I have done the first day of Kindy a fair few times as a teacher. When my eldest started school earlier this year I learned that starting school is a WHOLE NEW BALLGAME from a parenting perspective. Here are some of my starting school tips to help you navigate the Brave New World of Big School with your little scholar.

Let’s begin by talking lunch boxes.

If I had a dollar for every time a Kindy student told me, during those first few weeks of Big School, that they had eaten ALL their food at first break and now had nothing to eat at second break, well, I’d be semi-retired from teaching.

Starting School Tips: Lunch boxes

• What designated eating times are scheduled at your child’s Big School? In the weeks before school starts, try and have your children eat at the same times as the school bells. My kids seem to think that I run a smorgasbord restaurant open 24/7 so this was an interesting transition for them. Also a good/ sneaky chance to do some learning about telling the time.

• Familiarise your little with the language used by the school. Is it little lunch? Or recess? Or Break 1?

• Make sure your kids practise eating from their lunch boxes. Explicitly explain what is in each compartment and when it is to be eaten. “The food in the big section is for Big Lunch, the food in the little section is for Recess.”

• The above step is also super important for checking to see which containers or packaging they have difficulty opening. Sometimes kids just need to be shown how to open something. Sometimes we might just have to modify how we give the food.

I KEEP FORGETTING TO PACK A SPOON FOR THE YOGHURT! Hello teachable moment! A good chance to discuss with your child what they would do if this happened at school. Who would they approach? How would they ask for help? Model and practise some sentence starters with your child.

• This is also the perfect opportunity to discuss with your child the types of food they would like to see in their lunch box. I’ve been told that if an orange slice appears for Crunch and Sip then it WILL NOT be eaten. Okay, noted.

• Don’t stress! PLAYING at lunch time is just as important as eating. I’m pretty sure most of us didn’t eat everything in our lunch boxes as kids, and we all lived to tell the tale.

•  I basically live on the Goodie Goodie Lunchbox website. SO many simple, nutritious and WINNING ideas for lunch boxes.