1. Cry and Panic
I found my children starting school to be super traumatic. I wept continuously. I kept holding them and sniffing their heads saying things like "DON'T LEAVE ME" "WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME". I would lie awake at night worrying they wouldn't make friends. That I wouldn't make friends. THAT IT WOULD JUST BE TERRIBLE. So first piece of advice is don't be a d*ck like me. It's OK to feel a bit sad but try and get your act together for gods sake.
2. Enjoy Your Final Few Weeks Together
After all the sobbing and me generally just being a nightmare one thing I did do was make the most of my final few weeks with my children. With my son there were some days where we did nothing except snuggle in bed, watch TV and eat Smarties. It was glorious. Don't feel overwhelmed to make all these amazing plans with your little one. Just make the most of the time you have left in a way you can both enjoy.
You will get loads of bits of paper from the school and will be tempted to pop them in your kitchen drawer of crap and ignore it till August 29th. Don't do this. I did that. And then had to rush out and try and panic buy teeny tiny red PE shorts. Get the list out and get all the stuff you need as soon as possible. You are about to experience buying school shoes for the first time. It is hell. And you want to get it over with quickly.
4. Prepare Your Child
Reception teachers are saints. God my kids had THE BEST reception teacher but there are a few things to make it easier for them. Try and get your kids to work out how to put their coats on. Do their shoes up. Even things like getting their trousers on. This will help frazzled teachers in PE lessons up and down the country.
5. Prepare Yourself
I got guinea pigs when my daughter started school. Don't do that. It's tempting to procreate immediately. Or get six puppies. You just need to make sure you have something to focus on in September. It might be going back to work. Or perhaps you can help out in the school. You will have a lot of time on your hands and that seems daunting. But you also get to watch Handmaids Tale whilst drinking hot tea. AMAZING!
6. Extra Things You Will Need
Get these in your house ready for the inevitable; nit lotion x 3 (if you take anything from this get nit lotion seriously), a selection of presents for the four million birthday parties you will be attending starting September, pens and pads for all the lovely writing they will want to do, glue for homework, Calpol for all the random diseases they will acquire and gin...for you.
Two years ago I burst out crying in a Matalan changing room when I saw my son in his school trousers. Burst. Out. Crying. In. Matalan. So here is a little piece of advice. You may want to get your kiddo all dressed in their school uniform a week before they go. Take some lovely photos, get all the emotions out of the way and then on the first day you can really focus on them. Rather than screaming "SMILE FOR MUMMY!" whilst you sob and they look terrified.
8. The First Day
Is a bit stressful. And a bit worrying. Try to make sure someone is there with you like your other half or a Nanny. Prepare yourself for a lot of crying in the playground by a few kids but do your best to make sure your kid is happy. Keep it together. Then get in the car and drive all the way to Starbucks weeping.
I am a big believer in treats and bribes. I was a teacher for 12 years and I know how important it is for children to know that their parents value education. If the child knows that going to school is a big deal they are more likely to enjoy it and take it seriously. So get a big fat treat for your baby when they come home from school. Oh and some snacks. For the first year they are STARVING.
10. Enjoy it
It doesn't seem like it now but seriously your child will change in ways you cannot imagine when they go to school. They become wonderful human beings. They can read Harry Potter to you, they can write you endless love letters, you get to watch Nativity shows and take them on trips. They grow and I am crying as I type this (I cry a lot). You have SUCH joy to come. So take a chill pill. And enjoy the ride.