Starting primary school; six things that completely surprised me

September 19, 2016

Is your child just starting primary school? How’s it going? It’s been a roller coaster over here. All the emotions, all at once; tears, frenzied anticipation, panic, joy, more tears – and obviously that was just from me.

Starting primary school - six things that completely surprised me

We are only four days down so it’s early days – and we’ve not even done a full day yet, or even stayed for lunch! – but it’s going well and someone loves school so much they’re itching to go back for a second week.

School brings with it a steep learning curve…mostly for parents, right? And I have learned a lot in this short period. Mainly that it is possible for us to be up and dressed early and leave the house on time. How long will this last for? On that note, having a school that is about two minutes away is really handy. Walking to walk to school is lovely. And also, quick.

So following my recent recognition about timings and this, here’s some other school-based-realisations about a whole load of things I didn’t expect at all from the start of primary school:

  1. The first day is a BIG event, everyone knows that, and it is. There’s all the build up, labelling frenzy and worry. Then on the day itself you’re up early, there is photo taking and tears, gearing yourself up, dropping them off…but then five minutes later you have to pick them up again. There’s barely enough time to breathe into a paper bag, let alone have ten cups of tea and a strategic sit down. The phased start really is a phased start; it’s a marathon to the first full day and definitely not a sprint. But relief, even with a full day, it’s an early finish – so there’s still plenty of time for all these
  2. The wondrous wisdom of other mums prepared me for starting primary school making children tired and ever-so-slightly over-emotional, but I had no idea how *hungry* it would make them. So. Very. Hungry. We’ve had school gate snacks, stop-gap snacks and then a hundred mini and maxi meals in between. Then there was the legendary day of three full lunches…
  3. Warning – taking your child to school can make you feel funny about the passing of time. I can remember my first day so how can I possibly have a school-age child now? And it’s hard to shake the sense that you will be called into the head’s office and told off for something (probably uniform! I was told it was winter uniform from September so didn’t buy a summer dress. Of course there was a heatwave and everyone was in dresses. So I panic bought a dress and it was the wrong pattern. Like Jon Snow, I know nothing). Also when did indoor shoes stop being a ‘thing’? Did anyone else’s school have these?
  4. You’re scared they won’t like it. So then it’s slightly surprising when they like it SO much they get upset when it’s the weekend (this is good, I won’t be sad. I know)
  5. I hadn’t realised how the first child starting school would make the second child so sad. The most upsetting thing on the first day was her anguished reaction when her sister walked into the classroom without her. Although it’s lovely to spend some solo time together, even if it’s mostly spent fielding ‘When’s my sister coming back?’ questions
  6. Starting primary school makes your child seems so unexpectedly big, all of a sudden. And so incredibly grown up in their uniform. But they’re still your baby and the absolute best part of the day is pick-up, when they run towards you across the playground…

So that’s starting primary school, done. But seriously, how many more years?

More posts…things they definitely DON’T tell you in NCT classes (but probably should), 25 gifts the internet has given parenting and two things for mums to know about tantrums


  • ZMS

    October 4, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    This is such a lovely post. I agree with every single point. My daughter has just started school too. Tired, happy, soo hungry. Mum aka me wiping tears at the gate, wondering why she’s the only one not wearing the summer uniform 😛

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