You will become a master of stain removal. And 5 other things you will learn once your little one starts school.

Emmy Samtani

Emmy Samtani

Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 7 mins read
You will become a master of stain removal. And 5 other things you will learn once your little one starts school.

Can they write their name? Can they open and close their lunch box? Can they put their own (velcro) shoes on? These are generally the most obvious things that come to mind when you are preparing your little one for school.

It’s such a huge and exciting milestone, and you’ll be questioning yourself more than once about if they are truly ready… because it was only just yesterday that they were in pull ups. And how on earth are they going to manage carrying that huge backpack with the weight of their lunch box, water bottle, library books and jumpers? Although it’s a pretty cute sight watching them try.

As the saying goes, some things are best learnt on the job… and the same can be said for that first year of big school. Each child is different of course and while some will burst through those gates without looking back, others will be clinging to the leg of a parent and need a little extra encouragement to take those first little steps through that big gate. It might take you a little longer at drop off if that’s you, but they will get there with time!

I am all for soaking up practical advice and sharing it with others, especially when it comes to the kind of stuff that can push you over the edge when you are busy navigating school routines and a full-time job (or is that just me?!)

So here I am playing my part, as a mum who has now (somewhat) successfully survived 2 out of 3 kids starting school.

1. Dirty socks, dirty shoes, dirty face. So much dirt. 

Look this might not come as a total surprise because let’s face it, kids love to get dirty. But whoever decided that white socks and/or shirts were a good idea for a school uniform, obviously wasn’t the parent who was stuck in the laundry soaking clothes at midnight. And if you are lucky enough to not have white as part of the uniform, you are still likely getting out the stain remover anyway. These small people seem to be a magnet for anything that stains. That collection of rocks in their bag? It was a solid digging effort!

So get yourself into a washing routine that allows extra time for soaking and better yet, have enough shirts and socks to get you through the week if you can. Having a Monday to Friday uniform kit (even if it was part hand-me-downs) was my saving grace!


2. Label everything. Buy extra!

You can bet your bottom dollar that regardless of how well trained your child is, you will end up walking around the school grounds on the hunt for lunch boxes, water bottles and hats more than once. How on earth can one child lose so many things in a day?

Kindy is a huge year for our little ones, with new routines, new friends and lots of learning. So they are guaranteed to forget to pack away their things from time to time – or for some, every day in that first year! Be sure to label everything and be prepared to search those lost property bins, as disgusting as they are! And when all else fails? Make sure you have lunch boxes, water bottles and hats aplenty. Before you know it they will have (mostly) outgrown this but it certainly doesn’t hurt being super prepared. Especially when it comes to school hats because for most schools it is ‘no hat no play’ and we don’t want them missing out on that precious outdoor time!

3. Making new parent friends + Playdates

It’s kind of weird having to put yourself out of your comfort zone to new friends when your little one starts school. You will be so caught up worrying how they will go about finding their people or if they will have any little friends in their class. Whether or not you knew other parents beforehand, birthdays and playdates with their class will put you in front of an entire new group of people. You will really need to put yourself out there and make an effort when it comes to these things, because the kids whose parents get involved, generally stay together.

A wise second-time school mum once told me, that even if I have to bring my laptop and a bottle of wine stashed in my bag to the park on a Friday afternoon, do it. These playdates really do help your little one with building friendships…and you will benefit from it too!

Oh, and don’t be too shocked if your little one comes home and tells you they ‘didn’t play with anyone’ because apparently our little kindy kids have a habit of that. If you are worried though, be sure to check in with their teacher to ask how they are going socially. Building social skills really is one of the most important things for them to be building at this age but it takes time.

4. When is comes to school shoes, you generally get what you pay for

Your little one will be spending 1,400 hours running, jumping and commuting in their school shoes which is generally a lot more than their usual daily treks to the playground. Whilst you might be tempted to go el-cheapo because you’ve heard they wear them out quickly, it’s actually quite the opposite. Investing in good quality school shoes available at quality stores like Shoes & Sox will ensure that they last the distance, or at least until they have outgrown them. And be sure not to make the same mistake as me and not get the right size. My little one was tripping over before I realised that I hadn’t left enough space for growth! Having your little one’s school shoes professionally fit will ensure they are right for them. I highly recommend you make a booking with The Fit Squad at Shoes & Sox to get expertly fit and they can recommend the  right style of shoes.

Remember, their little feet are still developing and growing at this age and they will be more active than ever. So it’s super important to ensure they have well fitting shoes so they don’t end up with sore legs and feet by the end of a big school day.

Also, don’t forget if you are in NSW you can use your Back to School vouchers for school shoes!

5. Get involved in the class whatsapp group.

Or whichever app, social platform or tool your class decides to connect on. I truly don’t think I would have survived the first year of kindy if it wasn’t for the second time mum who put her hand up to be the class parent. Because navigating the new routines, readers, newsletters and permission slips was confusing enough!

You will generally find there are those amazing parents who have it all together (thank you, you are so appreciated) and then there are the others that can’t be at the school gate to pick up their kids, miss the memos and end up sending their child to school in uniform on mufti day (twice) – or was that just me again?

6. Don’t overschedule your kid, especially during the first year.

I get it, you want your little one to get involved in everything. From soccer or ballet to piano lessons and weekly playdates. That first year of school will open up soooo many opportunities for your little one to get involved in. But let’s not forget that the first year of school is going to be huge. They will get tired and cranky and will generally have a meltdown (or ten) by the time it comes to Friday. So be mindful of how you schedule their time to allow for some extra downtime at the end of the busy school week. They will need you to be there as a support while they are navigating through all of their ‘firsts’ at school.

And finally…

The first year of school can be an interesting time for both parent and child. Before you know it, you will be wondering where the year went and will be surprised at just how transformative that first year of school is. They will not just look so much bigger physically, but they will be reading, writing, socialising and maybe even become a little extra cheeky! You will be amazed to see that big kid before your eyes and for some, want to press pause for a while.


Ps.  Don’t forget to take that first day snap so you can compare it to their final day of kindy. It’s pretty crazy to think just how much they can change in one year.

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