(Updated 29/08/2017. One year on and Miss E is off to year 3, Little Man to year 1, and Littlest will be starting daily pre-school in the same school as his big brother and sister.)
The countdown is on for the start of the new school year. Next week Little Man O, my middle child, starts in reception. It’s two years since his big sister, Little Miss E, started full-time school, and I’m finding it just as emotional second time round. He’s ready to go though. With a September birthday, and being really tall for his age, I’ve spent the last year fending off questions from people wondering why he’s not in school already. I know his little brother, Toddler Boy I, will miss hanging out with him, but I’m looking forward to some adventures just the two of us.
Whether you’ve got a child starting full-time this year, or if you’ve been there done that already, here’s 24 things that will happen when your child starts reception. You can also read how we got on trialling Stikins name labels, who I’ve been working with on this post.
1. You’ll look at your baby and wonder how on earth they got big enough to be starting full-time school. Where have the last 4+ years gone?!
2. However, they’ll still look so tiny compared to the big year 6 kids you’ll worry about them getting squished in the playground.
3. Despite groaning previously at all the ‘first day of school photos’ on Facebook, your little one will look so cute and grown up in their pristine new school uniform you’ll find it hard to resist joining in yourself.
4. Those shiny school shoes you spent a small fortune on will be trashed by the end of the week.
5. And every morning you’ll be sick of the sound of your own voice asking your child to put them on. “Shoes please. Shoes! SHOES! SHOOOOOEESSS!”
6. You’ll soon realise rain’s favourite time of day is 8.45am-9am and 3pm-3.30pm and you’ll do your fair share of soggy school runs. (The ‘joys’ of the school run is a whole other post though…)
7. You’ll long for those wistful days of pre-school when you could still be in your pyjamas at half nine.
8. Or you’ll be juggling breakfast clubs, after school clubs, holiday clubs and calling in favours from family and friends wondering how on earth working parents coordinate school and childcare, especially in the holidays.
9. All the dress up days and costumes to make. Argh! And always with about a day’s notice too.
10. Being super-thrilled when your child gets star pupil of the week (even though you know they all get it at some point). Cue another photo on Facebook.
11. Wondering how to entertain the class teddy bear. Why did the teacher choose your child the only week you don’t have any plans whatsoever?! Wondering if you can write “Mr Teddy had fun watching lots of Paw Patrol” in his diary.
12. Nits. It happens to the best of us, I promise. My advice? Invest in a Nitty Gritty comb and some protection spray now and make a pact with other parents to let each other know ASAP so everyone can check and treat.
13. Your weekends will be spent on the party scene – the big class birthday party scene, that is, and you’ll continually joke about your child having a better social life than you. On the plus side, it’s a fab excuse to get to know the other parents and start planning a school next mums’ night out.
14. If you’re the one hosting a big class party, you’ll become incensed by people not bothering to RSVP, people not replying but turning up to the party anyway, or people turning up with uninvited siblings in tow. Just grin and bear it and know that by about year two, the parties will become smaller as they start celebrating with a handful of friends instead.
15. Your child will learn to read and spell – so no more sounding out the letters to other grown-ups when you don’t want them to know something or leaving your Facebook or Whatsapp open when they’re about! On the plus side, your heart will melt when they start writing you little notes saying how much they love you.
16. The shame of having to sign in your child at the late door because you didn’t get to school on time. Kids arguing and refusing to put on shoes is a valid excuse for the Late Book, right?!
17. Closely followed by the shame of forgetting your child’s lunch box/PE kit/class project and having to make a mad dash home and back to school and hand it over to the school secretary.
18. That first school trip when you’ll be on tenterhooks all day worrying about your baby going off on a coach without you there. And their excitement when they come home and tell you all about it.
19. Trying to sound enthusiastic while your little one reads all those mind-numbingly boring school reading books – and feeling so proud when they can read to you with no help.
20. After school tea and play dates. The panic when your child goes to someone else’s house for the first time and the responsibility when one of their friends comes to yours.
21. The dilemma over term-time holidays and weighing up whether it’s worth getting fined for a holiday that’s half the price compared to one in the school holidays.
22. Wishing you’d made more of visiting all the big tourist attractions during term time – because everything is so busy during the school holidays.
23. The nativity play, school assembly, sports day, school disco. Grab the tissues! So many proud parent moments when your little one starts school.
24. Keeping track of school uniforms. Guaranteed you’ll pick up your child one day, they won’t have their school jumper/coat and you’ll spend the next week asking their teacher if it’s turned up yet. Or they’ll come home with someone else’s school jumper. Believe me when I say LABEL EVERYTHING! A boy in my daughter’s class once came home wearing one size 11 shoe and one size 12. Same design… different sizes. You can guarantee two-thirds of the class will have the same two or three pairs of Clarks shoes. At least with labels you have a better chance of everything making it home eventually!
And on the subject of labels… this post is sponsored by Labelplanet’s Stikins clothing labels.
With Miss E off to year two, Little Man off to reception and Toddler at Cylch Meithrin (Welsh language nursery), you can imagine how much stuff we have that needs name labels.
We’ve been busy sticking their fab all-purpose sticky name labels on everything.
The best thing for me is that the adhesive is strong enough you can easily stick them on to clothes without ironing. I admit with Little Miss E, I bought sew-on labels embroidered with her name because I wanted everything to be perfect.
Now though, with three sets of clothes and lunch boxes for three children all needing labelling, I’m way more realistic, not to mention pushed for time, and it’s stickers all the way. Even better if they are all-purpose ones.
Stikins name labels have been tested independently for 30 washes at 40 degrees, and are dishwasher and microwave safe, so perfect for lunch boxes and water bottles.
Their website makes it really easy to order online. Prices start from £6 for 30 Stikins labels, they are made and dispatched on the same day, and ours arrived the next day. Yes, it’s a little more expensive than writing names on clothing with a marker pen, especially if you have more than one child, but I love the convenience of the stickers and the fact they can be used on everything.
The design is simple, the print is clear, and the labels small enough that they’re not too obtrusive on items. Little Man has a real thing about labels itching him, but so far there have been no issues with these.
Sadly, Stickins can’t stop your children from misplacing things…. But at least you’ve got a good chance of it all being returned!
This post is sponsored by Stikins in assocation with Netmums Bloggers Network, but all opinions are my own.