Starting school.. advice from a Dinner Lady.

Next week and certainly the week after lots of little dears will be starting school. Some will be starting for the first time, some will be going to new schools, some are moving up a year. Everyone and their Great Auntie Edith will have advice for you, as a dinner lady I will be spending an hour a day every day with kids, at the time of day when if it’s going to go wrong, if there’s going to be a tantrum, if there’s going to be tears, that’s when it’ll be.

So to add to the deluge of advice, here’s my two penneth 🙂

*disclaimer this is not a reflection of anyone’s parenting skills, this is stuff I see every day.

  1. Your child will be fine. Yes they will.
  2. Name everything. To misquote Beyonce “if it has a label then you shoulda put their name on it..” Writing it on in biro will do. No need for fancy name tags. I can spend at least 10 minutes at the end of my shift trying to find the owners of the coats, jumpers, cardigans,  and lunch boxes that get strewn to the four winds. If it’s named then it gets returned. If it isn’t and I can’t find the child that owns it, then it goes in Lost Property and effectively disappears forever. If you bought a coat that was on offer at ASDA then so did 100 other mums. Same goes for Frozen lunch boxes…
  3. Check your kids PE/swimming kit every now and again to make sure it still fits. There is nothing worse than doing PE in borrowed kit..
  4. If your child is bringing lunch from home, then put in things they like, but don’t over fill it. I can guarantee you your child won’t eat as much as they do at home and whilst we will do all we can to encourage them to eat more, we can’t make them. They want to go out and play.
  5. Also if you want to put a little note in their lunch just saying “hope you are having a good day” or something then do so! Their faces are a picture when they find them and they tell anyone who will listen that you did it.
  6. Always send your child with a coat of some sort. If the weather is going to change from glorious sunshine to Hurricane force wind and rain, then halfway through dinnertime is when it will be.
  7. Don’t expect the shiny new uniform you bought them to be in it’s pristine state at the end of the first fortnight.. if the school don’t insist you buy from them/certain stores then go to the larger supermarkets and buy their stuff. At the school I work at they don’t mind if there isn’t a logo as long as it’s the right colour.
  8. If your child’s school uses a home/school diary then make sure you write in anything that you think the school needs to know.
  9. If you have put extra in their lunch for say an after school club snack, then please let the school know. That way the dinner ladies won’t be badgering them to eat their snack at lunchtime 🙂
  10. If your child should forget to bring their lunch bag home, make sure they remember the next day or grab it yourself. I know from personal experience that a lunch bag that has grown it’s own inhabitants is not pleasant…
  11. What your child will/won’t do at home is no reflection on what they will/won’t do at school. They are different little people at school just as you are different people at work/at the gym/with your friends.
  12. If you are worried about your little one using the toilet on time, send in a bag of spare clothes. That way if they do have an accident, they have their own things to change into. Tell the teacher what they are for.
  13. Read ALL the letters you get. Especially the ones about nits. The best cure I have found is to put cheap conditioner on dry hair. Leave it 10 minutes then comb with a nit comb. Rinse the remaining conditioner off and wash with just shampoo. Do that every other day until the little blighter’s have gone.
  14. Write important dates on your calender.. especially the ones where your child needs to take money in…
  15. If you can, hand in any money for dinners/trips/charity/dress down day/whatever yourself. Kids are good at losing money, even if it’s in an envelope.
  16. Things that happen to other kids are generally exaggerated. Johnny probably didn’t “CUT HIS FINGER OFF MUMMY!” he more likely had a paper cut..
  17. Did I mention your child will be fine? Seriously, 99 times out 100 they will be fine. If the 1 time occurs when they aren’t, the school will let you know.
  18. Yes you are entitled to cry your eyes out, your baby is going off into the world without you! and that goes for babies of all ages.. like 11 year olds going to High School. But..
  19. They Will Be Fine 😀

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