20 Things I’ve Learnt As A School Run Dad During The First Term

L has just completed her first term in Reception. By association, that means I’ve just completed my first term as a school run dad. Although getting her from A to B on time is nothing new for me, the school run and being in the school playground is an entirely different beast.

I’ve actually found it to be a pretty steep learning curve. As she’s learnt about digraphs, blending and phonemes, I’ve been trying to figure out how to pay for a school trip via the online payment system, how to remove pen from a school jumper, what day she needs to take her book bag in and how to get out of the house with two kids on time without losing my shit.

We’ve managed though. I’ve just about sussed everything out (so far) and she’s absolutely loving school. She’s happy, she has fun, she’s learning, she has plenty of friends and she genuinely enjoys spending time there – so much so that she’s often a bit grumpy when she has to leave and come home with me!

Partly for nostalgia purposes and partly to provide ‘useful’ info for future parents of kids going into Reception, I wanted to share some of my observations from the school playground. So, here’s a list of 20 things I’ve learnt as a school run dad during the first term.

1) There’s nothing scarier than your kid’s teacher making a beeline for you in the playground and saying the sentence “can I have a little word with you please…?”.

2) No matter how long ago it was, there’s something about walking into a school that automatically makes you think and feel like a pre-pubescent child.

3) You’ll be unable to speak to the Head Teacher without feeling like you’ve done something wrong.

4) There’ll be one or two parents you recognise in the school playground, but you’ll have no idea where you recognise them from. Rather than risk the embarrassment of asking, you’ll instead conduct a massive audit of your personal, working and online lives in order to attempt to figure out who they are.

5) You will take a dislike to certain children – and therefore their parents by association – purely based on tales (which could or could not be true) that have been told to you by your kid.

6) You’ll try your hardest to remember the names of other parents, but will ultimately fail and end up referring to them as “Tarquin’s Mum” or “Octavia’s Dad”. This becomes a little awkward if on a school parent’s night out.

7) Despite the school playground still being dominated by mums, you’ll be surprised (or at least you will if your school is anything like ours) by just how many dads are around. Take that outdated gender stereotypes!

8) It won’t take long to realise why they call it the “school run” – no matter what time you get up in the morning, you’ll always end up leaving the house late and legging it through the playground to get there on time.

9) There is nothing less appealing than having to leave the house to walk your kid to school when it’s cold, raining and still dark. Roll on summer.

10) You’ll be forced to remortgage your house and sell a kidney in order to pay for all of the new school uniform that’s needed…

11) …which, in turn, will then annoyingly get forgotten and lost at school within the first week…

12) …although, you’ll soon discover that there’s no thrill greater in life than finding your kid’s school jumper in lost property having assumed that it was gone forever.

13) You’ll then have to sell your other kidney to pay for all of the unexpected school-related expenses – school trips, fundraising events and birthday parties of classmates, to name a few.

14) Your kid will be ill within a few days of starting school thanks to lurgy-carrying, bug-infested, germ-spreading classmates, then have a constant cough and runny nose for the rest of their time in primary and secondary education.

15) It is universally acknowledged that there is just one word that will strike fear into the hearts of any parent – Nits.

16) Once you find out that nits are in your kid’s class, you’ll find yourself scratching your head constantly after convincing yourself that you’ve caught them.

17) “Can’t remember” or “don’t know” will be your child’s standard response to any kind of inquiry from you as to what they’ve done at school or how their day has been.

18) You will be acutely aware of the strong possibility that you will cry in front of the teachers at parents evening when they talk about how your child is getting on at school. That is true of whether their comments are good or bad!

19) Talking about emotion, proudly watching your child in their first Nativity Play is like nothing you will have experienced since becoming a parent. All the feels.

20) You will be amazed and astounded at just how much your child has learnt and how far they’ve come in such a short space of time. Bravo teachers, bravo.

So those are 20 things I’ve learnt during my first term as a school run dad. Do any of these sound familiar? Is there anything you’d add to the list? Let me know!