Back To School Season: 22 things your child’s teacher would like you to know

Advice from Stacey Turner, author of ‘I’m Going To Nursery’ (part of the My Tiny Books series), parent, teacher and childhood/separation anxiety expert.

Is your child starting primary school in September?

As a teacher, we can help settle, support and teach other children, but as a parent, when it comes to your own child, it’s a whole different ball game! Here, Stacey Turner offers a wish list of points that teachers would love to share with new parents, including important tips to aid a smooth transition for you and your child as they start school after the long summer break that are particularly useful for those parents who are new to the whole ‘school’ thing!

  1. Remember your teacher is human too and doesn’t have magical powers, but he/she is an incredible person with a lot of patience and ready to start settling the class.
  2. Never underestimate the value in a nutritionally balanced breakfast and a good night’s sleep for a successful day ahead.
  3. The school uniform promotes a feeling of inclusiveness, so please ensure your child turns up on the first day with all appropriate uniform.
  4. PE kits are just as important as the uniform, so having this ready from the first day places an importance on PE and propagates responsibility. When buying trainers, if your child can’t do laces, please buy good Velcro ones you know your child can easily put on and off.
  5. Ensure everything of your child’s is labelled clearly.
  6. Be as organised as you can! It helps if your child turns up ready with everything they need for the day. Many parents choose to organise most things the night before.
  7. Ensure your teacher and teaching assistants are aware of any medical needs. Please don’t assume they know, your teachers want to hear the details from you to ensure correct care is provided.
  8. While transitional objects are important for settling and soothing, please do not send your child in with treasured possessions. Teachers can’t be held responsible for returning them at the end of each day.
  9. If you need to discuss your child, please ask to have a couple of minutes’ one-to-one as morning drop-off or pick-up times are not ideal for a private conversation.
  10. If you have an anxious child or a child known to suffer from separation anxiety, let your teachers know so they can work with you to help at drop-off, especially if it’s causing you to get upset too. There are lots of techniques to put in place to offer support for a softer start.
  11. Remember your teacher/s want your child to settle as much as you do!
  12. It’s a nice idea to practice eating in a dining room scenario with a little tray, plate, cup and cutlery. Leave a little space for the pudding! Show them how to clear away, throw leftovers in the bin, place cutlery away to be washed etc. If your child is taking a packed lunch, please ensure you’re sending in containers that can be opened by your child and packing that is easily opened.
  13. Soon your child will be given a reading journal and will be bringing home books. You need to sign this to show your child’s teacher/s they’re being read and can be changed. Get used to reading with your child as much as possible and from the world around them, such as road signs and menus, tracing and creating letters in any way you can through art and creative play.
  14. Reading is an important part of every day; if your child is irritable, read to them to distract them.
  15. Check your child’s bag daily, teachers often have a communication diary and pop any notes and even party invitations in the bag.
  16. We beg you not to compare your child to others, every child learns at their own pace, so be guided by your own child. School readiness is NOT just about being able to read phonetically and count.
  17. Keep your child at home if he or she is poorly!
  18. We must mention nits! It’s a good idea to wash your child’s hair with an appropriate nit deterrent shampoo and please check your child’s hair regularly.
  19. Be prepared at pick-up with snacks to tide them over on the journey home or to their after-school activity. They will be hungry and quite often irritable! Having a snack helps to not only settle hunger, but hopefully calm and soothe any pent-up tension from having to behave all day!
  20. Prepare for after-school meltdowns by understanding how hard it is for a 4/5-year-old to hold it together all day. Don’t overload your child with lots of after-school activities or play dates, give them time to settle in and give them the space to wind down, relax and get used to the school routine.
  21. With starting school comes forming friendships and learning about relationships. If your child comes home and is sad about another child/other children, please speak to your teacher/s, while you’re urged not to take things too literally, your child’s emotional and social skills are emerging and we want to ensure your child is nurtured through this.
  22. Trust us! If you have any problems, go and talk to your child’s teacher/school immediately. Any teething issues can be resolved, so don’t hesitate! Any teacher worth their weight knows the importance of effective communication and teaming up with the parents.

