As we slip seamlessly into September from another disappointing summer (weather wise), our social media news feeds are once again bombarded with children in ill-fitting school uniform, usually posing against a wall or front door. Yes, it’s back to school time! Now I’ve seen a few cynical people out there moaning about these posts which I do sort of understand if you have no interest in children. The number of posts from parents that start with ‘sorry but…’ or the familiar opening of ‘obligatory first day of school photo’ to somehow downplay their post, tell you that parents are wary of these back to school photos too. I guess the reason for this cautious approach is that it has become a bit of a cliché. Well, the thing about clichés is that they are often true. You see, school is kind of a big deal. Whether it’s their very first day or just the start of a new year, it’s important. It’s a milestone in your child’s development and this is the reason that so many want to share (that and the sheer cuteness overload of seeing your little one in school uniform for the first time).
This year we’ve got son number one starting year 2 and son number two starting reception. While I am in no way whatsoever an expert, here are a few of the things I’ve learnt over the last couple of years. For those with little ones just starting school, you might find some of these will ring true…
They will still make you sit on tiny chairs – as I gently lower myself into the small, moulded plastic chair, two thoughts hit me. One, will the chair collapse beneath me leaving me sprawled on the classroom floor. Two, once in the chair will I be able to get up again, unaided. The joys of a parents’ evening.
The teachers will most likely be younger than you – if there is one thing guaranteed to make you feel old it’s meeting the new teacher and realising they are a good few years younger than you. A bit like the moment you realise that policemen are getting younger.
The headmistress makes me nervous – we’re all adults here but there’s something about talking to the headmistress that makes me a little nervous. I suspect it’s some sort of childhood regression on my part, either that or it’s witchcraft on hers.
No matter how good the school, certain things will annoy you – it can’t be helped. There will be miss communication or lack of information and there will countless things that drive you nuts. You just have to suck it up. Especially as they’ll be times when you, the parent get things wrong (like on Monday when we forgot to tell the school our youngest was going to after school club and not being picked up by us – soz).
You’ll worry – no doubt about it. You’ll worry about them making friends and being happy. I’m sure at some point you’ll worry about their actual school work but mostly you’ll just want them to be OK.
No one will be into your child as much as you – you might think your kid is the best thing since sliced bread (as will every other parent of their own offspring). At the end of the day, your precious little one is just one of many. But that’s not a bad thing!
Homework is still a massive pain in the arse but… (and don’t say it too loud), it doesn’t really matter – they might begin school all enthusiastic about doing homework but it soon turns into a battle. In recent years there’s been a bit of a backlash about getting young children to do homework and I’ve heard of some parents completely boycotting it. I wouldn’t go that far but if you find you’re too busy at the weekend then you really shouldn’t worry about it, certainly not in the first few years… they’ve got the rest of their lives for ‘serious’ work.
You won’t know what the hell they do all day – conversations tend to go like this…
Me: What did you do today?
Me: Really. What did you learn?
Son: I can’t remember
Me: Hmmm. What did you have for lunch?
Now he obviously is learning things and according to his teachers doing quite well but would we know from talking to him? No chance.
And that last point kind of sums up the experience. Going to school means they are starting to live their lives independently from you, which *grabs tissue* is what makes it such an emotional thing. You will no longer know what they are doing all day and you probably never will again.
For ‘obligatory first day of school photos’ and other such things check out my Instagram: