Lily starts reception in September and we have already been thinking about and planning Back To School; as I am sure most of you have too. We’ve been buying uniform, buying name labels and sticking them on just about everything and anything we think might make its way to school as we learnt from nursery that lots of things can and will go missing if not labelled properly – we learned a lot from Lily’s time in nursery.
I think the most important thing we learned is that, like most children, Lily can get easily stressed in the mornings; particularly if she feels rushed or hurried. We learned that once you are late, things go from bad to worse even quicker. We’ve all been there: the hat that you can’t find seems to be hiding for eternity, the sun cream you are trying to put on explodes everywhere and you now have to clean the floor too to make sure no-one slips over. The child then starts panicking about being late for school and you start panicking about them being late for school and then you also being late for work. You both arrive at the school gates stressed; adrenaline still pumping from the last minute running to make it just about on time. This used to set us both up for a bad day, quite the opposite to 99% of our other nursery runs which were calm and relaxed…
This was because we learned that we liked to plan ahead, we liked to leave early and we liked to spend time together to chat about our upcoming day ahead, to play games and to have some special mummy and daughter time where the only focus is on our leisurely walk.
Learning through the nursery run that a relaxed morning and a relaxed walk to school sets up both up for a better and more relaxed day has been the biggest learning experience and definitely one which I will be bringing to our school run. We’ve been thinking and planning a lot for our new stress free school run routine for September. We like to think and plan in advance. I work out what time she absolutely needs to be at school to be on time – then add on 15 minutes and this is the time I would actually like to get to school. I then add on another 15 minutes for the 5-minute walk to school. Then we also have a list of games that we can play along the way and a list of school run essentials for a stress-free morning.
SCHOOL RUN ESSENTIALS FOR A STRESS FREE WALK TO SCHOOL:
Firstly, we need to make sure that we always take some Kleenex Tissues for the walk to school – again this is something that we have learned the hard way through Lily’s time at nursery. One day we were walking along with plenty of time to spare and Lily was chatting away to her friend and playing chase. Lily then tripped over her own feet (as kids seem to have the ability to do!) and grazed both her knees and hands badly. She wasn’t crying from pain, she was crying because she wanted me to clean her up. Unfortunately, we were completely unprepared for this accident and I had absolutely nothing with me that would do the job. As bad luck would have it we literally in the middle of school and home so neither place was going to be quick to get to – typical!
We spent the last few minutes of the walk with Lily screaming, we got so many looks of sympathy from other parents – no-one judged, they have all been there. We’ve all had that bad day where it all goes wrong. We arrived at the school gate & I explained what happened to the nursery teacher and they said they would take Lily inside and clean her all up for me. I have vowed to always take a clean packet of Kleenex on the school run since then! If I’d just been able to clean her up then she would’ve been happy – epic mum fail – cue all the mum guilt! Tissues will come in handy for other things too, like the endless amount of bogeys a child can generate in winter and the many sobs we are all expecting at the school gates on the first day of term from parents and kids alike (when did my baby get so big? sob, sob).
Lily will be trialling school dinners from September as they are free for the first two years in school for everyone and I think with the school day being so long this will set up her better than a packed lunchbox would. However, there are some days in the 3 week school meal timetable that Lily will not like any of the meals on the menu, so we need to make sure that on those days we take a packed lunch with us.
We also need to make sure that we have a book bag filled with completed homework & reading diary’s (I am one of the lucky ones whose child used to run in from nursery shouting “yay, homework!” – pretty sure this won’t last much longer!). We need to remember Lily’s PE kit twice a week in reception. In the winter we need to remember scarf, hat and gloves and in the summer, we need to remember sun hat, glasses and sun cream.
A scooter or a bike to ride to school can be fun, or even a doll to push in a pram.
GAMES TO PLAY FOR A STRESS FREE WALK TO SCHOOL:
Games are great for children; not only are they a fun way to learn, but they also give an opportunity to take their mind off anything troubling them. I know Lily will be nervous on those first few walks to school and I have a stack of games prepared to make sure that we can make the walk as fun as possible.
I Spy – This classic guessing game needs no introduction and has been a childhood favourite since long before I was born. It is one of Lily’s favourite games to play on the walk to school.
How Many – Lily loves playing ‘How Many’. “How many cats do you think we will see on the way today Lily” or “How many birds do you think we will see”. They are simple questions, but they spark her intrigue. She loves to guess and then count how many we find – she also likes to chat to all the cats and birds she spots, wishing them a good morning etc!
Scavenger Hunt – Scavenger Hunts can be a great way to occupy a child on the walk to school. Simply download a scavenger hunt sheet for the appropriate season/time of year and then take a pen so they can tick off everything they spot. Lily really enjoys this one.
Collecting Things – Kids love examining and collecting things. If we give Lily a magnifying glass and some binoculars to explore things with and a little pot to collect different things in and she is in her element; her face lights up. This is definitely another one you need the Kleenex to hand as they do get a little messy!
Walk Like A – Have a stack of ideas so that you can change what they ‘walk like’ quite often. Walk like a princess, walk like a bear, pretend you have jelly legs, and my personal favourite trick when we need to walk a little faster ‘walk like you are in a marching band’. Just stay away from walk like a snail unless you have a shed load of time!
If, like me, you have a little one starting school in September then I hope this post has given you some great ideas for a stress morning. I hope you can arrive at your desk or home after the school run with a smile on your face and think that went well. I hope your little one settles well and makes lots of friends. Lastly, I hope you remember your Kleenex – you will definitely need it one way or another!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Kleenex®