is being celebrated at home too.
10) The guilt gets easier - the milestone of starting school is one of the hardest and the guilt is off the scale, but it does get easier. I honestly couldn't see how I was ever going to be happy about Isabella going to school, but now that we're at the end of the first half term I can say that I am feeling a lot more content about the change. Watching her flourish at school, learn new skills and share exciting adventures with her friends is just what she needed and loves doing now!
11) Length of the school day - the school day starts off feeling seriously long, but soon enough the day flies by and it's 3.15pm before you know it. A few of the school mummies meet up each week for a playdate and we rotate who's house it is at, which is such a lovely way to fill one day. Poppy and I also still enjoy going to the Mums & Tots group in our village each week, so I find now that very quickly our time is filled and it's pick up time.
12) Feeling social - parenthood can be a lonely place at times, but once you've made friends or feel able to spark up a conversation with the other parents in the school playground then you'll suddenly feel incredibly social. I don't think I've spoken to other adults so much since becoming a parent!

Did/have you experienced these things too?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x


  1. It is such a learning curve when little one's start school. It does get easier! x

  2. Oh yes the tiredness can be massive! I remember my daughter used to fall into bed. It's such a massive change for them and a lot for their brains to adjust to.

  3. Erin is at nursery 4 full days a week now and is already so tired by 5pm so I can imagine her being the same when she starts school.

  4. The tiredness bit still applies in secondary school - children just need a PJ day every now and again

  5. I definitely agree with the tiredness and bringing bedtime forward! It still applied now and my boy is in Year 2. Its so hard and their days are so long and busy, it's no wonder they're tired and emotional. We are finding homework tricky to fit in now that he has so much more, alongside homework online and his spellings! Having school aged children is a real challenge for the parents as well.

  6. Bedtime and routine is key! I find my children get worn out close to the end of term, so that's when we start relaxing a bit more!

  7. I hear preparation and organisation is the key, my nephew struggled when he started too but now he absolutely loves it.

  8. I'm with you on the dark colours. Our uniform has white shirts, and I've found that pretty much the only thing that works is dumping all the shirts (I have two kids at school) in a big bucket of bleach come Friday.


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