So, I’m a teacher and an experienced Reception teacher at that but the thought of my boy starting in Reception class next week is, to put it simply, breaking my heart! The funny thing is, I can look at it as a professional and know that he is ready in so many ways but I look at it too as his Mummy and frankly, I am not ready for this whole new chapter! He is MINE!!!
As many of you know, I have just had a new baby girl! My little angel! She, like her older brother and sister, are so precious to me. This is the first post I have written since having her and it seems fitting that the topic is this! Not only will J starting school be good for him, it will also be good for my girls as they’ll get more of me! It’s a good thing, it is! But why does it not feel like that?
I, as every other parent, want nothing but the best for my gorgeous babies. I know that giving them the opportunity to develop their personalities further, away from Daddy and I, and developing socially is crucial to making them well-rounded, confident and happy individuals. We have been nurturing their wings and now they need to train them so that, one day, they can fly off and live their own lives! Thing is, I don’t think I’m ready to become a spectator in their journey as opposed to the one and only facilitator!! Of course I know he still needs me! Daddy and I are his number one educators, but seeing what happens to children from the other side (as teacher) I know he is going to change so much over the next year and in some ways, I wont know him the way that I do now! He will have experiences, five days a week, that I will never know about and at the grand age of four years old, that seems so soon! My intention is not to sound maudlin! I felt I needed to write this as my therapy in dealing with this huge transition!! I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling like this?
Now you know how I feel as a parent, let’s have a look at what to expect, how to support your children and things not to forget, from a teacher’s perspective! *swaps hat over*
Unfortunate Things to Expect:
- You are always wrong because, ‘My teacher said…’
- Your child’s teacher will know… if your legs are hairy/smooth; if you and Daddy had a barny last night; how much wine you drink; if Daddy’s trumps smell; how dirty your house is; whether or not Mummy likes her in-laws; how many take-aways you have; whether Mummy/Daddy has bad breath! Basically, everything you have tried to hide, they will know! Sorry!
- Your child will be exhausted! Whether at nursery five days a week before, school is a whole new ball game! Expect grumpy, hungry and exhausted children at the end of the day! ( They will get used to it soon enough!)
- They will grow up VERY quickly! Influences from other children, who have older siblings or are just more aware, are unavoidable! Your child will change and think they are now 16 as opposed to 4/5!
- Time will speed up! As if it doesn’t go quickly enough already, now that years are broken into terms/ half terms, your child will be 30 before you know it!!! *sob/ break down/ sob*
- You will appreciate your child’s ‘wonderfulness’ even more! Absence makes the heart grown fonder as they say!
Top three ways to support our children when they are starting school:
1. The most important thing we can do as parents to prepare our children for school is ensure they know one very important fact!
MUMMY AND DADDY LOVE ME UNCONDITIONALLY!
Phew!! I feel a bit better now and I am patting Daddy and myself on the back! J knows without doubt that he is loved! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes he is a pain in the bum but J knows that whilst some behaviour makes us sad and not very proud, we ALWAYS love him and are proud of the boy we know he truly is!
2. Talk! Whether this be as a family, around the table, on the journey to and from school, talking will ensure that you keep in touch with your little one! Believe me, the school year will whizz by and changes will happen very quickly! Your baby will now be influenced by a multitude of new people (little and big) and they will have an impact (good and bad) on your little person! If I had a pound for the number of times, parents said, ‘I feel like you know him/her better than I do now!’
3. Get to know your child’s teachers and the methods the school use! Working together as a partnership with the school may sound twee but it is certainly the best way! Nothing more confusing for a child when their teacher is telling them to write in lowercase and their parents write ENTIRELY IN CAPITALS! If you’re not sure about something, just ask! I know teachers would prefer this than having to have the conversation ‘but Mummy says’ 30 times a day! If you can support what the school are teaching in the same way at home, your children will benefit!
Don’t forget to:
- Label everything! Including your child (ok maybe not your child) but things are misplaced ALL the time!
- Check their school bag for letters! You don’t want to miss out on things because your child doesn’t show you the school letters.
- Encourage independence! Even in a rush, try and allow your child to dress and undress themselves! Changing for PE can be PAINFUL!!!
- Read together! Try not to ditch their normal story books once reading books are sent home! You don’t want your hard work of nurturing a love of books to die off because they only see reading books now! They are not the most stimulating reads so continue with their own library collections at home!
- Sneak as many cuddles, kisses and ‘I love you’s’ in as you can… soon enough this won’t be cool… at least in public anyway!
So I have a grand total of five more days with my son as a pre-schooler and I’m going to make the most of them! I remember as a 16 year old, my Mum and Dad telling me I had never stopped being their baby. In fact they still say it now and I’m 34. At the age of 16, I rolled my eyes and thought they were mad! Now, as my four year old son embarks on this huge milestone, I still look at him as the new born I held in my arms four and a bit years ago! Yes J, you may be ‘a big boy’ now as you so often declare, but you will ALWAYS be my baby boy! Good luck to all the new school starters this year and LOTS more luck to all the parents! Let’s have a toast to ‘our babies!’ *sobs into wine glass*