Last week I went back to school. My eldest daughter Caitlin turns four in August, which means she is starting school this September.
Just a few days after receiving the e-mail which gave confirmation of which Portsmouth infant school she will be attending, we were invited to a parents’ evening to have a look around her new daytime home for the next few years, and to also meet her new teacher.
Arriving at the school, my partner Serena and I were told to wander around and explore, which we did.
Although I’m sure classrooms were given an extra special clean before us parents arrived, I was really impressed at how clean the place was, especially as it is home to over 100 under-sevens every day.
The school looked just like you would expect it to – tiny tables and chairs where the children sit down to do their work, lots of paintings stuck to the walls with Blu Tack and boxes containing milk carton lids and crepe paper for arts and crafts.
Then we were invited into the school gymnasium where chairs (thankfully adult-size) were lined up for a presentation by the staff and head teacher.
We were told all about the school, curriculum and, of course, the all-important rules.
It got me thinking about those unwritten parent/child rules that everyone adheres to but aren’t often talked about.
These rules were imposed on my parents when I was at school, so I should be prepared for when my daughter enforces these.
For example, all parents need to know the transportation rule. When arriving you must park at least a road away from the school. It would be the end of the world if other kids saw you dropping them off.
Then there is the pet names rule. If you have a pet name for your child, maybe used as a term of endearment, this is for home-use only and must never be used in front of his or her friends as it will cause teasing in the playground.
You must also be aware of the clean face rule. If when arriving at school you notice a bit of breakfast on the face of your child, don’t try and wipe it off, just make them aware and they can do it themselves.
The most important rule that any parent should know is the performing rule.
Never ever sing or dance when in the company of your child and their friends, especially if it’s to a current chart song.
Parents are too old to know what is in the charts and this will embarrass your child forever. Of course these rules probably won’t kick in until the teenage years. So until then, while I can, I will of course do all these things.