Five Things That Will NOT Help Your Child Do Well At School

SCHHOLIt’s that time of year when many of us will be sending our little ones off to school for the very first time…

When I say preparing, I mean, lying awake at night worrying about the best way to get your child ready for this important milestone.

How can I help my child do well at school? What if she hates it? What if she cries at the school gates? What if I cry at the school gates? Will she eat her lunch?

This week I will be waving goodbye to my just four year old and leaving her to embark on her academic journey – without me.

I am not sure I am ready for this. It feels like only yesterday she was a tiny baby in my arms. Now just as I am (kind of) getting to grips with parenthood, I have a whole new set of things to worry about.

Will she manage to wipe her own bum? Will she wash her hands? Should she be able to read books?  Or do times tables? Will there be mean kids? Will she be overwhelmed, tired or scared? 

At least at home I can protect her from horrible children, germs and princessy shit.

While she is in my care I can hold her when she cries or comfort her when she feels sad. I can make her laugh when she is grumpy or kiss her better when she falls over. I can untwist her knickers when she pulls them up the wrong way, I can wash her hands before lunch and tell her it is ok if she can’t do something right first time. 

But what will she do when I am not there?

In the end, I did what I always do when I have no idea what I am doing – rang my mum.

“Mum, the biggest starts school tomorrow and I have no idea what I am doing…I have not even brought a pencil case. What if I can’t get us all ready in time if I have had a bad night with the littlest?  Should she be able to draw a house yet? SHE CAN’T EVEN DRAW A HOUSE FOR GOODNESS SAKE! I am just not going to send her. Shall I just not send her mother?”

“Right,” said my mum calmly. “The main thing is that she enjoys it and has fun. She will learn as she goes along.”

“Fun? That’s all you’ve got?”

“Oh, and try not to drop her off in your pyjamas. It will inevitably be the one time the teacher wants to talk to you.”

“As if I would do that…” At this point I realised it was 11am and we were all still in our pyjamas. She had a point.

Unable to come up with any useful tips, I have written a list of things I am pretty sure won’t help my daughter do well at school.

1. Buying her uniform from Aldi at the last minute.

Do I go for the classic pinafore dress, trousers or a skirt? Polo shirt or button up shirt? After agonising all summer about what to buy, by the time I got around to uniform shopping everywhere had mostly sold out. So I bought whatever was left. However, I imagine it will have no bearing on her academic achievements.

2. Trying not to look like an idiot at the school gates. Whether I cry, hover over her, hug her for too long or ask the teacher a thousand questions. Whatever I need to do to deal with this massive step in my parenting journey, chances are my child won’t even notice. She’ll be too busy checking out the facilities. ‘MUM THEY HAVE HAND DRYERS IN THE TOILETS!!’

3. Teaching her to paint like Da Vinci… I am pretty sure that by attempting to get her to ‘refine’ her art every day this week, the only thing I have succeeded in doing is to make her sick of painting. They may learn things in their own time. But they will learn things.

4. I told my daughter that at school she must not shout out ‘poo’ or ‘bum’ a lot like she does at home. She responded to this request by shouting ‘POO BUM A LOT LIKE AT HOME’. Continuously. Lesson learnt. Tell a four year old not to do something and they will most definitely do it!

5. Buying her expensive trainers. When I was at school I told my parents I definitely needed Nike Air trainers. They told me they couldn’t afford them and bought me Nicks from Poundstretcher. I told them they had ruined my life. It is a miracle I managed to pass my exams and go on to study at university under the circumstances.

So in conclusion maybe, just maybe my mum was right…

 Has anyone else got a child about to go up to pre-school/school? How are you preparing for this?  For some great advice visit Feel free to comment in the box below or join us for a chat on Facebook or Twitter. 




20 thoughts on “Five Things That Will NOT Help Your Child Do Well At School

  1. I know just the feeling. My son started preschool just before he turned 3 (I live in Portugal, that’s the normal age for preschool here) and I was worried sick. He had been at home with me or my mother until then and had very little contact with other kids. The first day I only left him there in the morning and picked him up before lunch, at which point he asked enthusiastically: Can I stay for lunch?! I knew then he’d be fine, as he was. He’s now almost 6 and starts primary school next week. Please, say it isn’t so! 😉

    • ha I think we find it harder than them! My daughter is so excited..not a worry in the world. While I am constantly on the verge of tears. I’ll miss her so much!! Good luck next week x

  2. So let me reassure you by telling you about… my daughter’s preschool experience. Yes, we’ll start there (and sweep the rest under the carpet).

    She loved school from day one and cries when she’s too sick to go. In fact, for the first two months all the other kids cried on the way in but she cried *on the way out*. No kidding. I wasn’t even offended or anything, by the way.

  3. I feel just like this. My daughter is at pre school and now in September I need to look around and choose a school to apply to for her. I dress the mere thought. Her preschool so far is 9-12 2 mornings a week which is bearable. I would like to keep her at home forever please, without worries about friends and progress and she is 4 in 2 weeks and cannot draw a smiley face and and and…..! I love your blog, as always. One of my favourites to read. I still giggle every time I cook waffles/smiley faces (which is frequently! ) when I think of your blog on feeding toddlers (or at least that was part of it). It might have been about getting things done. Keep writing, you make me smile and feel more sane- or at least more normal 🙂

    • Thank you Zoe! Not just me then! I think the thing is I feel like it has come around far too quickly and I am not prepared! She still seems so tiny to me at 3. I am sure she will be fine..she is excited it is only me who is worried. But if she comes hone asking for bloody Lelli Kelli shoes or make up that is it…home schooling!

  4. Having exactly the same feelings. My son starts pre school next week and I can’t stop worrying. Will he cry the whole time? Will the others pick on him? Will he eat his lunch? Will he ever trust me again?! He’s only 3 and he’s never been left before. I know he’s ready for it; he has started to get bored. But it doesn’t stop me thinking about changing my mind and keeping him home until he absolutely has to go to school. I can keep him happy and safe at home! And to add to the stress he has his pre school booster tomorrow! Argh!!

    • I am glad it is not just me! Like your son, I know my daughter is ready but I just hate the thought of not being there if she needs me. I guess we can’t keep them at home forever!! Good luck!

  5. Aaaah, I will never forget the drama we or rather “I” lived through before my baby started school. We had sent in an application the school we wanted for him. Worried about his age we met with the principal who told us not to worry about a thing. A few weeks before school was supposed to start, I receive an SMS (yes, an SMS) that they regretted to inform me my son would not be accepted. I was in the middle of meeting at work and I felt myself start to boil at which point I left the meeting room and did all my screaming right outside the door. Anyway, we went on holiday to Germany and during our trip, my sister in law says she knows someone and this new amazing school and that she’d see what she could do. The day we got back home we heard they had accepted him, and that he would start the the following day. I tried hard to be strong, but I was neither strong nor happy. After my baby went to bed, I broke down on the kitchen floor and wept. I questioned our decision, his readiness, the reason why the school would say yes the day before the first day… I also cried because i suddenly felt like my baby wasn’t a baby anymore, and that before I know he’s be going off to college and then get married and move out and I wouldn’t get to see him everyday or sing to him or read him bedtime stories. Now that he’s almost five and doing just fine even though he still can’t draw a smiley face, I can’t wait to send the second one off! Ha!

    • Ah it really is a rollercoaster! I feel the same..I know I should be looking forward to having slightly less toddlers to contend with but at the same time it feels like the end of an era! Glad yours enjoys it now. I hope my daughter will to..she says she is excited, so she is doing better than me!!

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