• Nellie Williams

Moving on


Well it's not long until my youngest and smallest heads off to senior school. She's fine about it as her big sister is still there and her bigger sister has been and gone so she has had plenty of experience of the school, the staff, pupils, routine and rules.

.

It is daunting making a move and being a small fish in a big pond as opposed to being the big fish in a small pond but it needn't be terrifying, infact to the contrary. The 'new' school went into the 'old' school to talk to the pupils, the children had taster days at their new school and we had a new parents evening.

.

I went along to the one at Laree's new/big school and it was great to catch up with so many parents that I have known over the years from various clubs, swimming, hours spent in the park, doctors' waiting room, shoe fitting, cafe stops - you name it anywhere I have been in the last 11 years and have met parents and had a chit chat with, now we're all in the same boat and it feels familiar! It was also nice to hear the teaching staff and prefects speak so positively and kindly about their time at the school whilst allaying any fears that the parents may have.

.

Letting go of children is a very hard parenting move, I know. Whilst I might have gone through the transition to senior school twice already this time it's for my youngest and smallest and although her big sisters have told her about how it will be and their friends have been a part of our life for years it's now her time. I want to cushion her and soften the blows of a strange environment, it's a parents' want to try and sort out everything but the truth is they are getting older and dare I say it more - independent.

.

Come the start of term your children will be walking to school or travelling on the bus or train with people you don't know, they will be talking about people you don't know who come from all over the place, away from the bubble that has been primary school. The small, friendly and cosseted playground is no more. There won't be the hanging around the school gates for your child, they will be embarrassed, they won't instantly greet you with a hug it will be more like a shrug, they will have more homework than they did at junior school and lots lots more distractions.

But they will still be the same child, albeit a more grown up one.

.

I have spoken to my lot over the years and have suggested to them and others through my policing days:-

.

Get to know people before making judgements, trusting or sharing.

.

There's no need to join in with every circus, if it doesn't affect you then don't get involved.

If in doubt ask a teacher or a sixth former, whilst "advice" might be offered by other pupils or friends it's always wise to double check.

.

Children talk, they hear something and then pass it on, instil in your children not to share the scare. Check the facts before blabbering about something that may just be gossip, hearsay, urban myth or something that is blown out of context.

.

Just because one of their new classmates may have their ears pierced, a newer phone, a later bedtime, this or that it doesn't mean that they HAVE to.

.

Some children may have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (and I will leave that to you to determine) so make yourself a friend or follower, or ask a friend to be a friend or follower just so you know what is going on and can nip anything in the bud that needs nipping.

.

Be the parent. I don't ever say "my girls are my best friends". I am between 29 and 35 years older than them and whilst I might enjoy their company I am not their friend any more than they are mine. I am their mother and I will protect them, love them, cherish them, chastise them, clothe them, feed them and chat about things that are age appropriate but I won't burden them.

.

Children do selfies. I won't even begin to understand the selfie regime, I dislike having my photo taken at the best of times there's no way on earth I will subject my double chins to close up scrutiny. I can't offer much advice on this, apart from saying that if your child wants to share photos of them with anyone else then make sure they have the permission of the others in the photos and if they are asked to remove a tag or are asked to take it down then do it.

.

I'm not sure what category of parenting I fall into be it helicopter, cougar, absent, dragon, ninja, relaxed, protective, over the top but I really really try hard not to get involved in their battles. There's nothing worse than a child coming home from school or flouncing downstairs when someone has been horrid to them or they've got into a situation and they don't know how to resolve it. As parents it's hard not to react and you so want to sort it, but more can be sorted over a cup of tea than a slanging match. Listen to your child and let the school know, they can't do anything if they are not aware. Don't wait for it to have "been going on for ages" without reporting, if the people who can sort it don't know about it then how are they supposed to sort it in the early days.

.

I have been both an ardent fan and fiercest critic of my children's schools and I will trust them to be in loco parentis for my treasures. When things have bothered me I have told them, when I want to praise them I will do. Last year, for example, we were at another school and one of my girls noticed the litter and said "we don't have a litter issue at our school". I fed this back to the school as I felt they would like to hear it, it shows that their message about litter is working and my daughter was proud of her school. Schools are part of the wider community and being angry with them and telling people your annoyances won't address any issues.

.

Plug the school's phone number into your phone, you may look at it with dread when the phone rings but they will only ring you if they need to.

.

Oh the school uniform and the "but everyone has a big fat tie or a thin tie, or wears their jumper back to front, or rolls their skirt up or socks down, or doesn't have a top button, or wears these shoes, or this is ok because it is the same colour as the school carpet" lines. Rules is rules is rules and believe you me it's easier to follow them. This is rich coming from me as I was more than happy in my green shirt thank you very much and didn't want to wear my blue shirt, but the school photo and events shirt colour was blue. I was asked to change my shirt and that delayed everybody and they huffed at me, so I decided to toe the line. It's much the easiest way!

.

I was chatting with local NLP Therapist Debbie Kinghorn who said "Starting a new school can significantly heighten a child's need for certainty. Parents can provide support in the early weeks by being consistent with actions, maintaining routines at home and keeping emotions on an even keel. All too often I witness children finding their first weeks more difficult when parents reduce their parenting to give the children some slack at the start of term. It's counter intuitive, they're looking to you to be their rock and maintain some stability and consistency until they've found their feet. If parents need an excuse for their children to continue to do their chores after school, this is it!"

.

A new school is a time of great change but by the time they've scampered through the gates, caught up with their new friends and found their way around their nerves may well dissipate. You'll be fine too, trust me.



Follow Me

NELLIE KNOWS

© Nellie Williams 2019.  All rights reserved.

Website Design by Studio Spence