Tuesday, December 03, 2013

the school series : the younger sibling

Christmas stars found just outside the school art room

At drop-off and pick-up time, school playgrounds are full of younger siblings getting to know the swing of things.

When your first-born starts school the entire family starts school with them. Family life and the school routine merge and the pre-schoolers, toddlers and babies get carried along for the ride. Breakfast is often hurried, afternoon naps are interrupted and Peppa Pig is the replacement for mum's attention at homework time (a necessity and nothing to feel guilty about). 

For our family, the start of school has been one of the biggest changes we've experienced. It really rocked me for the first few months; in retrospect I was grieving the loss of spontaneous days and having difficulty accepting the reality of a strict routine. Not one to gracefully embrace change, I  was very reluctant to face the truth; school is now a significant part of our lives, for this year and (at least) the next twenty.

It was only yesterday, as Poet and I took Che to his classroom, that I thought about her experience this year. School life is such a novelty for her; it's exciting, loud and intriguing. She has adapted so well to routine - she's embraced the opportunity to sneak into the classroom (more times than I can count) and has enthusiastically participated in every activity that we've been invited to. She has her very own bank book for school banking day and she waits at the bottom of the stairs every afternoon to hug Che. 

For a while I felt sorry for her; having to make the journey to and from school twice a day. But that was all my stuff - it never bothered her in the slightest. Whilst I don't want to get carried away I know that when it's her time to start school, she will be ready. Oh so ready. 


Come January I will be expanding on the school series; collating thoughts, advice and practical tips for those of you who are about to embark on the journey. If you have any questions I'm more than happy to answer them!

Tell me, do you have a child starting school next year? If so, how are you feeling? If you want a book to help ease the transition, I highly recommend "Starting School"


  1. my youngest sibling was born when the next above her was six and I was 11 - she knew school and its routines in and out by the time she was three, even asking Mum for "homework" so she could sit at the table with all of us. Starting school was only an exciting time for her -she was so, so ready to finally be a big kid just like all of us before her. I still remember it so well - she started at my old primary school the day I started year 11.

  2. my very last and darling fifth child is starting school next year.
    he does not separate well. at all.
    he is incredibly anxious in fact & makes himself sick (literally).
    it is very very stressful leaving him every single time.
    no matter how difficult though, I am looking forward to it. it is important for our children to develop strong relationships with others & gain confidence in their independence.
    no matter how hard it is for him I never let him know of my own sadness at his difficulty. it would only give him fuel for further (unnecessary) anxiety.
    his anxiety was such a surprise - and a good reminder that no matter what parenting approach a child has had and no matter where any of our children come in our families - how they handle things is sometimes a total and utter surprise.
    and all we can do as parents is offer encouragement & love to help them cope.

    1. Oh Ruth, I feel for you. Archie is so blessed to have your patience, understanding and strength x

  3. What a beautifully timed post as our Steiner school just called to arrange an interview for my first child to attend Kindy there next year. She is a little anxious but I think that has come from me and my sadness at her getting bigger and not wanting to be apart from her and also not wanting to be part of the 'school run'. It is such a gentle and nurturing school and I know it will be really good for her and me so I am coming around..... thanks for the book suggestion, this will really help with building the excitement for her :)

  4. Love this, as it is so true. I often find myself feeling guilty for our youngest, with two older siblings in school this year. We find our own balance and I have come to love my mornings with her.

  5. My first born starts Kindy next year. I know she is more than ready but I am nervous and excited (very mixed) about it (am I ready? How will I manage to get us out the door every day?) and I worry about my second daughter how she will fair with her sister at school five-days a week.

  6. Yes, Angus is. We bought his uniform today, and I managed to hold it together.
    Would love to read any advice/tips/thoughts you are happy to share, Jodi...
    Ronnie xo

  7. Yes. Will have a 3 and 1 year old at home, love to know how to manage time with kindergarten boy after school with witching/melting hours?

  8. i suppose the school year starts in january there, it's september here which means my august born boy is the youngest in the whole school. he's settling now but i've been surprised how much talk there's been of him 'not following directions' and 'not engaging with the teacher led tasks', he's only just turned 4! sigh. he's getting support now but only after a term's worth of huffiness. school seems to be tailored to the needs of those autumn born girls, the ones with the neat colouring-in skills, summer boy is a bit of a square peg in a round hole. surely, if the admissions policy is inflexible (you can't 'keep them back a year') then the school experience needs to be suitable for all kiddos, no matter what time of year their birthday happens to fall. x

  9. School is such a foreigh concept for me. I'm currently pregnant with our first but here in Brisbane, private senior schools want you to put your name on waiting lists from the time they're born. I don't even know where to start with choosing one ... not to mention primary schools. Both our families are pushing heavily for our child to go to a private school from prep, but we really like our local state primary school (200 kids in the whole school!). It's so overwhelming already.

  10. I missed this post the other day and such a coincidence that I just came here looking to read back on your school series! Riley starts next year and I am so nervous, more than he is I think. Will he make friends? Will he be picked on? The thought of it is nerve wracking! I'm off to do some reading. Thanks Jodi, I look forward to the next installment of thr series. xo


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