Top tips for surviving your kids first day at big school!

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So, cometh the hour…. i have purchased every size and shape of easy to open tupperware available, i have ironed / sewed and stuck name labels into everything in sight in fact, i am surprised i haven’t actually labelled Bea herself! I have read and re read the uniform list endeavouring to ensure that MY BABY will have everything she possibly could need for her FIRST DAY AT BIG SCHOOL (its as though the shops will close next week and i will never be able to buy a school item ever again until next summer!)

Obviously, as a newbie to this experience myself, i am not that qualified yet to impart my wisdom about leaving your tiny charge at the gates of hell / oops sorry, the gates of their beautiful, perfect place of education… so, with the help of a few other articles i have read (duly referenced of course!) i thought i would try to prepare a little guide to help us all before dawn breaks on the BEGINNING OF THE REST OF THEIR LIVES (am i over thinking this?!)

This is hopefully as relevant to little ones starting nursery as it is reception 

1 – TALK but don’t over talk! 

We have tried to talk quite a lot to Bea about school. How much i enjoyed my time at school (she is going to the same one as i did… very strange feeling!) what might happen when she is there, who she might meet etc. There are a couple of quite good books around – Topsy and Tim or the Usborne first experiences books are great too. We did however go into overdrive a bit at the end of her nursery term when she was doing her induction few hours and i found myself banging on about big school a bit too much and she was very much over it before it began! 

2 – The clothes 

Bea has been dressing up in her uniform quite a lot this summer and loves it. I have no doubt that the novelty of wearing the same thing every day will soon wear off for my little girl who usually has more wardrobe changes than Cher in a day but at the moment she loves it (and all its name labels!) On the subject of labels – i got my ones from they seemed to be the cheapest on the net and they do dishwasher proof ones and iron in ones. Then i went to JSSK up at Les Quennevais and they had cheaper…. think twice, buy local and all that!

3 – Wake up (us not the kids!)

We have tried to slowly move our wake up time forward so that we are up and dressed ready to get the girls ready in time for the biggest change in our lives… the school run! Hopefully being as well prepared as poss will help – lunch already made / breakfast bits ready to go on the table etc

4 – The journey

This is the bit i am scared about – for the past two years i have been lucky enough to walk a whole mammoth 5 minutes round the corner to take Bea to nursery! It has been a blissful and terribly Enid Blyton start to her life in education really! Now, as we take the big financial leap to take her to school in town, i have to man up to the fact i will now (as will poor Freya!) have to endure the traffic every morning. I have talked to lots of other mums and dads about the best route etc and hopefully won’t get lost in my first week!


Hey, its not only me who is ruled by my stomach, lovely Bea loves her grub too! She had packed lunches at nursery so this isn’t too huge a change for us but giving her a healthy packed lunch that is going to fill her up has become a bit of an obsession. We have had fun experimenting away from her favourite of ham sandwiches too – wraps, pasta salads, tuna and sweetcorn, egg mayo…. i think there is a whole blog just on this one subject! Who knows, in a month or so’s time i might be perfectly happy pulling some fake cheese and crackers out of my fridge but certainly the routine of always remembering to have bread in the house will be a good start!

6 – The Goodbye

When Bea started at nursery, the (awesome) manager of Silver Star Caroline, emailed round this fabulous article titled Parting is such sweet sorrow – can you say goodbye without tears. Its a lovely little article focussed on inventing a way to say goodbye to your little one without them clinging to you like a limpet or crying their eyes out. I tried with Bea at nursery always to say a proper goodbye but never to linger too long and it worked. The teachers are always there for a chat at pick up time too so until Bea is settled, i am definitely going to try to make a fairly swift but loving goodbye (and yes, i will then cry myself all the way home!)

7 – The rest of life…

Yes, i know they will all be super tired for a while as we all settle into this new way of life but personally, i think it would be stranger if we stopped doing certain things so, i have booked her back into swimming and gym her two loves of the moment and in a blink of an eye it will be Autumn and the nights will be getting darker earlier and these first few tentative days will seem like a distant memory. 

I don’t know about you but it feels like i have spent every waking moment (and a few fretful not so awake ones too) thinking about my little Bea starting this amazing journey. 

For us here in Jersey, it feels like its more than just school. We are a lovely small little island with a (mostly) tight knit community. Starting school can also mean you are making and meeting lifelong friends and who knows – husbands and wives even! For us parents, perhaps it is a bit more intense – our kids friends might be work colleagues kids, neighbours grandchildren etc so our lives become further entwined (what do you do if you don’t like your kids new friends?!) 

So, i didn’t manage 10 top tips… only 7 and i hope they have helped someone out there. Please, if you have any to help me do write them in the comments box below!

It will be so so interesting to see how this little road is going to be travelled – i can’t believe from those early months wondering what i had done to produce this beautiful yet noisy child, i now find myself handing her, my gorgeous but shy little just four year old, over to full time education. 

Someone else will know more about her than i do in so many ways and that is a very very strange thing to process. I am also having panic attacks about what i am going to wear, if the other mummies will want to be my friend and if they will all look like supermodels on their way to work as i wipe Freyas breakfast off my bleach stained t-shirt but again…. i might have to write a whole other post about those thoughts!

Kleenex at the ready…. tomorrow is going to be a BIG DAY……

PS – don’t forget to take a photo 🙂 

Post Author: Sarah Thorogood

3 thoughts on “Top tips for surviving your kids first day at big school!


    (September 4, 2012 - 8:43 pm)

    Good luck for tomorrow! My son starts big school too, and I’m sure the transition in many ways is, and will be harder for us than it will be for them 😉


    (September 5, 2012 - 6:57 pm)

    I have always found that the longer I stay in the class the harder my child takes it when I leave. If I can get in and out quickly it is much easier for her. Vicky from

    Mum on the Rock

    (September 5, 2012 - 8:14 pm)

    Thanks Vicky – i definitely agree! Today, i did a pretty swift departure and Bea was fine but i could see a few others in the room wavering and their kids worrying…. well, it worked today, tomorrows another day!

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