As I get ready for my second year as a school mum, I’ve been reflecting on my daughter’s first year at school.
It has gone incredibly fast, and I can’t believe my little girl is going into Year 1 next week. But it hasn’t just been an education for her. I’ve also learnt loads in my first year as a school mum and decided to pass on my new-found wisdom.
So, if your little one is about to start school, have a read of the 7 things I’ve learnt since becoming a school mum. You can thank me later!
1. You can never have enough school uniform bits
While you might want to kit your kid out in all the branded uniform that you buy from the school shop, don’t! You’ll end up bankrupting yourself by the end of the first term.
They’ll either get ruined with paint, lost, or they’ll be too small come the next term. Instead, only buy the logo bits that you really need, according to the school’s policy. Then stock up on the rest of the uniform you need from the supermarket clothing section – you’ll probably want to burn everything at the end of the year, anyway!
2. Time flies
No matter what time I get up on a school day, it’s always a massive rush to get out the door on time. Making myself look respectable is the least of my worries when I have a 5-year-old to battle with.
And I’m sure there’s some kind of weird time-travelling machine that I step into when I drop my daughter off at school. No sooner have I left the school gates after taking her to her class in the morning, than it’s 3pm and I’m back there picking her up again!
3. School admin is a full on
Be prepared to put at least 4 hours a week aside to read all the emails the school sends out, and deal with all the school admin. Seriously! That’s no exaggeration.
There’s the emails, the Facebook group, the occasional letters that I find in my daughter’s bag at the end of the week, not to mention remembering to order her school meals on the website.
Then there’s all the extra-curricular activities to keep on top of and knowing what to pack in her bag each day. There was one week when I struggled to keep track of my daughter’s timetable – she had forest school on Monday, swimming on Tuesday, dance on Wednesday, swimming again on Thursday and Sports Day on Friday!
I need an assistant just to deal with school admin!
4. Join the parents’ Whatsapp group with caution
It sounds like a great idea to join the Whatsapp group for all the parents of the kids in your child’s class. But, be warned…like the school admin, it’s often a full-time job to keep on top of all the messages.
It can be overwhelming, so don’t feel guilty for muting the chat – especially when a group of them are trying to organise a coffee date, which you can’t or don’t want to attend!
5. Snacks are a big deal
By the time they finish school in the afternoon, kids are hungry!
Even though we only live a short distance from the school, I’ve learnt to always bring a snack with me for my daughter.
And never, ever forget to bring a snack! I thought I got hangry, but she hits a whole new level when I occasionally forget to bring something for her to eat on the way home!
Not only that, if you don’t ask what they want for a snack, be prepared that whatever snack you bring them will be the wrong snack.
6. School causes memory loss in kids, apparently
Don’t be alarmed if your child can’t remember what they did at school when you ask them
“I can’t remember” is a standard response for school kids when asked “what did you do at school today?”
It’s like their memory is wiped as soon as they step out of the school gate!
Finding out what my daughter did at school that day can be like milking blood from a stone. Eventually though, she’ll offer little nuggets of her day at random points, when I least expect it.
7. You’ll need a bigger house for all the stuff they bring home
If you thought your kid brought home loads of “art” from nursery, be prepared for this to continue during the first year of school.
At least at nursery it was generally just pictures of rainbows and family. At school, they make sculptures made from all sorts of crap. My daughter brought home a castle made from boxes and loo rolls, which she named and got me to promise that I wouldn’t throw it away!
What have I missed?
If there are any other pearls of wisdom you’ve gleaned from being a school mum, let me know!