If your little one starts primary school in September and you're feeling a bit emotional about it all, help is at hand! We asked our members to share their top tips for starting school. This is what they told us:
"Ensure they are able to do the simple essential life skills like use a knife and fork, take self to toilet, dress themselves etc."
"If nothing else, make sure they can at least get themselves dressed."
"Attend the schools induction days so your child sees their classroom and school beforehand."
"Don’t be surprised if your child is extremely tired after school for the whole first term."
"Get organised, make extra time for tired children."
"Be prepared to go through lots of new tops as they explore their use of pens – they tend to stain their shirts. Either invest in a stain remover or forget about expensive brands and get them cheap."
"Expect your child to be very tired, it’s a big adjustment for them. They often don’t want to talk about school and sometimes their behaviour is worse having been concentrating so much at school all day they act out when they get home."
"Talk to your child about starting school and what to expect. Make the idea of starting school fun to help your child look forward to it."
"Encourage independence over the summer so they can dress/undress themselves, go to toilet/wash hadns, use cutlery, carry their bag. Spot letters/words/numbers in everyday things like street signs, cereal packets. Get them to recognise thier own name written down even if htey can't write it yet. Get involved with school - whether it's with the teacher about learning, or toher parents for fundraising and socials."
"Talk to other parents or friends to find out what you need to organise, buy and plan for the school start."
"Get involved, not necessarily as a PTA committee member but do volunteer to help – allows you greater access to the school and how it works."
"Join in as much as you can and get to know as many parents as you can, it makes you and your child feel involved. Volunteer for the PTA you will make lots of friends and get an insight into how the school needs help."
"Read read read with your child when they start to bring a book home. It makes the world of difference."
"Children love to see their parents take an active role at school events and it’s a great way for a new parent to get to know other new parents and of course the teaching staff."
"Find ways to connect with the school. Newsletters, events, meetings, pta. School is such a big part of both you and your child’s life!"
"Get to know your kid's teachers and remember that learning does not stop at 15:30. Find out what is being taught and reinforce that learning using fun methods before and after school. Encourage reading cereal boxes just to get them reading."
"…a child’s education is a 3-way process; school, child, parents. Don’t just sit back and expect the school to do everything – be involved."
"Get involved in the school. My son loves that the teachers and head master know me because I’ve been involved in activities. It also makes me feel less intimidated if/when I need to speak to the teachers"
"Go to PTA events to get to know people! You will make long-term friendships!"
"Get involved… live it… it is over far too quickly!!"
"Find ways to connect with the school. Newsletters, meetings etc. School is such a big part of both you and your child’s life!"
"...keep on top of the book bag admin from day one - your child's teacher will love you for it!"
"Set up or join a Facebook group just for the parents of the children in your child’s class. Then if there is anything you are not sure of you can ask other parents for advice or clarification. Also it gives you a platform to organise class trips to the park in the holidays or nights out for the parents!"
"...help to raise money for the benefit of the school. You don't have to be the Chair fo the PTA but things like offering to help at the fairs and gettng your pals to do the same- just for an hour or two - will help massively."
Relax and have fun
"Relax and be there to support your child. Don’t be stressed, your child will pick up on your emotions."
"Don’t worry – our children are ready more than we are and they take all these things in their stride. They are like little sponges so embrace their hunger and need to continue to learn while they explore the world around them"
"It’s ok to be a little worried and sad when your little one starts primary school but enjoy every step of the next stage in their growing up."
"Relax and let your children enjoy school."
"To not be upset or stressed! They will be fine! And have a great time!"
"Be kind to your child's teacher. They may tell you things you don't want to hear but they are not saying things to be mean, they want to help you and your child."
"Don’t worry about them, the teachers have been doing this for years and have previously come across every type of child’s needs and wants."
"Relax, trust the teachers and remember a happy child is a child who’ll learn."
"Try not to worry. Talk to other parents at the school to help put your mind at rest."
"Enjoy the first year as it is so special and goes so quickly."
If you've got a tip to share with other parents, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org