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What do you wish you knew before your child started school?


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#1 Brienne

Posted 23 November 2018 - 06:39 PM

My daughter is starting prep next year. It’s a big change in our lives, so I thought I would ask, what did you wish you knew before your child started school?

Any tips to make it easier on us?

We will be using some after school care, before school care and vacation care.

Suggested by another mum, I was considering taking a weeks holiday off the first week of school to get her and us settled into a routine. Not sure if this will help.

#2 born.a.girl

Posted 23 November 2018 - 06:46 PM

That it's tiring.

By term four they can become really ratty.

TBH, depending on the child, I'd probably save my time off for later in the year during the holidays so she can veg out at home.

#3 qak

Posted 23 November 2018 - 06:52 PM

Check with the school, some do part days in the first week or two, either to get them used to it, or to assess them.

My friend's DS only had 1/2 day of school in the first week!

#4 Brienne

Posted 23 November 2018 - 06:54 PM

Thanks. Maybe i’ll just take the first day off.
I work long hours and I don’t really want her to have to go to before and after school care on her first day.

#5 seayork2002

Posted 23 November 2018 - 06:56 PM

I dropped DS off in the morning and picked him up in the afternoon. Why would you need a whole week off? (Sorry if i missed something but i am not sure what it would be for?)

#6 Brienne

Posted 23 November 2018 - 06:59 PM

 seayork2002, on 23 November 2018 - 06:56 PM, said:

I dropped DS off in the morning and picked him up in the afternoon. Why would you need a whole week off? (Sorry if i missed something but i am not sure what it would be for?)

I work long hours. Inhave to drop her off at 7:15am and can’t pick her up until 5:30pm. I can’t take a half day, it’s all or nothing.

So it makes for a very long first day and also she would have to go to before and after school care.
I thought taking the first week off might mean an 8:44-2:45 day for the first week would be much easier for her to settle.

#7 Elizabethandfriend

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:00 PM

That it takes more than a term to really adjust to being a 'school' family.  Its an adjustment for everyone, not just the preppie.  And yes, they get VERY tired.

#8 Charli73

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:05 PM

I’ve had a child start prep the last two years running..

I usually take a few weeks off work to get the kids settled in to a new class and it was a great opportunity to meet the other prep parents in the first few weeks, a couple of coffee dates were organised etc .. the kids were doing half days for the first week and only 4 days a week all Feb.

I love this time of the year and so glad I made the effort to meet the other parents, as it’s great to have someone extra that can pick up my child if I’m running late etc or do a drop off for me if I have to start work early..

Another thing I wasn’t ready for was all the handouts and notices that came home in the first month, make sure you have a pin board or somewhere to put them all when they first come home!!

Edited by Charli73, 23 November 2018 - 07:05 PM.


#9 Brienne

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:08 PM

 Charli73, on 23 November 2018 - 07:05 PM, said:

I’ve had a child start prep the last two years running..

I usually take a few weeks off work to get the kids settled in to a new class and it was a great opportunity to meet the other prep parents in the first few weeks, a couple of coffee dates were organised etc .. the kids were doing half days for the first week and only 4 days a week all Feb.

I love this time of the year and so glad I made the effort to meet the other parents, as it’s great to have someone extra that can pick up my child if I’m running late etc or do a drop off for me if I have to start work early..

Another thing I wasn’t ready for was all the handouts and notices that came home in the first month, make sure you have a pin board or somewhere to put them all when they first come home!!

Thanks, some great advice in there.
I only work 4 days (long hours), and I can’t take a few weeks off work, but I definitely want to make sure to network with other mums during drop off and pick up on my day off.

#10 mayahlb

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:09 PM

That term 4 is a special kind of hell with tired kids.

Don’t go all fancy on the lunch boxes, they generally won’t eat it

That every kid is different so don’t get caught up with how they are going with their reading. As long as they are improving that’s what matters.

Expect lost hats. And lunch boxes. And drink bottles.

Sometimes hanging around in the morning to help settle them can actually make things much worse.

Mornings can suck. Try to be as organised as possible.

They will always sleep in on school days if they want to sleep in and wake at dawn on the weekends.

Naps are a good thing to introduce to exhausted prep kids

Other parents have the strangest hang ups about other people’s kids

Edited by mayahlb, 23 November 2018 - 08:07 PM.


#11 seayork2002

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:09 PM

 Brienne, on 23 November 2018 - 06:59 PM, said:



I work long hours. Inhave to drop her off at 7:15am and can’t pick her up until 5:30pm. I can’t take a half day, it’s all or nothing.

So it makes for a very long first day and also she would have to go to before and after school care.
I thought taking the first week off might mean an 8:44-2:45 day for the first week would be much easier for her to settle.

Ok, it was needed for DS bit all kids are different

#12 born.a.girl

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:13 PM

How flexible is your work?


