Oh the playground, just when you thought you’d left it all behind, you became a parent and bang, you’re back there again.
For some mums, the playground is a joyous area. They can chat with friends, organise school events and feel a part of it. For others, it’s hell. Here’s our mini guide to things you’ll only know if you’re a playground parent:
Most schools will have a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of some sort. These are generally run by a super hero of a mum, who seems to know everyone and can pull off amazing school events, keep the children happy and the parents too. But remember, school events only come off with a great team of helpers and as appealing as it is to just attend them but not take part, without the help of many the events simply won’t happen and the school misses out on valuable extra funds.
Being part of the PTA is a great way to meet other school mums and learn more about your school. If you’re busy or don’t feel comfortable taking part in big events, there are stacks of things that happen behind the scenes. From sending emails, to writing or designing leaflets or even wrapping bears for the tombola. You don’t have to be at the forefront to help out, speak to the mums or dads in charge and see where your skills could help.
Generally, your child will tell you they want a playdate with a new friend. More often than not, you’ll be greeted by two smiling faces telling you they want their new friend to come and play and can it happen, now?
It can feel daunting having the responsibility of someone else’s child in your home. Try not to worry too much. Set clear pick up and drop off instructions, so you know what’s happening and you can always invite the other mum round for coffee if you don’t think they’ll settle, or if you’re worried that your child might struggle.
Each school is different and each has its own way of doing things. Some have one big playground, some have multiple. Some allow the parents to walk their child in, some have them leave their child at an inner gate.
You’ll often find that there’s a different process for each year they’re at school as well, with the child taking on more responsibility and having more freedom as they move through the years.
If you’re new to the school or you’re unsure, it’s always good to speak to another mum or check with the teacher, especially if your child is moving up to a new class or switching years.
There’s nothing worse than being stood in your usual spot, only to find that your child doesn’t come out and they’re over the other side of the building.
One of the biggest changes to the playground and school life is the introduction of social media. Now, many schools have a Facebook page or group that shares all the information about the school from events, openings and closures and achievements or warnings.
Check if your school has a group or page and join to keep up to date with everything. You may also find that newsletters have gone digital, with a lot of schools using parent pay to manage all parent communication, payments and notifications. If you’re not up to speed, pop into the office and ask them to take you through it.