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Now that LP is nearly six and has been at school for a couple of years, her first day seems like such a long time ago. I remember getting her uniform ready the night before and helping her to put it on in the morning – even an age 3-4 sweatshirt swamping her petite frame. She was a handful of days past her fourth birthday and looked so little – but so grown up in the uniform, all at the same time.
LP was so excited for school, she was so outgoing and confident with so much love for other people – wanting to be everyone’s friend and wanting to take care of everyone. That first day I took her to school, standing on the buggy board with her brother in the pushchair. She took her drinks bottle and book bag from me and didn’t have so much as a backward glance – she just wanted to be big, and to be at school with her friends.
My own first day at school was so different. I remember getting dressed into my summer dress – blue and white checks – and my older brother getting ready too. I had socks up to my knees, little glasses on and my hair in pigtails – much the same as LP has now.
We walked to school together and I remember walking into the playground in my uniform for the first time, not in my normal clothes that I’d wear when dropping my brother off but in uniform – a fully fledged school girl at last!
But the playground was empty. I thought we were late but no, my mum had got the days wrong and I didn’t start school until the next day. There was no-one there to see me in my uniform for that very first time and I didn’t need the lunch my mum had packed for me. Instead, we walked all the way home and I remember being just so sad. I was as excited as LP to start school and to be all grown up with my friends – but I had to wait another day, which is an eternity when you’re four.
This September Little Man starts school. He’ll be going through that same routine of getting dressed into his uniform, having breakfast and grabbing his book bag and drinks bottle before standing in front of the hedge for me to take a photo. He’ll have shiny new shoes on and a sweatshirt that will swamp him. He’ll look so grown up and I’ll be so emotional – my youngest starting school.
But Little Man is so ready. He has the same confidence that LP had and is excited to be going to the same school as her, being able to choose his lunch and eat it with his friends by his side. So when it comes to his turn to start school I won’t let him see that I’m emotional – it’s not a sad day for him but instead one of the most exciting.
We’ll also be preparing for that day through the summer, talking about starting school, buying his new uniform together and even labelling everything with help from him and his sister. The first day of school is such a big day not just for the children but for parents too. But, from previous experience I know that as long as Little Man is confident about school, by being as prepared as he can be, then everything will be okay.
If your child is preparing for their first day of school in September I can imagine how you are feeling right now. The best advice I can give is to just be there, talk to your children and get them ready – have a fashion show in their new uniform and prepare them as much as you can. But if it doesn’t go to plan, then that’s ok too. The children will hardly remember that first day of school and all you’ll remember in the end is that little boy or girl all grown up in their new uniform.
It’s ok to be sad, our babies are growing up so fast. But really, it’s all going to be fine – and they will love the new adventure that September will bring. But, if you’re still worried and would like advice from people that have seen it all before then M&S have asked teachers about the first day of school and some of the things they remember from their years of teaching. Their memories and little stories from school show that really they have seen it all before.
September will be here before we know it and I know that whether Little Man’s hair sticks up at the back, if his shoes are scuffed before we go through the school gates or if he smuggles toys in with his PE Kit – it’s all going to be ok.