tips for being a new school mum

This year I become a  new school mum. Twice actually because I have a boy going off to a new school and my baby girl starting school for the first time. I have no nerves or worries about my big boy but oh have I been kept up late at night worrying about my little miss. What will she do before the bell goes? How will she tell me about her day? What if someone hurts her? And I hardly know anyone at the school and no other new families going into kindy. That can make me nervous too. Thing is it’s exactly how I felt sending my first daughter off to school when I was convinced she might run away during morning tea.

And I should be an old pro but I do have some tips and advice if you are a new school mum this year and sometimes it means going out of your comfort zone or doing things that you usually wouldn’t do.

Firstly you are going to go to the events. The morning teas, the class nights, the birthday parties, the assemblies (when you can, I struggle with assemblies because of preschool times but rest assured when you do go to assembly your child won’t get an award and when you don’t go they will get an award. It has become the story of my life so far).

Secondly you are going to volunteer. Not for everything but pick one thing or two. Read the newsletter, sign up for something that takes your fancy (or not) but the best way to meet other mums and feel settled into school is to volunteer and get involved. Canteen, P&F, Mother’s Day Stall, covering books in the library, working bees, helping with reading, teaching a new skill, setting up and so on. You’ll make lovely friends, know exactly what is happening at school and be able to contribute. This year I’ll try not to overcommit as we are at 3 schools and 1 preschool but look forward to helping out and getting involved. So step up. And if you work there are always opportunities to do things from home like covering books, sending emails, running spreadsheets and so on. Life is busy but it’s important to show our children that we care about where they go to school and want to help out.

Thirdly you’re going to smile and say hi. If you think people aren’t being friendly it might be that they are nervous too so there is no harm in always smiling and starting up a conversation if you see another new mum. I do this and sure small talk isn’t for everyone but I bet you’ve got the same worries and things going on. As children get older I tend to use carline but walking your child in every day is a great way to strike up conversations and meet other parents.

You are also going to put everything in your diary. Library day, sports day, special events, P&F etc. You might think you won’t forget but sometimes life gets in the way. Notes get signed and returned the next morning. Library bags and books in the same spot. Hats and shoes near the front door for the next morning. And just so you know, every family has someone who will lose everything. Just keep it in mind. We have our one.

And you’re also going to organise a playdate /coffee morning if your child has made a friend. In the first year of school as hard as it might sound it’s really worthwhile inviting the whole class to your child’s birthday party. It’s a great way for your child to make friends and also for you to make friends with other families and especially when they get invited to birthday parties and you don’t know the family. We don’t do sleepovers as a rule in our family but getting to know the families when you start school makes decisions about playdates, staying over etc much easier when you know the family.

Lastly you are going to try not to stress or worry that it’s taking time. The best friendships don’t happen overnight. Put mums numbers in your phone, remember their names, be friendly and keep it light and happy.

What to do when you think you have no friends at school? Some schools do it better than others. Some schools are more friendly and welcoming than others. There are more introductory events, caring class parents and a real focus on building community. I’ve found small schools to be really amazing. When my big girl started kindy I made some beautiful friends that I’m still in touch with now. It was a small community and very caring. Our current schools go out of their way to have morning teas, class parents who plan events each term including the dads and lots of functions. Some big schools are so big and you might feel that people already have a clique or everyone has someone to talk to or they are not very friendly. It’s easy to make negative talk in our head and think that we have no friends. This is when taking a deep breath and getting involved in the school and going to the events is even more important. There is always someone who feels like you so stay positive, stay close to the school and be involved and just keep that smile on your face.

And now I’ll just tell myself that advice as I send 5 of my little ones off to school and preschool next week.

What’s your best advice?


  1. great advice. I’m one for just getting out there and doing it – can be hard if you are not that social! Then they get to high school with 3000 other students and you totally give up! My school though 9where I work) has zero parent helpers and 65 kids with 95 books still out from 2015 and I’ll give up on that too and we’ll start again – better books in homes which have few.
    Good luck with new schools etc!

  2. How exciting for you, and scary too.When my kids were at school, each night at dinner we had to tell, three good things that happened to us each day. It seemed to make anything that might have been bad disappear into the background. I also joined and helped in all school activities. Although now 21 and 23 years old, if I ask for three good things, they can still find them. Enjoy the start of your year Corrie x

  3. Joining a new school in a non large intake year (we have just done it in year 4 – years 3/5/7 are the big intake years) is tough, really tough. It’s taken me a year but I have a few new friends, ones I can call on for care if I need it in the holidays (and we have for the first time needed it!). Smi’le at pickup, say hello, don’t join in a conversation unless invited, see if you can spot a common with another mum or child – dog play dates are a great ice breaker in a new school, comment on a top or necklace ‘gosh I really like that colour on you’ is a good one… You can even ask the teacher if she knows if any of the other mums are knitters or crafty or play tennis or what ever your interests are.
    When you put the mums numbers in your phone, put the child’s name in brackets next to it and NEVER assume the Mum has the same surname as the child!!!
    To get to know the parents, I’ve found the best way is by being class parent or coordinator. Send a note home with each child or an email via the teacher ‘Amelia’s mum, Kate, has volunteered to be class parent this year, please email her on XX@baofn with your details (name/address/email/mobile) if you wish to be included with class communications, play dates, mums nights out and dads days’ or something like that then pencil in a morning just before school returns each term for a meet up at a park for the kids to get the sillies out seeing their friends before school starts. Have a celebratory ‘we survived the year dinner’ for the mums or even something mid way through and do a dad and kid picnic or walk and bbq (you do the bbq at the end of the walk). Car Rally’s are another good thing for dads and golf days or sailing.
    Enjoy your year, how odd only having one baby home for you! I hope E settles into her new school, she certainly looks like she has enjoyed orientation. We head into year 5 this year and have our fingers crossed it’s better than year 4.

  4. chrisitne says:

    I have to ask… how on earth did you manage the daytime events (stalls/canteen etc) when you had several kids under school age? I’m a first time mum this year (from next monday!!) and the school has said that the only real parent-volunteer activity that is suitable for parents with kids under school age is sports stuff… setting up for your kid’s class and then a bit of participation. (as the littler ones can run around too). Each grade does attend the daily Parish Mass once a week, so that will be something that I can go to with the three under school-age.

    We don’t have class parents, and I feel a bit exhausted at the idea of being involved in the P&F (there are mums and dads with much more enthusiasm).

    Thanks for the tips though – I am thinking ahead to his 6th Birthday (during the Easter Holidays) and have marked in my diary mid-term to start asking him about which new friends to invite.


    • canteen I’ve never been able to do so instead I was their treasurer and did all the books, paid the chqs and did the spreadsheet. Also at the time was on welcoming committee so we’d plan the cocktail party and I managed the spreadsheet again as it was a job I could do at home. Next school I was class parent as you do most from home with emails etc. You just find what you can do when you see it in the newsletter and you find out that most people bring little kids with them. I always found it funny when a mum with one 4 year old would tell me she couldn’t help with anything as she had a child at home and I knew all the other mums had at least 1 or 2 little kids at home too. It’s always the busy mums who help:)

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