The First Term At Primary School

It’s all go at the moment on the school front. You may be looking at schools to make your selections by the 15th January for any littles starting this September. If you didn’t catch Lisa’s post yesterday all about why OFSTED isn’t always everything then go and have a read of it after you’ve finished with me. I wanted to talk today about how Leo has settled in now that he’s completed the first term at primary school and has just started his second; changes I’ve noticed; how I’ve found it and how we’ve adjusted to the new changes for everyone.

I wrote a post back in September about my feelings towards him starting school. I knew he was ready and turns out that I was too. I’ve found his days at school leave me pining for 3:30 when I get to see him. I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss him.

He flew through the first term. He made friends quickly, his peers voted for him to represent their class on the school council. He was loving it. Whilst other Mums were telling me their little ones were in bed by 6:30 Leo was still full of beans and not wanting to go to bed.

Half term was a lovely break. Tayo was still in nursery so we had a few days in the week just the two of us. And then we were back before we knew it to start the second half of the term. The half that seemed to go on forever.

You’ll know if you follow me on social media or if you read my post a few weeks ago about being at hospital with Leo that during this half term he got something stuck in his ear. Nothing to do with school whatsoever but it became a bit of a tumultuous term and I think it was mainly due to his ear. I was (very) anxious about it (it took us four weeks to get an appointment to have it removed) and he had an associated irritable nose which was driving him crazy. I think that mixed with him finally starting to feel overwhelmed by tiredness and everything he was learning at school attributed to all of the mega meltdowns that ensued.

Leo is fairly emotional at the best of times. Just prior to school starting and through the first half term we had to tackle a fair few meltdowns and epic tantrums. Lots of feet stamping, lots of if ‘it’s not fair’s (I don’t even know where that came from!?) but the second half of the term it seemed amplified. He’d rush home with this weird, what seemed like ‘false’ energy, and then come bed time he’d struggle to walk up the stairs moaning and groaning.

I needed to do something to try and combat the tantrums before they started because we were both getting sick of it. I tried to put a couple of things in place. We would have a snack either on the way home or as soon as we got in. We would really talk about his day, even though he might not have any answers or remember I wanted to try and extract all of that overwhelming information he’d absorbed in the day out of his head so that it was clear. He can be a bit of a dweller and I was noticing that sometimes when we go to bed he’d start telling me all of these things from the day and that wasn’t helping him to settle. I’d then get him to try and do something relaxing, 20 minutes of sofa time to wind down and then I try to get him to help me with his dinner; cutting cucumber or another similar easy task. I found doing those things helped to counteract any overwhelming outbursts. Don’t get me wrong, these things can still go wrong but majority of the time they helped.

The week before the christmas holidays came and we were so ready for a break. Just the thought of not having to get up and be somewhere on someone else’s deadline was enough to get me through those last few days. We both needed it. I’d worked out my new routine with nursery runs and the new school run but I was so ready to take things at my own pace.

Turns out Leo was a star over the Christmas holidays, not getting overwhelmed by a house full of people, showing signs of gratitude and enjoying the odd lie in 🙂 It’s amazing what a bit of rest can do isn’t it.

Yesterday was his first day back. He was looking forward to seeing his friends and I feel a little more prepared for what the new term brings. I’m going to try and maintain my after school routines where I can and hopefully this term will run a bit smoother on the tantrum front.

How was your little one’s first term? Were you ready for them to go back for the new term? And how have you dealt with over emotional new starters? All the tips are welcome as ever!

Becky loves her boys, her pooch and designing. She also loves chocolate digestives, probably a bit too much.
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17 Comments. Leave new

Poor Leo! No wonder he had a bit of a meltdown. Some excellent tantrum avoidance strategies there… I’ll be keeping those in my back pocket. Although we’re a long way off school age – she’s also an emotional one, and it’s hard to know sometimes how to switch that mood around!

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It’s really tricky isn’t it? The other thing I try to do is remember that’s he’s SO young and I just try to make him laugh… you know, those times when I’m not losing my own sh*t! 😉

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Oh my gosh, the tiredness!!! Alice is a walking zombie poor thing. I don’t remember Molly being this tired when she started school the year before. I wonder if it’s because Molly is a November baby and Alice July so she had a 7 month head start stamina wise? Maybe they are just different characters.

On the whole Alice loves school, she’s never not wanted to go and she has learnt so much. She’s made lots of new friends and seems to be doing really well. It’s just the tiredness that gets to her. There are many a day that she will come out of school looking all forlorn and her teacher will mouth at me “just a little bit tired”. I am much more tolerant of any melt downs as I know she is exhausted and it’s made it hard to know whether to carry on things like swimming lessons and ballet after school when all she really wants to do is sit on the sofa.

They tend to come home from school, have a snack and basically laze on the sofa. Unless it’s swimming or ballet nights (which is 3 nights between the 2 of them!) when we are straight off out again. I’ve bought tea time earlier to around 4 30 rather than 5 as they are starving and I now make sure we go upstairs for bed at 6 30 rather than 7. This means stories are done and they are normally tucked up by 7 rather than the 7 30 to 8 it used to be. This has made a big difference to all of us.

