This month thousands of children have taken their first steps into their new schools. Their first steps at formal education, albeit play based. Their first steps into new routines and new friendships. I can safely say it’s also been a new routine, experience and absolutely shattering experience for me as a mum.
Getting ready to start school
Throughout the summer we bought bits and bobs so the week before everything was ready, and a couple of days before when I was happy everything still fitted I set about putting labels on everything. We had also talked about the new routines, and used the line “you won’t be able to do that at school” umpteen times!
We squeezed in a last minute holiday to Corfu just before H started as being n oldie, she didn’t start in the first week. We came back relaxed and excited, ready for a few days of fun before our next adventure: starting school!
However in the week leading up to H starting school I found myself plagued by awful headaches, you know the sort that mean you just have to sit still with your head against the couch? I even fell asleep very very briefly and was relieved to wake up to a slightly better head, and two kids who were happily playing and watching TV beside me. I didn’t sleep long, just mear minutes, but it was obviously exactly what my body needed.
However, it was the quiet, but very up and down mood of H which led me to twig that she was probably anxious and unsure of the huge change coming the next week. It was an absolutey exhausting week, but I’m glad we had some days taking it easy playing at home as those are the days we will be missing.
I had ordered labels from MyNameTags and they only took a a few days to arrive. They seem to be easy to use, stick well, and I still agree now they have been washed a few times too.
The school run really does take over. Every school day is filled with deadlines, firstly to get out of the door in the morning – I absolutely recommend being up early and ready early, as running late is always even more stressful, and then the trepidation of pick up time and not being late. I know I’m only one week in, but seriously I leave everywhere an hour before school kicks out to make sure I can’t be late, can’t be stuck on the motorway, or, with a broken down car.
Yes, of course I had to pick her up from playgroup and preschool before, but this just feels like more. Those with older kids, or who have older siblings are probably reading this laughing, thinking, shes such a newbie. Wait until she’s been doing this school malakey for longer and she’ll always be late like the rest of us!
True, I completely agree, I proably will. I’m also hoping I gradually gain friends I can trust to pick up H if something crazy happens and I get locked in a car park again, or lock myself out of the house.
Hubby of course would dash out of his office, but the odds of always getting hold of him aren’t always good even in this day and age, sometimes we just don’t stare at our phones all day. I think it’s this fact that makes me relieved I’m a stay at home mum as in general I should be able to be reached, not ignoring communication because I have a deadline. Yes, I may be in a 45 minute toddler ballet class or something, but not stuck in a meeting somewhere or been dragged here there or everywhere as I used to be at work.
Starting school is exhausting
We had been warned how tired the kids would be after starting school, and as H was straight in doing full days, we knew it might be bad. We didn’t notice much on the first day, the second she was clingy going in and teary. I stuck to my guns a quick cuddle and passed her to the teacher who led her inside. After school she told me she was tired and also that she knew I wasn’t allowed past the gate. She went in all smiles with a friend the next day, but the day after we had some more clingy tears but she did walk off in her line and in, knowing I couldn’t go with her. She later told me she’d been fine when she got in, and sat with two friends.
Yes, the tears have torn at me, but I’ve had to let her go, and not prolonging the cuddles and keeping her in her place in line has really helped. Extra cuddles would only prolong her tears and make it harder to wrench her away and into her class. She absolutely loves school so I’m quite sure the clinginess is just her tiredness. To be fair, she’s admitted as much.
All Infants (reception, year 1 and year 2) in England receive free school meals and H has absolutely loves trying all the different meals. Some are things she wouldn’t usually eat but as her friends are eating it, she now loves it! Sometimes peer pressure can be good!
During our first week, I’ve brought a snack to pick up. Sometimes a banana or yogurt, just something to get her home and distract her on the walk to the car.
I’ve also made sure to cook different dinners to those she had a school. Spag bol or fish and chips twice in one day wouldn’t be great, so actually, it’s helping me plan our meals at home much more effectively.
I’ll hopefully write another update in a month or two when we’re closet to half term and once homework, P.E. and the real juggle is in full swing.
I’ve tried to streamline our routine as much as possible. Everything is ready the night before. Alexa sounds an alarm five minutes before we need to leave, and I’m tempted to add an earlier alarm for when H needs to start getting dressed as her breakfast is getting longer and longer by the day!
I don’t want her running around looking for uniform so I’ve popped her uniform for the next day in a basket so it’s all ready so the rest of her uniform can’t get thrown around her room.
The only thing I’ve almost forgotten was her water bottle, but luckily H rememeber at the end of the street so we had time to turn back.
For now, I’m off to bed, I’ve been completely zonked since she started.
How did you find it when your little ones starting school? Did you find it utterly exhausting too?