20 December 2012

What I've learned - the first year of school

  • Buy two hats.
  • Buy more socks than you think you'll need, in one type only, so they're easy to match, for both you and the kid.
  • Label everything. They're going to lose stuff. And I mean EVERYTHING. I even labelled M's swimming cap and goggles with an indelible marker for swimming lessons at the beginning of the last term. She lost the cap... but it was returned, thanks to the name being there.
  • Be prepared to go through a few pairs of shoes. We're up to pair #3 and they're falling apart. These aren't the top of the range, but at $60 they're still up there.
  • Buy more drink bottles than you think you'll need.
  • Buy a big bag. That school kid is going to need to fit folders, books, library books and a whole load of stuff in there. Make sure it's supportive, but big.
  • Buy enough uniforms that you don't ned to wash every few days, if possible.
  • Practice packing lunch. We figured out that M couldn't easily open her squeezy yoghurts a few weeks in, so we just cracked the seal for her and she could then open it easily. I've made little snips on pre-packed bags of soy snacks just lately too.
  • The kid will bring home piles and piles and piles of art, craft, papers, books, papers, crafts... It is scary. Find a big box. File it. Take a photo and throw it out. Do something, and do it consistently. The amount of stuff is overwhelming.
  • Fill out permission slips, pay for shows, excersions and anything that costs money as soon as you get the note. Just do it, and send the note back the next day.
  • Get a big fat calendar with lots of space per day and write down all the important dates as soon as you get the. Seriously, do it. School terms, pupil free days, excursions, shows, parties, special dress up days, tuck shop days... There is so much going on and it is so easy to lose track of. For instance, we simply did not know there was a pupil free day in October and only discovered this on a Thursday night, with the pupil free day on the Monday.
  • Make connections with the other parents. These are going to be your people for a long time. Be open and non-judgemental, make an effort to chat and reach out. You'll see them at school, functions and birthday parties, so make it good and positive. There are some great parents out there, friends to make and they will help you out when you need it - I've had mums help M put her first tuckshop order in, other mums have offered to care for her over these school holidays for a day here and there.