Guardian Childcare & Education

Mummy Bloggers Share: ‘What I wish I’d known before my child started school’

20th October 2020

As we approach the time when many children are getting excited for their start at primary school next year, we decided to ask three top mothering and parenting bloggers what they wish they’d known before their children started school. 

We spoke to well-known bloggers Lauren Kate (Mad Max Mum), Felicity Frankish (Baby Vine) and Julia Hasche (Single Mother’s Survival Guide) to get their take on the benefits of childcare, the transition to school and what they wish they’d known… 

Lauren Kate (Mad Max Mum) 

Mum to two: Madi (8) & Max (5), with another on the way!

 

“I think getting the children socially confident is really important – just as important as any other skill that they’ll learn such as reading and writing. Childcare definitely prepared my daughter for prep and she is absolutely thrivingI really do thank the amazing childcare staff for having an input into that. 

 

What were the main benefits for you in having your children in childcare? 

The main benefits I found with my children going to childcare before school is that they have become more socially confident. The childcare system offers structure and discipline for the children around rules, eating times, manners and social etiquette. 

I’m really impressed with how childcare prepares you for what is to come and if I struggled with anything, it was seeing my babies grow up! Over the years my childcare has incorporated an online app that shares what the children are doing during the day which makes being apart from them a lot easier! 

When it comes to getting ready for school, will you send your children to a community program or a preschool/kindy program at your childcare? 

As this is my son’s last year before he begins prep, he has been in a kindy program in his childcare centre. My daughter also attended the same program and I believe it is a fantastic system that works in the favour of both the child and the parent. Not only does it provide a great program that gets the child ready for school, it is worked in to the timetable that the child is already attending childcare rather than traditional “kindergarten” hours which can make it quite challenging for a working parent. 

What is/was your child’s favourite thing about attending childcare? 

Their favourite thing is seeing their friends and the staff who have really become like family.   

If you had one piece of advice for other families with a child starting school, what would it be? 

I really recommend seeing if your school has any school holiday programs or swimming programs leading up to their first day so that the children can meet potential classmates and build a little more confidence being social with children that they don’t know but will be spending a lot of time with. As a parent it also helps to meet new parents who will be at the same school! 

 

Baby Vine guardian

Felicity (Baby Vine) 

Mum to three: Cassie (5), Vivi (3) & Elliot (1)

 

“Go with your gut. I used to look at Centres based on their merit. While they were great on paper…they weren’t the right fit for my children. I now know to trust my gut and listen to my children.”

 

What were the main benefits for you in having your children in childcare? 

I have all three of my children in childcarethree days a week. Im a freelance worker and own my own business, so the main benefit for me is having time to get some work done! The longer care hours mean I can get done what I need to do and when my children are home, I can give them my full attention, which is nice. I am nervous about the school hours next year – while I’m excited to have a bit of one-on-one time with Cassie on my work days, I’m nervous about juggling my work with this. 

For them, the social skills and routine are so vital and something I cannot really provide myself. I also love the variety of activities they are exposed to, such as painting, playdough, etc. I feel like it lets me off the hook a little at home! 

When it comes to getting ready for school, will you send your children to a community program or a preschool/kindy program at your childcare? 

I have kept all three in childcare, including Cassie who is at school next year. For me, it makes more sense with my work hours, plus they offer a fabulous preschool program so I know she is getting what she needs.  

What is/was your child’s favourite thing about attending childcare? 

  • Elliot (1): food. He eats all day! 
  • Vivi (3): friends. She has made two besties who she runs in and hugs each morning. 
  • Cassie (5): the activities. She loves being busy! 

 What do you wish you had known before your child started childcare and/or school? 

To go with your gut. I used to look at Centres based on their merit. While they were great on paper and great Centres, they weren’t the right fit for my children. I now know to trust my gut and listen to my children. When we toured this new Centre, Cassie and Vivi wouldn’t leave! That was a good sign for me.

 

single mum survival guide guardian

Julia (Single Mother’s Survival Guide) 

Mum to one daughter (7)

 

“Some know how to write their name, some don’t. Some know the alphabet, some don’t. Some have excellent social skills, some have never been to childcare. All children are different, and they are there to learn.”

What were the main benefits for you in having your children in childcare? 

Attending childcare was very beneficial to both me and my daughter. I couldn’t have done my job, at the time, without it. And when you’re relying on one income – it’s essential. And for my daughter – she was able to interact with other children and learn skills like sharing, which to me was really important as she is an only child.  

The long care hours made EVERY difference for me. At the time I was consulting in the city and working quite long hours. My employer at the time was not keen about flexible working arrangements and I HAD to be in the office. There is no way I could have held down my job without it. And getting a nanny on one income was not possible. 

It is also so important to teach children social interactions and skills, independence (away from their parents), and to equip them with some academic basics. 

When it comes to getting ready for school, will you send your children to a community program or a preschool/kindy program at your childcare? 

Just the regular preschool they offered at her childcare. The hours were longer (and I needed them working full time) and my daughter was already settled there and had great friends there, and LOVED the carers! 

What is/was your child’s favourite thing about attending childcare?

She had a very close-knit group of friends there so that was probably the highlight – and despite all going to different schools now, we still see those friends and their parents regularly. 

What do you wish you had known before your child started childcare and/or school?

What an emotional rollercoaster it would be. Every milestone, every new room, carer…new school. As a single mum especially, every milestone is reached and often, like in my case, there was no other parent to share the joys with and to debrief.

If you had one piece of advice for other families with a child starting school, what would it be?

It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t know everything before starting school. I was very anxious about knowing if the time was right for my daughter to start school, and so were a lot of my friends. At the end of the day, all children start at slightly different points. Some know how to write their name, some don’t, some know the alphabet, some don’t. Some have excellent social skills, some have never been to childcare of preschool. All children are different, and they are there to learn. 

 

Learn more about our Preschool and Kindergarten Programs, and how we can help you and your child prepare for the exciting transition to school.


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