I don’t even know where the summer has gone!
We have been incredibly lucky with all the good weather we have had; whilst in the U.K we got to enjoy the heat wave and since we’ve been back home in Gibraltar the weather has definitely been toasty warm.
With the summer holidays though coming to an end and Oliver starting Reception (FS2) in just a few short days I thought I would share with you a few tips I have picked up over the years with having three other children already in school.
Label everything: You can buy special labels which you can iron, stitch or stick onto the inside of their clothes but for one reason or another I’ve never got round to purchasing them but they do look like a great idea especially for lunch boxes and juice cups.
I have found on a lot of school uniform I have purchased on the inside label it has a place that you can write your child’s name and class, in previous years I have just written the older boys names with a normal pen and it seems to do the job but after a few washes the name can start to fade a little so it just needs to be written back on.
Lunch box: For me this is more of a preference thing and only something I changed last year as previous years I would take the older boys to pick which lunchbox they wanted for school but I was finding they were coming home with the inside of their lunch boxes covered in yogurt from where it had exploded or bits of sandwich crumbs stuck in the crevasses of the inside of the lunchbox, making cleaning out the lunch boxes a pain in the bum.
Last year I decided to buy sistema Lunch Cube’s and it honestly made cleaning out their lunch boxes at the end of the day so straightforward as I could just wash them up, let them dry or dry them with a tea towel and I wasn’t stressing trying to get every last crumb out or hoping I hadn’t left a bit of yogurt unwashed in a gap. This year I’ve bought one for Oliver starting school but couldn’t find the Lunch Cube so went for the Slimline Quaddie which is made by the same company.
Enough about lunch boxes!!
School Shoes: Oliver has been able to put velcro shoes on for sometime now but does get confused as to which foot which shoe goes on. I have found drawing a smiley face on the inside of the shoe really helps him to know which foot the shoe goes on. He puts the shoes in front of him and matches up the smiley face so he then knows which foot which shoe goes on and saves him walking around all day with shoes on the wrong feet.
Toilet wipes: Oliver has always had problems wiping his bottom, sorry for too much information but with starting BIG school it was something that he is going to have to do especially if he needs a poop whilst in school. The only way I have managed to get around this is by buying “special wipes” and he knows he is only allowed 2 as you can’t flush more than that down the toilet and so far so good! I’ve already bought a packet of them to pop into his bookbag just incase he does need one in school.
We are using the Huggies pull-ups brand at the moment as it’s the brand we came across whilst in the supermarket in the U.K however most supermarkets have them including Aldi and Morrisons.
Comforter: It must be daunting being so small, only 4 and suddenly be going off to school where everyone else looks so much bigger and not knowing anyone, it’s heartbreaking as a mother just thinking about it! Oliver did go to pre-school (FS1) and enjoyed every minute of it but for the majority of the school year he did take with him in his bag his “best friend” Monkey whom he sleeps with every night and at one point went nowhere without, for him it was a piece of mind he wasn’t on his own.
Sometimes little things like this can certainly reassure a child and make them feel safe.
Organise: I’ve found the easiest way to get out of the door in the morning is to have everything done the night before so it’s just a case of getting dressed and going. If you want to read more on what I do the night before you can find my blog post here
The other thing that I have found really helps is having a diary and every time one of the children bring home a note it’s written in the diary straight away. I’m thinking about starting to use the calendar on my iPhone as myself and hubby both have iPhones so we could sync them with each other meaning we can both be up to date on appointments, school holidays, in service days, parents evenings and so much more.
Do you use the calendar on your phone rather than a diary?
Collect: This is a new thing im going to try this year and that’s to get £10’s worth of pound coins and put them in a jar; the amount of times I have been caught out when it comes to paying a pound for blue day or another charitable day is shocking this way if I don’t have a pound in my purse I always have the jar of pound coins to fall back on.
Make going to school a positive thing: its hard! I can’t quite believe that Oliver is starting full-time education already, he still feels too little be going off to school.
I know from the other boys starting school that they have always looked to see how im reacting to them going which then influences how they have reacted.
I have been talking to Oliver recently quite a bit about school, telling him everything he will be doing and the friends he is going to make, which seems to have gotten him excited for what his days at school are going to entail. The one thing Oliver does seem bothered about is Jasper going to the park without him, so I’ve been trying to reassure him that we can go to the park after school together.
Writing their name: I know we haven’t got long left before they will be walking through the school gates and even if they can’t write their name just the first letter is fine but every child learns at their own pace and if they can’t do it just yet it’s not a problem it just means they are learning a different skill and it will happen in time.
What I have found works is getting a yellow colouring pencil, felt tip or crayon and writing Olivers name and then asking him to trace over it. It’s so much quicker than doing their name in dots but yet has the same concept.
What to expect: for the first few weeks of being back at school after the holidays the boys have always been really emotional and cranky after school, trying to get into the swing of going to school can really take its toll on them especially after the summer.
And even more so for a four year old!
If you are thinking of enrolling them in after school activities like swimming, football, ballet….maybe hold off until you see they are handling their new long days well or maybe just trying one after-school activity to start with. Oliver goes to football once a week after school times so he will continue with only doing this until I see he is getting into the swing of school and then if he wants to add something else like swimming then we will look at enrolling him.
Don’t forget to charge your camera battery to snap those all important first day of school photos!
I hope you’ve found some of my starting school tips useful.
Please comment below with some of your starting school tips. I love reading other people’s tips of how they make starting school easier