The August bank holiday weekend is approaching and summer seems to be flying by.
Not long to go until we are back to school and I have yet to buy books or uniforms…
This time last year we were preparing for Junior Infants and of course I had everything bought in June. We managed to survive Junior Infants and obviously I’ve mellowed a bit this year already.
Being a parent to a Junior Infant the first time around is a lot like being a Junior Infant. It is a little bit scary, there is a lot to learn and you surprise yourself a little with every new friend you make.
Now that I’m clearly a pro at this school thing I thought I’d share a few things I wish someone had told me this time last year:
1) Keep cash in the house
Not just any cash, small notes and coins. I never seem to have cash on me. (I know, I know this is horrible for budgeting and saving but whatever-I never have cash). After being caught more than once with an unexpected cake sale at school, or a last minute non-uniform day to fundraise for a worthy cause we learned that to keep cash….particurly €1 and €2 coins around.
2) What you’ll need beyond the Junior Infant book list & uniform.
No doubt if you’re reading this you’re starting to get ready. You might actually already have the uniform and books already! Don’t forget these other essentials:
- Something Green: There is bound to be some day where you’re child will be expected to dress in green. Plan ahead…it might not be St. Patrick’s day so be ready.
- County Colours: Everyone is hoping their county will be in the All-Ireland Final, and if they get remotely close you can be sure school children will be sporting the county colours instead of their uniform some day in September.
- A Sports Jersey: Now if you have a jersey in your county colours that covers your for both! But be ready for some sports day/week which will end in a Jersey day!! (This might be linked with a fund raiser so have your euros ready!)
- Fancy Dress: From here on out you’re going to want to hang on to anything that can be anyway used as a fancy dress accessory. There will be World Book Day, Crazy Hair Day, Halloween, Imagination Day, Movie Star Day- you name it.
- Extra Water Bottle & Lunch Box: You’ve probably already gotten all extra uniform bits but don’t forget to have a back up water bottle. It’s bound to be 8:00 at night before you realise a drinks bottle is lost.
3) Name Tags
You’re going to want to label everything. We used www.nametags.ie which came with enough labels to last for a few years & they haven’t come off at all. Have your Junior Infant help make the label & pick an icon and colours they are likely to identify quickly. Not only will the name tags help from things getting lost but they’ll also minimise class room arguments over jumpers and books.
4) Skip the school jacket (if it’s optional)
Most schools have the winter jacket as an option. If you can hold off until they are older….having their own jacket they can easily identify will make sure they wear them. It can be a mad rush to get jackets on and out to the yard- don’t expect teachers to make sure each kid is dressed for outside…this is ‘big school’ now. If you do love the school jackets (they can be so cute!!!) or have to buy it for your school, consider getting the child’s name embroidered on either the front of back. If you are likely to have other kids wearing the jacket in future (if it lasts that long) embroider the surname only.
5) There will be plenty of communication…
just none of it will be from your child.
With email and text it is easy for the school to communicate with parents regularly. Sometimes too regularly- but the multiple emails from the school about things perhaps irrelevant to your child will be welcome information because you’re likely to get very little from your kid!
I often find cuddling at bedtime is when I get the most information about the day, but if you REALLY want some information drive another kid in your car. Whether its home for a play date or carpooling, without fail if there is an extra kid in the car the stories all get told!
Most of all, like the rest of their childhood the year is going to go by so fast so stop enjoy it. Every sticker they bring home, every time they have learned something new, every new friend they make. Savour it all.
And when there are bad days just remember….summer will be back soon!