Like most parents I seem to have stumbled through the school holidays. I've worked, fitted in day trips, play dates, picnics, cinema trips and a family holiday in sunny Norfolk.
All the way through I've tried to not think about the fact that our youngest is joining school full time in September. I've been like a memory making machine, trying to fit in as much as is humanly possible to create memories that both girls look back on with big smiles.
Well September has arrived and I guess the time has come to face facts that my partner in crime, amigo and funny littlest person is growing up and approaching her next "big" milestone, one that will see her enter into full time education for a further 13 years. I'm going to miss our afternoon snuggles on the sofa, our funny trips around the supermarket, the endless questions in the car on the way to get her big sister & the cheeky afternoon play dates & Ashmores Ice Creams with her bestie Amber. Shhh that last bit is a secret!
Part of me feels that I should be cool with this next new chapter, I've been there, seen that and got the t shirt right AND she has been attending Nursery at the new school for two mornings a week. The reality is that I'm not cool about it and that's actually ok.
I'm worried that she'll be tired doing 5 full days, that the staff in charge (who I know are fab) won't give her a hug if she's looking a bit sad, that she won't eat all of her dinner at lunch time and if I'm honest that she will lose her sense of fun and craziness in a structured, regimented environment.
Like many parents I will be taking pictures of my girls on Tuesday morning. They'll be scrubbed, hair brushed, wearing new uniforms and carrying their school bags. The absolute opposite to the pics I have taken in the holidays. At times I'm pretty sure my two have looked feral!
I'll be putting a brave face on and with a bounce in my step and smile on my face reassuring them that it's ok. I will take youngest into the classroom give her a kiss and wave her off for what will be one of those emotional tie cutting moments for a parent.
Here are some Mummy or Daddy tips for you. I'm no expert but I hope they help.
1. Pick a place to photograph your child, try and make it the same place each year for your first day of school picture. You'll be able to see them grow and alter against a consistent background.
2. Don't shout "smile" at them. Yep this is a sure fire way of getting them to play up and not look at the camera. Like animals they sense that this is a key moment and go against what you are trying to achieve.
3. If they are young try making trump noises to make them laugh naturally. You bend to take the pic, make the fart noise and pretend it wasn't you. It usually works everytime!!! Dig out the fart gun, the whoopy cushion or raid the internet for the right sound. Alternatively eat beans!
4. If they are older, go for something more age appropriate. Let them pose. It may not be what you want but it's a reflection of their age and independence.
5. If they are nervous on the way to school, why not talk to them about what you are planning for tea that night? Cook their favourite or have a special treat ready.
6. My top tip. Don't grill them about their day as soon as you collect them!! Yep, you are desperate to know, I get that but as soon as you ask "Did you have a good day, Did you eat lunch?" .... The standard response will be "I don't know, I can't remember" or "yes" or "no."
7. Try instead waiting until you get home and they are settled and asking them to tell you "what was the BEST bit about today?" or "what's the name of your new friend?"
8. Make plans if you have the day off, keep busy but don't tell your little one. No need to be secretive but would you want to go to school if you knew that Mum/Dad were going to your favourite cafe and doing fun stuff like having cake with friends? Nope thought not!
I hope this helps. If you have any top tips pop them in the comments. I hope all your children, no matter what age have a good day at school.