I was thinking that if you could take the odd day off, when it looked like the wheels were about to fall off it might be beneficial.

ETA: Ah I see that you work four days, so at least there will be one day a week of shorter days for her.  


Edited by born.a.girl, 23 November 2018 - 07:17 PM.


#13 Serenity Now

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:17 PM

Earlier bedtime is very helpful! Also the occasionally mental health day for them - all our teachers have been very supportive of these.

#14 Charli73

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:17 PM

Also they will probably ask for parents to help with things like reading and canteen so if you only have Wednesday off let the school know and maybe organise a working with children’s check too, just google it.

I work 4 days too, I love walking to school and back on Wednesday’s too, I think having a chance to check in with the teacher too and ask any questions and a quick “how is child going” is great..

I agree with the lost hats! Second hand uniform shop comes in handy!

Edited by Charli73, 23 November 2018 - 07:18 PM.


#15 Mose

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:21 PM

That just because the school says something is "expected" doesn't actually mean you have to get on board.

I'm looking at you baking for fairs, morning teas etc...

#16 easy-as-1-2-3

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:21 PM

It can take a while to get into the rhythm of things, so go easy.

I also took the advice of no extra after school activities for at least the first term or two. Not talking about ASC which is usually unavoidable, but no extras like swimming or gym or music straight after a full day at school. Depends on the kid, but mine got very tired just with going to school every day of the week.

#17 Seven of Nine

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:22 PM

In my experience, my kids' school has been a great place to meet friends. Don't worry too much about drop off and pick up, you'll not be the only ones who use OOSH and travel into work and you may well find that the other parents are commuting with you.

If you can, building a community with the other parents can be very beneficial. You can help each other out with holiday care, pick ups when someone is running late, babysitting, and of course friendship.

#18 No Drama Please

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:27 PM

School mums can be fun and not scary!

Play dates are not compulsory, just do them when you’re ready.

Secondhand uniform shops are awesome!

The school years can actually be a lot of fun, even for parents.

I’m a total introvert and assumed I’d hate it when they started school but I’ve met heaps of fun and friendly parents. With everyone having kids the same age and living in the same neighbourhood it’s actually been awesome.

#19 AsperHacker

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:42 PM

My kindy starter starts on Thursday next year so only 2 days before the weekend. I wouldnt be taking time off for that.

None of my kids do any extra curricular in their FYOS. It's just too tiring. DD4 is already struggling with 3 days of preschool and 2 hours of kindy orientation. The tiredness late in the year never gets better. We're all done at the moment, including me and DD nearly 13. As per pps, if you want to take time off do it in term 4.

Otherwise... just run with it. Dont get stressed, just enjoy this new phase.

#20 Freddie'sMum

Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:59 PM

She will be tired, OP. Very, very tired and overwhelmed by the end of each term.

This may sound silly but I bought our kids lots of plastic lunch boxes with these little fiddly handles and clips they they couldn't get open !!  Our kids are much older now and I only buy lunch boxes that have zips.  So much easier to open and close.  So check she can open and close her own lunch boxes, water bottles, any kind of food containers you use.

#21 Whattothink

Posted 23 November 2018 - 08:06 PM

I wish I’d been told not to worry so much.
Learning difficulty identification aside  - they all learn at their own pace and they will all find their groove.
Yes and the tiredness - don’t schedule too much in the afternoon.
Enjoy it - exciting time!

#22 ~J_F~

Posted 23 November 2018 - 08:15 PM

You dont have to become part of the school community if you dont want too. Its perfectly ok to just send your kid to be educated. This DOES NOT mean that you dont value their educated, no matter how much people try to put you down because of it!!!

Use the teachers, as a good one is worth their weight in gold but dont abuse them, they have a whole class to deal with and other kids will need more then yours and thats ok.

Most of all try not to just roll with it and not stress the small stuff too much. Its a long time between them starting and graduating and you dont want to burn out in the first couple of years.

#23 ipsee

Posted 23 November 2018 - 08:21 PM

Don't buy expensive drink bottles, lunch boxes and hats, as they seem to disappear.

#24 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 23 November 2018 - 08:21 PM

Actually these days you may not get paper notices but email/app/ website notices and links.

I would suggest setting up a gmail account which you use for school stuff only so you don’t get bogged down and miss things. Update whatever calendar you use immediately with dates as they come in.

I also find having a schedule of the kids week (I make it in spreadsheets and print and put on fridge ) with what dsys they need library/sports/other activity stuff very helpful.... although that may be more helpful because I have 3.

Don’t stress.

#25 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 23 November 2018 - 08:23 PM

Label everything to the nth degree. I will report that over 3 kids now grades 3/5/7 the only things to ever go missing were some sports socks once where only 1 came home. DS2 is still using the same banana box he had in 3yo Kinder.




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