How to survive your child’s first week at school

How to survive your child’s first week at school

Phew. We’ve made it to the end of Austin’s first week at school.

It’s been an up-down kind of week. Tears and tantrums all round. Everyone is shattered….but relieved. It wasn’t that bad. School is going to be great.

But maybe not that great. Just like life, really.


Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way.


Forget the clean, pressed uniform, with brand-new shoes

Yes, of course you need to make sure your child has smart clothes on their first day. But DO NOT expect them to stay like that.

Your child will be returned to you in a jumper encrusted with white blobs, and a shirt that’s been smeared with unintelligible brown stains (which you hope arrived there in the dinner hall, not the bathroom).

Oh, and those well-fitting shoes that cost you squillions? Scuffed to bits.


Smart haircut for starting school

Don’t. You’ll want your child to be recognised as a genius the moment they step through the door. But if you cut off their distinctive, unkempt Summer-locks, the only thing the teacher will see is a little boy who looks just the same as all the rest.

Except, he farts a lot.*


Teachers are just the same as they used to be

They’re programmed to give a good telling-off to anyone who breaks the rules, whether it’s pupils, siblings, or even Mum and Dad.

Five days in, and I’ve already been scolded twice. Once for taking a picture of Austin inside the classroom. And again for allowing my two-year-old to play unsupervised on the big climbing frame.

(Well, what do you expect? I was seeking solace in a semi-hysterical natter with some other bereft Mums. And there were plenty of squodgy six-year-olds around to break my daughter’s fall, anyway).

Teachers are the same…and so are you. When your child’s teacher wags a finger at you for parental naughtiness, you’ll instantly be transported back into your eight-year-old self. Were you a shrinking violet, always playing by the rules? Or a ‘f**k you’ type, flouncing out in a strop if you were caught misbehaving? Well, that’ll be you again, when your child’s teacher tells you off.

And it will happen.


Teacher is always right

Listen to teacher: you can natter with the other parents as much as you like. But do not take your eyes off your children in the playground.

My friend’s son was so excited by his first week at school, that he ran off. She eventually found him, trying to settle down for storytime with a load of year threes. And I had to call in the services of the executive and deputy heads on day three, when my daughter disappeared from the playground. She was discovered in a classroom, stuffing cutout numbers up her top.

That’ll be an after-school detention for Nell, then….


Yummy Mummy grooming

Even if you live in the glossiest part of la-la land, don’t bother too much with make-up in that first week. Not unless you want to end up with mascara leaving spidery tracks down your face, and a melange of snot and foundation hovering above your upper lip.

The blubbing comes unexpectedly. I thought I’d be in bits on Austin’s first day, like most of the other Mums around the school gates. But no, it was day three when it hit me.

He’s never coming back home for weekday lunches NO MORE EVER AGAIN.



The first full day your child spends at school is a time-Tardis. Six hours on the outside; thirty-six hours long in reality

What will you do with all that extra time? The only possible way to deal with the dilemma, is to make lists of all the things you’ll do in the hours at your disposal.

And then, by the end of the week, you’ll realise that you’re actually only doing the same amount of stuff as you were before. Except now you have time to make lists as well.


*this was the feedback I was given about Austin on day three.


How was your child’s first week at school?


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  1. September 12, 2014 / 6:40 am

    Awww… This made me chuckle a lot. I’m a parent of a three year old who started Nursery School this week, but also a teacher… So your post made me chuckle… Mainly because I’ve been in both sides of those conversations! Lol. Enjoy your Tardis time!

    • September 12, 2014 / 9:39 am

      I don’t know how you teachers do it! It must be a huge task, inducting a load of drooling 4-year-olds into the school routine. And managing all those distraught parents too!

  2. September 12, 2014 / 7:27 am

    I loved reading these tips , you are right its better thst your child looks like they fit in with others rather than make them stand out.

  3. September 12, 2014 / 9:26 am

    Haha I needed this advice before they went back! I can’t find my sons as they have the matching haircuts- and yes they all look the same.

    Oh dear at taking photos – you will have other parents moaning lol.

    • September 12, 2014 / 9:38 am

      Yes, I felt pretty chastised. But I made VERY sure it was only my son in the shot – he looked so cute, playing with the new toys!

  4. September 12, 2014 / 11:03 am

    Brilliant post! My twins started last week and it wasn’t long before the beautiful ironed uniform was a mess!

  5. September 12, 2014 / 11:56 am

    Oh Lord, not looking forward to being told off again. It seems like 5 minutes ago I was last part of the education system (but it was 20 years!!) I have a year to prepare….

