As I sit here typing this, my son is peacefully asleep, hopefully dreaming sweet dreams of starting grade 1 tomorrow. I myself am sick to my stomach over it. I thought this year would be easier, since he was at the big school for prep last year. I know states all over the country are different, so for those of you not in QLD, our kids have to be turn 5 by June 30th of the year they start school. The first year they do is called “prep” and it precedes grade 1. It is sort of a transitional year between kindergarten and “big” school, even though it is at big school and they wear the uniforms.
I remember how anxious I felt on the first day last year, not knowing what room he would be in, who his teacher would be, or if any of the 4 kids he knew who were also starting would be in his class. It turned out 2 of them were, and the other 2 were right next door. I also remember the tears as I walked away from my crying child who had been led into class by a teacher who didn’t seem overly loving and caring*.
I thought this year would be different. I thought this year would be easier. But I find myself sitting here, the night before, feeling just as anxious as I did last year. I don’t even know where the grade 1 classes are. At least I will see friendly and familiar faces this year. And hopefully a few of them will even be in Nick’s class. Mostly I just hope neither of us cries. Last year The Mechanic was there to drag me away. This year he won’t be.
Emily over at Have A Laugh On Me shared great tips for those of you who are first time school mums this week and asked us what advice we would give.
I have three pieces of advice, all which were passed to me by mums last year. The first relates to lost property – always check your child’s bag while waiting at school pick-up. If something is lost, you may be able to recover it then and there. If your child is anything like my son, they won’t bother to put things back in their bags, but rather will put them on top of their bag, or leave them loose in the bag racks.
My second piece of advice will (hopefully) help you avoid getting that dreaded “Nothing” answer to your questions, like “What did you do at school today?” that Emily mentioned. The trick is quite simple, and may be something you already know to do. It took me 6 months to figure it out!
Instead of “What did you do at school today?” ask “What was your favourite thing about school today?” You can follow that up with, “What did you like the least at school today?” Instead of, “What did you do at lunch?” ask “Did you play any fun games at lunch today?” It helps to jog their memories, and also makes them think about it a little harder than just blurting out “Nothing!” as an answer. You could also ask “Did your class go anywhere today?” It might make them remember that they went to PE, the library or music class that day.
My final piece of advice is, if you can, leave homework until the next morning. I don’t know about you, but some mornings my son is up at 5:30 am. This means we have 3 hours to kill before he has to be at school. Instead of turning on the telly (which causes drama in our house when it’s time to turn it off!), sit and them with their homework. Often they’re more refreshed after a good night’s sleep than they are when they come home from a long day in the classroom.
My bonus piece of advice – soak in every second, because they’ll be graduating high school before you know it! And make sure you fight back those tears until you are well out of sight. I hope all the kiddies going back to school this week have great teachers, a few friendly faces in their class, and lots of stories for you when you pick them up!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT