Making the most of the first five years of school

Marks and Spencer back to school

It’s the oldest parenting cliché in the book but it’s so true: time really does fly when you have kids. My biggest girl has almost completed the first term of her third year at school, which I find all kinds of scary. Surely just a second ago she was a tiny four year old, nervously walking into the Reception classroom on her first day? I’m well aware that the first five years of school for my daughter will be over in a flash, and she’ll soon be a tall Year 5 pupil, walking hand in hand to school with her baby sister (who will then be a Reception pupil herself).

There are so many things I’ve learned in the past couple of years of being a school mum – the most important being to ignore the book bag at your peril! Seriously though, although my six year old is still relatively early on in her school career, her experiences at school have already taught both her AND me so much already. I’ve come to learn that all kids develop at their own pace and that it’s important not to get too sucked into attainment targets or progress reports. This is sometimes hard in a system that seems to encourage a level of competitiveness (amongst the parents as much as the children).

Fleet Tutors have asked me to come up with some advice for ways to make the most of the first five years of school and, although I’ve learned a few things, I thought it would be interesting to open the question up to some fellow parents.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Embrace who your child is

“Bill surprised me by being shy at school,” says Charlotte of Write Like No One’s Watching. “At first I wanted to make him change, but he actually has a huge group of pals who love him because he’s quite calm and chilled. They will do it their way and that’s OK.”

2. Embrace the topics your child is learning in school

“Outside of school, read books and rhymes, sing songs, draw pictures and visit places together that are about the topic at school,” recommends Claire of Diary of the Evans Crittens. “Asking your children what they did in school each day doesn’t always get a great response, but showing your interest and enthusiasm when they do let you know what they did means they’ll continue to want to share this with you throughout their time at school.”

3. Get into a reading routine

Having a set routine can really help with keeping up with reading at home, according to Gemma from Helloitsgemma. “Also, make learning spellings fun,” says Gemma. “We do ours in a TV quiz style!”

4. Get as involved as you can

As a mum of two girls now grown and through the primary education system, Jo from Slummy Single Mummy admits she regrets not making more of an effort to get involved at school when her girls were small. “Although I’ve never been massively into the whole primary school scene, the day my youngest daughter left primary school was by far the most emotional school related moment I’ve had so far as a mum,” says Jo. “I think it felt much more like the end of an era, and it did make me wish I’d done more to embrace and enjoy the primary school years.”

5. Have a “zone-out” time after school

“Let them have a de-brief after school each day where they can zone out and watch TV and eat all the snacks,” recommends Gill from A Baby On Board. “It’s such an intense day of learning they need to do nothing for a while. Try not to bombard them with ‘how was your day?’ during this time (note to self).”

Have you got any tips to add?


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Thanks to Fleet Tutors for working with me on this post. For more information about how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.



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