*This post was written in collaboration with Andrex and the Clean Routine. I’m thrilled to be working with Andrex in the upcoming months to help families be ready for little ones that are starting school in September.
So I’ve been in complete denial most of the summer but it has now hit me that in less than a week it will be my baby’s first day at school and I am not prepared for it. Andrex have put together a fabulous school readiness calendar that you can download here that can guide you, if like me you feel totally unprepared.
It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were thinking about home educating Judah. I have been so wary about letting him go. We applied for schools anyway and the second we found out that he’d been accepted I was on the Next website ordering his school uniform in the middle of the night. I was so excited for him. Now that excitement has turned to anxiousness. There’s no doubt in my mind that my little man is ready for school despite only just turning four, the question was ‘Am I ready?’. Having got pregnant with my youngest little miss when Judah was only 7 months old and having severe antenatal depression and postnatal depression, I finally feel I’m becoming myself again and my son didn’t really get to have the full benefit of that. Mum guilt is a beast isn’t it? So, with all the thoughts and emotions flooding me around this time I need to put them aside right now and embrace the fact that this is happening. It’s good for him, he’s excited, he’s so ready in so many ways, but now I’m ready to go through the checklist to make sure I’ve prepared him as much as I can for my baby’s first day at school.
Buy the Uniform
So as I mentioned already, I did this super early, but I have left the shoes until as late as possible as I know from past experience that our little ones have always shot up like bamboo over the summer holidays. A little rest from school/pre-school and summer sun (did we have any of that this year?) seem to make a great recipe for growth. We still need to buy Judah’s school shoes and backpack which I’ll be taking him along to help with. He will enjoy choosing and this will help to remind his brain that school is coming soon. If you haven’t bought your uniform yet I’ve seen so many amazing offers at most supermarkets that you’ll be sure to find a great deal.
Talk to the Teachers
We were quite fortunate that the school had lots of sessions to prepare Judah for what was to come in September and meetings for myself as a parent too. They started in June so I feel Judah really got a feel for the school at the settling in sessions. Also, his teacher came to our home which was lovely as we live quite a distance from the school and certainly much further than any of the other pupils. Most schools tend to do this now which is a great gesture. Judah was so excited to see his teacher out of the school environment. It made him feel that this teacher was really invested in him. I was also able to chat through my thoughts and concerns. I also inevitably burst into tears for all the reasons I mentioned in the first paragraph. I’m sad my baby is going to school and that he didn’t get the best of me, but it alleviated some of my concerns as Mrs Brown is a wonderful teacher and she has been amazing with Shayla-Rae so I know that Judah is going to be in good hands. I understand that not everyone will be in the situation I am with older siblings that have had the same teacher so keep the lines of communication as frequent as you feel is necessary to put yourself and your little one at peace. Reception teachers are absolutely used to parents needing to be reassured so don’t feel you can’t ask any queries you may have. They will probably have heard them all before.
Practice putting on their Uniform
This is something that doesn’t concern me as much, with Judah being the third child, although he’s technically my first, he has still always had someone to imitate which has made him very independent. With us going swimming nearly every day in the summer he is used to dressing and undressing himself. We do dress smart for church most Sundays too so he is used to buttoning and unbuttoning shirts. His school uniform only has a polo shirt though and not a traditional school shirt so it will be even easier for him. Despite this being something I’m not too concerned about, after reading it on the Andrex school readiness guide it is something that we will still be practicing. I want him to be as prepared as possible for having to get himself in and out of his uniform for PE. So we will be doing some PE change trial runs to get him ready for when he has to do it himself. Is anyone else feeling nervous for them already going through this countdown? My heart is beating. I know he can do it. It’s just so hard letting go isn’t it?
Practice the School Run
This is something I definitely wish I had thought of when we moved the girls to this school last year. My first school run resulted in them being 45 minutes late. The route is easy enough when it’s not at 8am on a regular working day and can take only 25 minutes but add in normal morning traffic and goodness me, I was not prepared for that. I’m now an old hat at this school run malarkey but it is definitely worth while practicing the school run at the time you would be normally making the journey to see if there are any adjustments you need to make. We have to set off incredibly early, but it makes all the difference, especially as missing the register counts as a morning absence so if you want to keep that attendance up (definitely now that we can take them on holiday in school term if their attendance is good and the school feels it’s a worth while trip) it doesn’t hurt to practice that school run. Trust me. If it’s quite a distance, like it is for us, you’ll thank me for it later.
Making sure that we all nip to the toilet before we head out in the car is an important one for us with four children and also as most of the journeys we do are quite long ones. I’ve lost track of the amount of times we’ve needed to pull over at the side of a road and let Judah take a wee behind some bushes when we’ve forgotten to send him to the loo before we got into the car. We mostly remember, and with little ones there will always be the odd roadside moment on longer journeys as they can’t hold their bladder the way that we do, but definitely remembering to send them to the toilet before we head out is helpful. This is something we implement before the girls would go into dance classes, or sports classes at the gym, and also before they go into Sunday school on a Sunday, so it’s just transferring that to before heading out to school too.
Create a Routine
As some of you may already have read in my earlier post found here this is something we have been working on for a while. The Andrex Clean Routine has been so helpful for me in making sure that Judah’s cleanliness is the best that it can be for when he begins school. It’s important to me that he is not just able to take himself to the toilet, but that he knows how to wipe thoroughly, flush and to wash and dry his hands correctly. Making sure he checks that the stall has toilet roll before he begins too so that he’s never found in an awkward situation at school that he feels embarrassed about. Well, I say never, but sometimes these things happen no matter how much we prepare. The best we can do is to prepare them as much as possible and set them up to win. I want Judah’s transition to starting school to be as smooth as it can possibly be. So whether I’m ready to let him go or not, he’s ready. He’s equipped in the best way possible to be happy and secure so that he can focus and learn the things that they want to teach him.
It’s a big wide world out there and all we ever want to do as parents/guardians is to equip our children to face this world without us. Parenting, a job where if you do it well you work yourself out of the position. Argh, so I’m getting ahead of myself now, it’s certainly not time for me to be sobbing about the empty nest syndrome just yet, but I’m certainly making sure my baby’s first day at school is the best that it can possibly be.