  6. September 12, 2014 / 1:12 pm

    Yes. Yes. Yes to the messy uniform. We already have one pair of trousers with a knee missing after an enthusiastic game of football and don’t get me started on the encrusted blobs of glue/paint/playdoh every single day!

  7. September 12, 2014 / 1:19 pm

    Great post! I used to have a little one that ran off and joined other classrooms too! I have learned that I get the boys hair cut at the beginning of the holidays and then once they have started!

    Come and link up to my back to school link up

    • September 12, 2014 / 5:32 pm

      Aha, that’s a great idea! I’ll do that in future….

  8. September 12, 2014 / 1:48 pm

    This is a brilliant post. I still have a few years till I get told off by the teacher, but I will make sure I re-read this post. And I can’t believe you got that kind of feedback, that is very weird. I guess it’s one more point to prove teachers will always be teachers.

  9. September 12, 2014 / 3:50 pm

    Ha I did chuckle at this.. my nephew lasted half a day before scuffing his shoes x

  10. September 12, 2014 / 4:18 pm

    When my daughter started school the other mothers thought I was mad to buy so much uniform until it came to day three and they had nothing clean left!

  11. September 12, 2014 / 7:10 pm

    Little A started reception last week and so far is loving it, and like you, I can’t quite believe the state of her shoes already! She finally starts full time next week – what will I do? Probably write is what I’ll do! X

  12. September 12, 2014 / 9:43 pm

    Fantastic tips! Thank you

    My middle child started school this week and it’s taking some getting used to for both him and me! lol

  13. September 12, 2014 / 10:10 pm

    Mine aren’t at school but I can imagine it would be such an emotional rollercoaster if they were. Funny post.

  14. September 13, 2014 / 6:06 pm

    mine don’t go to school, great tips though!

  15. September 13, 2014 / 6:24 pm

    yes, scuffed shoes, I was well miffed! Only been 3 days for us, another week of half days then half day with lunch, they really are easing them in slowly here! – I already have a list of retorts ready ๐Ÿ™‚
    ps I took photos of mine when the teacher wasn’t looking on the first day ha!

  16. September 14, 2014 / 6:11 pm

    Oh Dear God this entertaining back to school post has made mine seem so clinical and boring ho ho ho. Enjoyed every slapstick bit of this BRILLIANT. I better keep a tight reign on Aaron so he doesn’t run into a different classroom. I kept his curls so no problems there, but I did do the natter to a Mum thing while he climbed on a climbing frame and WAS told off by the teacher AND the teacher’s assistant. On the same day? Nope! On different days as I did it twice. Yes my shame was enough to make me want to run and not come back, but my goody two shoes has me turning back up there at 08:45 again the next day LOL. It does transform you right back to your younger self though you are SO right xx

  17. September 14, 2014 / 6:24 pm

    ha ha great tips! I have 2 at school the last is at home for 2 more years…I’ll be a wreck when it’s his turn to go!

  18. September 14, 2014 / 7:47 pm

    Aww this is a lovely post. And you’re right…teacher’s are always right and telly-offy….the massive pains in the behind – I’m married to one ha ha ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  19. September 14, 2014 / 11:08 pm

    It has been tough time adjusting back to school. And it’s not even that my son is just going to the school for the first time. He’s on his last year of elementary school. But still, first week after vacations is tough.

  20. September 15, 2014 / 5:30 am

    Eliza adored her first week at school…..lets hope it continues

  21. September 15, 2014 / 8:17 am

    This did make me chuckle. My son’s first week of school was many moons ago now, but I remember feeling a whole mix of emotions. Now he’s not far of leaving, which is a whole other set of emotions again ๐Ÿ™

  22. September 15, 2014 / 1:32 pm

    Ha ha this really made me laugh Nell – so much to comment on! It’s true that the first day or so feels so ridiculously long but trust me, those 6 hours go by in the blink of an eye a few years in! Loving the farting comment – how shameful! I’m still not good at taking criticism from teachers (def not when it’s about my child – see my post tomorrow!). Hope he has a great first year x x

    • September 16, 2014 / 5:51 am

      Ha ha I think the teacher commented on Austin’s farting out of concern rather than criticism, but it tickled me – his first bit of individual feedback! He did get a certificate yesterday though, for good listening etc *beams with pride*

  23. VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood
    September 16, 2014 / 1:42 pm

    Oh dear! And I thought I was past the scolding stage:) This post has come just in time as we brace for J’s first day of nursery school (so not even full time) in a couple of days’ time. x

  24. becky
    September 22, 2014 / 10:13 pm

    Actually made me laugh out loud. Mine are much older than yours now but takes me back!

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