Asda’s NSPA range continues to wow us…

We were raving about the Mother and Baby range from nspa at Asda earlier in the year and now, seemingly,  they are doing equally great things with their Beauty Rituals collection of cleansers, facial oils and moisturisers.

Whilst the packaging on the products might be basic the ingredients and performance are making beauty editors and rival brands sit up and take note.

Allure mag might have banned the term ‘anti ageing’ but we’re pretty glad of the age defying Bouncy Night Cream (named after its voluptuous texture) and Smoothing Day Cream with SPF15. Or their Nourishing Facial Oil – which is brilliant for perking up skin when you’ve had a night on the prosecco and need to look vaguely less like a zombie for the school run.

The average price of the nspa range is about a fiver – so zilch guilt factor – but looking at the whole range they have ‘versions’ of a lot of  well-known ‘hero brand’ wonder products – so it is worth being curious and putting things like their Hot Cloth Polish and Flash Serum to the test, we reckon…

#Bakeitforbabies with The Lullaby Trust this November

Sign up now for the Lullaby Trust’s ‘Bake it for Babies’ fundraiser, which runs from 6-12th November.

Everyone who signs up will receive a free fundraising pack full of all the ingredients they need to cook up the best of bake sales. And, even better, once the date and location of your event are confirmed you’ll also receive a free Lullaby Trust t-shirt and cake toppers.

TV presenter Angelica Bell, is super excited to support the cause and has come on board as the campaign ambassador. She said ‘I absolutely love baking, especially with my children, so you’ll often find me trying out new recipes and adding my own special touch. The money raised from Bake it for Babies will help to save lives … what better excuse to eat more cake?!’

The Lullaby Trust has been committed to this cause for over 45 years, during which they have played an integral role in reducing the number of babies who die by 85% since 1991. The charity receives no government funding, making events like this so very important.

For more info: 

SM reviews… I Sea Pasta from Seamore food

I Sea Pasta looks like tagliatelle but is 100% wild, handpicked and organic seaweed from Connomara, Ireland. It is a fresh sea vegetable ready to be used as pasta, veggies or anything in between.

SM tester writes: “If pasta made from seaweed sounds super-duper healthy to you also, then like me, you’ll probably leave it at the back of the cupboard for a while whilst pondering how to cook it. But it is actually super versatile; you can do more or less anything you’d do with regular pasta (although maybe not carbonara!) I played it safe with cherry tomatoes and a bit of seafood… 

I’ll warn you, whilst this stuff is cooking your kitchen will smell like a fishing boat coming in to harbour – but this fades by the time it has drained and you’ve served. 

The taste is (predictably) quite salty; but nice (assuming you like samphire, oysters or other sea-fare. It looks great on a plate so is definitely a talking point – and packed with iron, iodine, potassium and protein.

And btw, if you think seaweed pasta is weird, Seamore food also make seaweed bacon!”

Quick Book Review: an A-Z of Monsters and Magical Beings

‘An A-Z of Monsters and Magical Beings’ by Rob Hodgson and Aidan Onn is published by Laurence King and is an imaginatively illustrated guide to mythical creatures (from aliens and banshees to zombies).

“I really like monsters so I thought this book was cool. It tells you about how vampires sleep in coffins and dragon’s blood makes your breath smell bad if you drink it. My favourite is the werewolf cos he looks a bit like my Dad…” 

(Reviewed by Luke, aged 4)

Chiltern railways launch the first ever kids’ coach

Oh gosh – what a genius idea – well, for anyone who has been on the wrong side of tutting and ‘sssh-ing’ whilst on a train with their kids anyhow!

The dedicated family-friendly carriage – complete with classic family games, arts and crafts, music, and on-board entertainers performing magic tricks – is being trialled this week as part of Chiltern’s summer holiday campaign which aims to make a family visit to London special from the minute they board the train.

Peter Williams, Interim Commercial Director at Chiltern Railways, said:

 “We wanted to provide a space where kids can be kids and families can enjoy spending time together. If you travel by car, kids can spend so much time staring at the back of their parent’s heads, but a train journey, especially the kid’s coach, provides a great opportunity to bond, play and make memories together.”

