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School starts for new mums too!

I wish I knew then what I know now. Could have saved a lot of heartache and stress and I may have held onto less 'artworks' and school books then I ultimately did. So, I thought I'd put together my 9 top tips from my own learnings as a mum to two school aged kids to help any new mums who might be struggling and feeling overwhelmed.

1 Your child is ready and resilient

Man is it hard to let your precious baby leave the safety of your 'nest' for the rough and tumble of the school yard. You worry soooo much if your child is making friends or being picked on. Is the teacher looking after your child inside and out of the class room? And a million other micro concerns throughout each day of those first few weeks.

What I can say, is that there will be tears. Your child will feel left out at some stage. Will feel scared, lost and over stimulated. But....the teachers are trained in managing them and they generally do an amazing job. Your child is physically safe and they will learn the ropes and make friends. They are incredibly tough and resilient. They're also forgiving and adorable, so you might be feeling their slights and hiccups more than they are. Take a breath and give it a little time before jumping in to protect them.

And if you forget to pack their lunch (yes, it absolutely does happen), the school won't let your child starve. I got so many calls from the tuckshop lady checking I was ok for my child to get lunch from her and it go on my school bill. Somehow all the messiness works out ok....we all get through it.

2 Trust your gut feeling.

My boy was born 10 weeks early and even though he's really smart, he was delayed in absolutely everything: crawling, walking, talking and reading. I raised my concerns at the end of March in Kinda that he was picking up reading as well as I felt he should be but was brushed off by the teacher saying that boys were slower than girls and that she'd let me know if she had any concerns.

Fast forward to October and I get an urgent request for a parent teacher meeting only to learn that she (finally) felt he wasn't picking up reading well at all. We lost 6 months of his education! And when I escalated it to a meeting with the principal, teacher AND Reading Recovery teacher, I was treated appallingly (like I was an hysterical mother!) and was offered zero support for my son. So, we yanked him out of that school immediately.

If you feel like the school is NOT doing the right thing by your child and /or family, MOVE! Sometimes it takes trial and error to get things right in this schooling life and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Do whatever is in the best interests of your child.

3 Not all their artworks are masterpieces!

OMG. I kept ALLLLL the things in the first year but then really struggled with storing everything. Pick out a few of the best and pop them in a clear leaf folder. Photograph everything so you have a digital record of it. Keep only a couple of their work books - trust me - you will never re-read 90% of them. I kept their writing books as their little stories (and spelling) were so damn adorable.

I've printed out little year books of school photos, photos on playdates as well as their artworks via Snapfish. It's a fantastic trip down memory lane when they're older!

4 Don't buy the most expensive things

I've literally lost count of the number of bottles, lunch boxes, hats, art aprons and and whole lot of other stuff over the years. Initially I bought expensive matching stuff but soon learn, to just buy practical and easy-to-get items (ie from Coles or Kmart etc). Interestingly, a lot of items eventually do find their way home, but you can't count on that.

5 Label everything

Oh this gets really old really quickly, BUT it is sooo essential. I've tracked down so many school uniform items thanks to all my labeling efforts. Make sure you use ones that won't fall off easily as that is a waste of time and effort.

6 Don't over-buy stuff

Especially in the first years when they're growing sooo quickly. You can always buy another item whenever needed. Also, buying second hand is sometimes the BEST idea! Saves so much money and you aren't so worked up when it goes missing or when they grow out of it.

7 It gets reallllll busy, reallll fast!

There always feels like an absolute onslaught of info coming from the school. Mufti days, Easter Hat Parades, International Women's' Day, sports evets, plays, assemblies etc etc etc. Don't stress too much about t all....there are usually a few emails leading up to an event so you're unlikely to miss anything. And even if you somehow do miss something, it's not the end of the world. Either it will happen again or another parent will cover for you. Just do what you can and keep breathing. The rest will sort itself out.

I would definitely suggest getting a planner of some description (Zinnia works for me) to note any events as soon as you're aware of them. That way you are less likely to miss anything.

8 Keep a few dollars in a pocket of their school bag

They don't have to know its there until there's an 'emergency' such as a gold coin donation, or they want to buy something at a fete or fundraiser. If the child is a little older, the Spriggy cards are a godsend!

9 Enjoy the ride

You know the saying, "the days can drag by but the years fly"? It's so applicable to the school years. The first day of kinda is such a huge deal and before you know it, your child's in high school. In a blink of an eye. So savour all the special moments, the friendships (some of which last a lifetime), the achievements. You'll be so glad you did!


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