My first born who is four years old will be starting school soon. It dawned on me that all these years spending time with her between home and nursery will change, time which I have taken for granted.
I wouldn’t be able to take her out and about during the week, I wouldn’t be able to do activities with her and her little sister together and I also wouldn’t be able to go travelling with her whenever we felt like it.
Aside all this I knew she was going to have a big change in her life and starting a school which isn’t local to her nursery meant she will be unfamiliar with every single person in her classroom. So I decided to plan a few days out with her to do a few fun activities, spoil her a little and go on little adventures into central London so she could start her new school feeling loved, supported and confident in herself.
Her first theatre experience. Adapted from the lovable children’s book. I heard about this from a friend and we managed to get tickets booked for us at a discounted rate from an amazing organisation called CBD. The production was an hour long and full of children and babies of all ages. We were thoroughly entertained throughout.
We went on a weekday morning and made the most of being in central London. It was sandwiched between shopping trips in stationery and arts and craft shops for school supplies such as:
The flagship Paperchase store on Tottenham Court Road which has 3 floors of endless stationery to browse through;
London Graphics Arts Centre which is in Covent Garden, the stock here focuses more on products for art students but we still managed to get in a lovely little hoard of goodies; and
Artbox Covent Garden which is full of Kawaii cuteness galore and will delight any little girl’s passion for hello kitty and the Sanrio family.
On another day I wanted to plan a day out for a very fancy afternoon tea. I was in two minds about whether to choose the Sanderson for the Mad hatters afternoon tea or the Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea in Taj hotel. After going through the pictures online I went for the latter, I knew Mimi would be delighted with the presentation. I recommend booking in advance as they do get booked up quite quickly. When we arrived we were directed through to the Kona Restaurant which was all set up beautifully ready for afternoon tea guests. At this time Mimi was already asking for lunch and wanted beans on toast but little did she know the treat she was in for as I had kept it all a surprise. Just to see her face light up when the sweet treats arrived made my day and I felt pretty pleased with myself for organising something for just me and her to enjoy and to have this quality time together which is so rare when you have more than one child. I find it so important to give each child time like this just so that they feel confident and special in their own right.
Here are also a few tips on what to do during the holidays leading up to the first day of school.
Follow The Mummy Tutor – Instagram
I am not just recommending her just because she is a good friend, the tips that she has put up for new school starters have been a godsend. Her content and insta stories are positively inspirational and for someone who had absolutely no idea about what I was doing with my child starting school (we missed her induction day due to our travels out in the far east), she was a major help in getting me clued up in getting my child prepared. Aside that she is also a school teacher, has two young children of her own and regularly posts educational and fun content.
Books for starting school
I usually purchase books by recommendation and these again were recommended by the above (follow her on @themummytutor) which I bought in a heartbeat from Amazon. You can search for cheaper books on there and buy second hand so you aren’t spending a fortune.
- Stuff to know when your kids start school
- Starting school by all time favourite Allan Ahlberg
- Starting school workbook ages 3-5
Remember to label your child’s uniform. I used a company called Petite Ferdinand which is reasonably priced and take a week to deliver. However, if you would like to cut costs and time just use a sharpie to write in your child’s name in to the inside of each garment. You don’t need to spend a fortune on uniform either. We purchased from Sainsbury’s and most large supermarkets will have cost effective uniform options. As well as M&S and Next. Just remember its not the end of the world if you don’t have everything on time or get it a little wrong in the first few weeks.
Join groups or create one.
I already have a local Facebook group for mums and chums which is a great hub for parents to share info about the school and was also how I got added to a parents WhatsApp group. All of which have been massively helpful and informative.
So what happened on the first day…?
I never thought the first of starting primary school was a big deal really. I had mummies spark conversations all through the summer holidays with regards to how nervous they are about their child and for the big change. I took it all in my stride and was actually nonchalant about her new chapter but began panicking in the last week. I frantically started to make the most of the time remaining free time with her. Taking her out made me recognise how emotionally attached I am to her without even realising. I find my maternal instincts on a whole quite emotionally balanced and my parenting style pragmatic. Each action I take whether its from discipline techniques to what foods I give them has been considered for potential negative knock on effects it may have in the future. I am firm and strict with discipline and routine and have never let emotions get in the way of that. I have never been the type of parent to co sleep with my children. So to then be overcome with this vulnerable feeling, I was really surprised with myself. I actually found the entire week quite physically and emotionally exhausting.
So her first day at school arrives and I have had her practising changing her clothes. I have her practising getting in and out of her uniform and PE kit and also learning to unbuckle and buckle her shoes so she is able to do this in school independently. When the time comes to leave the house, she’s perfectly ready. We take the obligatory photo of her posing by the front door and we are off. Her teacher calls her name at the main entrance and she waves me goodbye with an uncertain look on her face and it is this look of not knowing what to expect that has me struggling to hold the tears from rolling down my cheeks. I somehow manage to keep myself from hysterics and leave to enjoy the rest of the day and make the most of my childfree day.
Details aside, the most important thing was that she came home that day, a happy and excited protagonist in her new story. . . . .