Starting School Nerves

It’s September and a new term has started. For many parents and teachers it’s more of the same, another academic year, another load of homework, reports and marking. For our family it’s the start of a new era. Our eldest child is starting school this week.

A few months ago Lulu started breaking down in tears before nursery. She didn’t want to leave us. It was curious as she’s been happily attending nursery 3 full days a week since she was 2, having started on half days at 14 months. On collecting her, the staff assured us the tears only lasted a few minutes and we could see for ourselves she was full of beans and chatty about her day.

20130908-153153.jpgWe started to notice her moods change when her younger sister was born. We didn’t get the terrible twos (awful term) we had sibling adjustment behaviour at 3 years old. We didn’t panic (well, Daddy didn’t) it was perfectly normal. The challenging behaviour faded into the background as her little sister grew older until this Spring, the start of all the life changes. Up until her sister was born Lulu would be described as independent and outgoing. Which she still is but now with these added bouts of tears and worry before we left for nursery in the morning.

As any brilliant nursery does, we briefly, discreetly, exchanged some concerns and ideas to support her. They put it down to all the change about to happen. The school enrolment process was starting, meeting teachers, school play sessions and uniform purchasing. And despite Lulu seemingly existing in a bubble of nursery, social life and Disney Junior, she is sensing this change.

Our approach was to avoid excessive talk about school and play down all the new things she’ll need and that would happen. Easier said than done when deep down I’m frustrated at her sensitivity. I loved school. And I know she will too. She is like me with a thirst for learning. So I can’t understand why she doesn’t trust me when I say it will be wonderful. In principle she has told me she wants to learn to read books. And she adores writing her name and other words, practising the letters until they look right. So I should take comfort in this right?

When faced with an issue like this you search for answers in your parenting methods. Is there something we could have done differently? Do I worry too much and she picks up on it? Facebook doesn’t help either with friends innocently sharing their child’s first day and how they ‘loved it’ or are ‘excited’ to start. Information I usually lap up but this week has left me feeling insecure. So perhaps it is me she’s picking up on. But what’s the solution? I’ve even thought of not going down with her, leaving it to Dad. But that’s not the solution.

Tomorrow I’ve decided to be as confident and natural as possible. If there’s any reason for me to blub (when she’s not looking if I can manage) it will be mostly because it’s the start of a new era and she’s growing fast…blah blah blah. Nothing more. If there’s tears from her I’ll remember she won’t be the first, nor the last. And also remind myself that I am very right assuming she will love it.

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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