Sounds like Leo is doing a stirling job and they will just continue to grow and grow. It’s amazing to watch.

xx

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I think I need to bring dinner and ‘going upstairs’ time forwardca little bit like you say, those things are tricky when they have evening activities arent they? Glad Alice is loving it though xx

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Lottie did Molly and Alice go to nursery / pre-school before starting school? If yes, have you noticed that school makes them more tired? My eldest currently goes to pre-school from 7.45am until 6.15pm which is a really long day but because we want to give her time to tell us about her day and unwind before bath / bed she doesn’t end up in bed until 7.45pm. She seems to cope fine at the moment but I’m worndering if school is just more tiring and we’ll need to re-work our routine or if she’s just used to long days as she’s been doing the same long hours since she started nursery at 9 months.

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It always makes me sad when I read about summerborns who have started school and struggle with tiredness. They are so young to be going to school aged just 4. My boy is an August baby and this is one of my biggest worries.

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He will be fine I’m sure Anna. Alice is a tired kid anyway, always has been, so I knew it would be a struggle. I just let her rest when she gets home and pop her to bed earlier. She’s absolutely fine at school and her learning isn’t suffering so that’s good. Her class is a young one with the majority of them born May to August and they are all so different so your little boy might be the lively one! Good luck xx

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My little one is very emotional and she turned 4 less than a week before she started last September. It’s been, erm, interesting! She actually loves school and I can’t believe how much she has progressed in terms of reading and writing but I think she has really struggled emotionally.

There is just so much expected of them and she often has long days with breakfast and afterschool club too. Having not known any other friends starting her school, she now has a fab little bunch of friends (who have lovely mums too, phew!) but we’ve had lots of mornings where she doesn’t want to go/ refuses to get dressed and it can be a battle. I work full time and have to get her sister to nursery and myself to work so we have to be punctual. I’m massively sleep deprived due to her sister waking at 5am every day (literally every day for about 8 months now, it’s hideous) and I try so hard to stay calm but it can be tough when she’s taking her tights off as quickly as I’m putting them on her!

But I’m trying to connect with her about school as much as possible. She likes to show me what she’s learned each day on her little blackboard (bless her) and we have a new special time where I stay for 5-10 mins snuggled in her bed at bedtime and she tends to use that time to tell me about anything that is worrying her (mainly that she keeps getting told off for not sitting still on the carpet!). I have to say I’ve found it harder than expected personally to see her start school but I hope it’ll all get easier as she grows up.

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Abi sleep deprivation is an absolute killer. Tayo is still up two and three times a night on average… 16 months later! So I really feel your pain. You sound like you’re doing a great job though and I reckon those bedtime snuggles are as much of a wind down for you as they are your little girl 🙂 I love a bed time cuddle. I had to ask Leo 8 times this morning to put on his left sock! Lol. I have to laugh else I’d cry! x

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My son started school in September too, he took a while to settle and there were many tears but his teacher has been amazing and so patient with him. He’s made lots of friends and now loves it, including really embracing playing with older children at before/after school club which was something I was so worried he would find overwhelming. I have to say I wasn’t prepared for the tiredness and the emergence of a very stroppy attitude, especially on his longer days where he has breakfast and after-school clubs. I too try to go easy on him and let him chill once he’s at home and we’ve also brought bedtime forward. I was thinking about introducing him to activities after school but will hold off for another term. I do struggle to get him to do his ‘homework’, reading and writing practice as he’s so tired and I don’t want to push him and put him off it all, but am conscious we should be doing it so any tips with that would be helpful? Great post and really interesting to hear how others are getting on

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Alice is normally far too tired to do any writing and reading too. I’ll try and get her to read a few pages in the morning rather than at night time. Normally whilst simultaneously putting on shoes/doing hair etc etc!! Writing wise I have never made either of them practice at home. I figure they do enough at school and they will always grab the crayons and colouring once home so I let them just practice that way rather than forcing it. You definitely don’t want to put them off. Molly is great at reading but was a messy writer and last term her year 1 teacher told me not to force her to practice as she would get put off. Instead she said to encourage her to write in every day things. So ask them to help you write a shopping list or things to remember for the next morning. Little notes, signing cards etc are all helpful too. She has massively improved in a few months so I think a lot of it is time and age to be honest. I know Alice will get there too with it all. She’s only 4 so I don’t worry too much right now. Good luck xxx

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Thank you Lottie, that’s really reassuring. He gets writing work sheets sent home most days and I’ve just tended to leave them out where he can access them if he wants to. Great tip to encourage everyday writing opportunities instead, that’s got to be more engaging for him.

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We’re not at school age yet but where oh where is that beautiful world map from?

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I’ve seen it on not on the highstreet 😘

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Thank you, been hunting but no joy yet!

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Sarah it is from Desenio 🙂

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Thank you! Just found it and lots of other lovely prints!

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