Friday, 7 February 2014

Things I Know .. About Back To School

My children are so different in their approach to life, and their likes and dislikes. This was glaringly apparent over the Summer holidays, and the imminent return to school once the New Year rolled around.
We had one pining for school and the other dreading it. Isn't it always the way?

As they returned back to school for their first day of Grade One and Grade Four, I learned quite a few things as I caught up with them at the end of the day. Some were surprising and some were quite expected.

Leading Up To The Day
  • If you want all items ready to go for the first morning, either find them yourself or give children weeks of advance notice. Children can not justify looking for school items during holidays, even if they are "dying to go back"
  • If there is anything that needs to be done or "should" be done before school returns, like haircuts, shopping, altering uniform, etc, then it needs to be scheduled into your agenda as soon as you think of it. Otherwise these items will be done at the last minute or not done at all.
  • Buying new supplies can be exciting, but try to be practical about the choices
  • Let your child have say on their choice of supplies, like lunchboxes, but they need to be guided
  • Try on uniform items a week or so before school. This allows you to check the fit just in case your child has had a growth spurt
  • Take advantage of the "Back to school" Sales. There are good bargains to be found, and the selection is often better during this time.
  • Your school will often be able to supply items of uniform, book and stationery, but savings may be made by buying things from outside sources
On The Day
  • Having the same teacher as the previous year eliminates the "getting to know you" nerves
  • Having the same teacher as last year can either be a joyous thing, or a terrible thing
  • No matter whether you are looking forward to the first day or dreading it, getting to sleep can be tricky
  • Children are often early to get ready on the first day, with everything prepared the night before
  •  Being prepared the night before, and being early to rise and get ready may not continue after the first day
  • Taking your children to school for the first day (at least) can be very important, for both you and the children. You can meet the teacher, learn where the class is located, make sure they get to school on time and safely,  and gauge both yours and your child's mental and emotional state
  • Don't expect the first day to be a quick drop off, as there is a huge fluster of activity, confusion and excitement
  • Younger children don't talk to each other about what they have been doing over the holidays
  • Teachers don't talk about what they have been doing over the holidays
  • It is great to catch up with friends you haven't seen much over the holidays
  • It does not take long for friends to slip back into their routine
  • Children are keen to help pack their lunch for the first day
  • Children are not so keen to help pack their lunch AFTER the first day
  • Even if children help pack their lunch, there will be something they are not happy with
  • There is always something else needed, like a hat, a pencil case, or socks, even when you have made it your mission to be prepared
  • Children get sick of answering your questions about their first day quickly
  • If you are anything like me, you have many questions
  • The first day is often taken up with organisation, getting to know people, games and settling in, but the children are usually tired at the end of the day