We've all heard about the panic most parents have over keeping their kids occupied for the summer holidays, but for many mums and dads, the real stress has just begun.
Why? Well, their little ones are about to take a huge leap in the growing-up stakes: primary school looms.
For the majority of the last four years, you will have had your child at home but they'll soon be entering a world of timetables, routine and uniforms - and you'll probably be even more apprehensive about this big change than them!
From picking out their first pair of school shoes to how you can cope at the school gate, we have the low-down of everything you need to know about handling the next chapter...
1) Talk about the big day
No matter how old we get, the unknown is always the scariest of prospects. So when it comes to a change like starting primary school, talking about the process in the months leading up to the big day will help demystify it.
You can tell them all the exciting things that will happen - new friends, play times, learning loads of new stuff - as well as all the things that you loved about starting school.
It also helps to drive past the new school so they are aware where they're going rather than just arriving somewhere unknown on the first day.
2) School shoes need to be comfortable
Kids' imaginations are famously intrepid - and there's few adventures as big as primary school. From playing football with friends to scooting home after that first day, your kids will be discovering a whole new world of exploration.
And explorers need robust footwear! That's where Clarks Kids come in. A trusted family favourite for decades, Clarks Kids have put their new line through a staggering 60 tests to ensure you get value for money for one of your milestone pre-school purchases. Each design is rigorously checked, from opening velcro 400 times to checking a shoe's recovery by compressing soles for a whole 24 hours, meaning you have one thing less to worry about. And the experts who put these shoes through their paces? Kids, of course! Selected schools wear the new designs for several months to make sure they are robust enough to last.
Most of all - due in part to Clarks Kids' renowned foot-measuring technique - your child will feel comfortable and ready to tackle their new routine, setting a great foundation for their future.
3) Label everything!
Who doesn't remember their own parents sticking and stitching our names on everything? And while it seemed pointless back in the day, when there's 30 kids with the same jumper or cartoon lunchbox in the class, it's easy for things to go missing.
Labelling can also help your child get excited by having them try on their freshly stamped new uniform with their moniker. But warning, they'll look so cute/grown up you may feel your bottom lip shaking...
4) Lunchboxes must be light work
Ideally, every parent would love to send their child off to school with a gourmet lunch-box full of organic goodies but in reality, it needs to be simple and efficient -for both of your sakes.
While you probably won't have eons of time to spend crafting hedgehogs out of apples in a morning, your kids also need to be able to eat things with ease; so that means drinks they can open themselves and food that doesn't need a pair of industrial-strength scissors to get the wrapping off.
5) Your new parent pals will probably change
You'll feel as nervous as your child about the prospect of new pals. Try and talk to at least one other parent on the first morning but also know that you might not stay friends with them all the way through your child's school life.
On the other hand, you may strike up instant bonds with other mums and dads. Either way, act like you want your child to act at school; be polite and nice to everyone!
6) Get to know the teacher... but not too much
While Teacher's Pet has negative connotations, it's always best to make yourself known to your child's teacher. Say hello, make sure your child does their homework, and that you fill in their diary every evening.
But also, know your boundaries - they are in your life to work together on your child's education, not to go to brunch with at the weekends!
Being on the Parent Teach Association is a hugely valuable job and puts you at the centre of your child's school community.
But you also have to be ready for some hard work - you'll be dodged by other parents when you need someone to volunteer on fete stalls or bake cakes for the Christmas party. You might even get your own unflattering acronym on certain forums!
Long story short, do volunteer but don't get cornered into doing everything yourself because other parents haven't stepped up.
8) Read to your child every night
On the whole, our kids copy whatever we do. If you want yours to learn to read quickly, get them into books by reading them yourself.
Take trips to the library and pick out ones that either you know they'll love or books with covers which catch their eye. Then cuddle up on the sofa and read together every evening.
Not only will their literacy come on leaps and bounds from regular practise but it's the perfect way to make learning a relaxed and comfortable place for them.
9) They will be exhausted
While you'll want to be setting play dates and helping build up friendships with after-school clubs, your child will be wiped out in their first few weeks. That also means that they probably won't be that chatty after their first few days, so don't worry about getting a short 'fine' when you quiz them about how their day was. After all, the huge change in routine and the fact they are trying to fit in is exhausting.
Scale back their activities for a while and just focus on the basics; dinner, bath, cuddle, story and bed.
10) It will be emotional
You will cry. Simple.
Whether your child does or not doesn't matter, you will be full to the brim with emotions as you drop them off; pride, excitement, worry and probably a bit of unfounded guilt thrown in for good measure.
The best way to deal with these is to see your child into the classroom, wave them off, don't linger and definitely wait until you're back in the car before you start blubbing!
For those of you who are sending your little one's off to school for the first time, we hope this article helps. We found it for you here.
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