“It’s summer, a time for fun, and we want to hear the sounds of children laughing and having fun on our services. We created the Kid’s Coach to help make their summer holiday one they will talk about for years to come.

Chiltern Railways’ ‘Kid’s Coach’ is available on a first-come, first-served basis on the 10.55 Silver Train from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone on Wednesday 9th, Thursday 10th and Friday 11th August only. The service will also pick up passengers at Solihull, Warwick Parkway, Leamington Spa, Banbury and High Wycombe before arriving in London at 12.42. If successful, the carriage may continue to be a feature on board selected Chiltern Railways trains this summer.

it will be better than this, we promise!

Families travelling from other stations on the Chiltern line, needn’t fear missing out. Station staff will also be giving out Kid’s Activity Packs with a word search, colouring in and plenty more to keep them entertained.

The Chiltern Family Travelcard* covers family return trips to London, plus unlimited journeys on London’s tube and buses. Prices between Birmingham/Oxford and Haddenham and Thame Parkway are as follows: 1 adult + 1 child = £25, 2 adults + 1 child = £49 and every additional child (up to 4) = £1. To book, visit

Our pick of Frugi’s new Mother range

PJ bottoms £39

If you love how snuggly your kids are in Frugi, you’ll be desperate to wrap your bump (or post-baby belly) in their new Mother range of maternity and nursing clothes – which are also made from organic cotton and feature delightfully ditzy prints (just like their childrenswear).

We’re loving the meadow print PJ’s – which are so cute we could easily rock them to the corner shop (if not the school run!) and the Rosa raglan top in super flattering grey and garnet.

Shop the full range online here.

Rosa raglan top £40

Highland Spring’s #BraveByNature project encourages us to stay hydrated

image: The Grocer

Highland Spring have worked with the National Hydration Council to raise awareness of the fact that optimum hydration helps families boost attention and generally achieve more.

Sound like common sense, sure… But how many of us just forget to take a sip of water because we are rushing around packing swimming kit or tying shoelaces for our kids. How many times have you reminded your children to sip water today? Probably none because you’ve been too busy going bananas that they’ve emptied the LEGO box out for the millionth time.

Seemingly though, you don’t have to consume Gwyneth-like quantities of water to boost concentration but start by popping a bottle of two in your changing bag and see if you notice the difference.

Here are the National Hydration Council’s findings:

  • A recent study carried out by psychologists at the University of East London and the University of Westminster shows that drinking just 300ml of water (slightly over half a small bottle of water) can boost attention by almost 25%.
  • After drinking 300ml, thirst was satisfied and reports of “good mood” increased by almost 20%.
  • A similar study in 2012 found that University foundation year students who took a bottle of water into an exam scored an average of 5% higher than those who did not have water. Only 25% of students in the study entered the exam hall with a bottle of water.
  • Kids need more water in relation to their body size than bigger people.
  • Kids don’t always recognise when they’re thirsty, so it’s best to encourage good drinking habits early.
  • Sipping throughout the day is the best way to ensure hydration needs are met.
  • It can be harder for kids to concentrate when they’re dehydrated.
  • Studies have shown that kids who drink a litre of water over the course of a school day have better short-term memory and generally perform better than those who don’t.
  • And apparently… Water at mealtimes can help children tolerate vegetables!

Bugaboo unveil their new high performance rain cover

As a brand, Bugaboo constantly strives to push their designs to the aesthetic and functional limits, so clearly when it comes to creating a rain hood, they haven’t settled for a poorly fitting bit of plastic and velcro to keep junior passengers dry in their buggies.

Bugaboo High Performance Rain Cover in sky blue £52.95

Their High-Performance rain cover not only fits the stroller like a glove and has mesh vents so that your bundle of joy has a circulation of fresh air, but it cunningly also folds down into a handy carry sac – so no more dripping water in the hallway when you come to take it off.

The zipper on this rain hood is in the middle – so you can easily extract a sleeping child without waking or getting them wet. And finally – as if you needed more convincing – the hood itself is made from PVC-free material.

The BugabooHigh-Performance Rain Cover is available for all current Bugaboo strollers in September 2017 in the colours black and sky blue.

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