back to school a complete guide four walls rainy days cork ireland

We’re not in back-to-school mode at the Rainy Days house; thankfully E is quite settled in his creche having now properly made the move to the Waddling Ducks room – no longer the youngest – and being there throughout the summer. It does make such a difference that he is not only happy to go there each day, but that he genuinely seems to have a good relationship with the wonderful creche workers who keep him entertained, safe, fed, and nurtured throughout the day. He’s gotten to the stage where he is happy to run in the door, not looking back apart from to wave me off as if my presence would be ruining his fun in his Mammy free zone.

However, my entire Facebook feed is taken up by Back To School – it appears that everyone around me is a couple of steps ahead. Tearful goodbyes, last minute dashes for forgotten lunch boxes and grumps about itchy uniform socks lie ahead for much of the people whose lives I watch go by on my Facebook feed and in the blogs I’m a regular reader of. At the same time, a wealth of knowledge is emerging from some of my favourite parenting bloggers, many of them Irish, on a variety of topics around going back to school, or starting for the first time. I thought a roundup was in order, to have the best advice all in one place available to anyone who is looking at a tiny uniform or a little schoolbag and wondering “How exactly does all this work?”, so I’ve put together a little something today. Hopefully you will find them useful – and get to discover more amazing parenting bloggers in the meantime!

There are some new starters to primary school (and new parents to the process) which are really beautiful pieces that are very relatable – anyone sending a child to childcare of any kind for the first time can likely resonate with a lot of what is being said. It’s a real game changer sending your child off for the whole day, to somewhere they’ll learn and grow and be influenced by teachers and others who you have no real control over filtering – that can be quite scary a thought to process! Sending her two girls off for the first time is Sadhbh from Where Wishes Come From, and she writes a rather sweet and thoughtful post on the thoughts she had on the night before their first day of school. Andrea from Office Mum is sending her baby boy off to play school and is questioning his readiness while knowing she’s not ready for him to head off into growing up just yet, it’s a really lovely piece that makes me want to snuggle my little man a little tighter. Muuka from Another Drop of Ink is reflecting on her daughter’s graduation from creche, all set for big school, air pollution and emotions galore.

From the more seasoned school-goer parents, there is a wealth of advice available, all of which I’m bookmarking for future reference. Sara from Where Is My Mind Gone has some excellent tips for new starters to play school and primary school (and their parents!) here. They’re sure to help make the transition a lot easier for all involved – she’s been through it twice! Another dab hand at this back to school game is Elizabeth from Life at Hushabye Farm who has compiled a comprehensive list of tips for working parents who may be struggling to juggle everything and make sure everyone is out the door, fully dressed and lunches with them by 9am! The very funny The Clothesline has a comprehensive survival guide to homework with small kids that if you’ve ever tried doing homework, you’ll be nodding along to vehemently. And just in case you’re still getting ready and aren’t back until next week, Sinead from Bumbles of Rice has a step by step guide to preparing for Back To School. That lot should definitely have you feeling a bit more confident by the end!

A vital bit to get right in the back to school transition is lunches – you need to make sure your kids are eating healthy food and enough of it, while adhering to the policies each school has. For this, there is tons of inspiration out there, some more airy fairy than others. While videos like this one show you how to spend five hours making a lunch which is likely to be ignored (broccoli, really?), Sinead from Bumbles of Rice has a much more down to earth and child friendly attitude towards school lunches. She shares her tips here (there is no broccoli in her kids’ lunch boxes. Promise.) Jill from Proper Fud similarly has a no-nonsense guide to feeding your kids things they’ll eat and that fit into healthy eating policies – including the odd cheese string, which are a definite hit in this house (also carrots, but no broccoli, it’s okay). Laura from Confessions Of An Irish Mammy gives a rundown of what will be filling her boys lunch boxes here. Speaking of the lunch boxes, a vital part of school kit – if you’re looking for a personal touch to your kids lunches, a unique lunch box is the way to go. Ali from HeyAliBlog gets crafty with her chalkboard lunch box love notes, while Sadhbh from Where Wishes Come From has been checking out Zazzle’s personalised lunch boxes for her twins starting school, and Sinead at Bumbles of Rice has one to give away to a lucky reader if you like the look of them!

Of course, while being back to school means a quieter house during the day, and this may be enjoyable to some after a long summer of rain, silly arguments and pent up kids energy, you’re not really meant to admit that up front, something Tric from My Thoughts on A Page found out when she had miscalculated just how long it would be until her youngest went back to school (I am likely to totally be that mother too). You might also relate to the ladies in this video (though perhaps with less themed t-shirts).


Hopefully this lot will have you all prepared for the transition back into the classroom, whether it be the first time or your tenth. Best of luck, try not to cry, and remember – 8 weeks until Halloween break!

Have you got any tips or tricks for back to school that we’ve missed here? Do you put broccoli in your kids lunch box? Are you all ready for the big first day, or has it happened already? Let me know in the comments below!


I’ve been thinking about sending my little boy to school lately, and how the system in Ireland currently is wrong when it comes to the requirements of faith to gain an education – check out my bit of a rant here, and let me know what you think about it all.

While you’re at it, check me out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin.

17 Comments on Back To School; Compiling the Complete Guide

    • You’re welcome, loved your post! Hopefully others will gain useful tips from it, I certainly did! Good luck with the return to school, and thanks for reading 🙂

  1. Luckly we dont have to faff about sticking to the utterly ridicilous rules of the school lunchs. We all have cooked dinners in the school little man is going to. The rules on packed lunches is stupid…. No chocolate bars but can take in ribena carton or fruit shoot!!!

    • Some of the rules are crazy alright – we had a tuck shop in secondary school that refused to sell jellies because they made us “hyper” yet installed a coffee machine… Nonsense.

  2. The summer went by so quickly, my kiddies are back to school next week. It’s hard to see them go but they need the structure back again. Lunches is definitely challenging – packing healthy food is one thing, them eating it is another. x

    • The structure is good and they’ll be used to it again in no time! Yes I have yet to see a kid who will happily eat salad for lunch in school – I was the child who wanted cheese strings (despite not liking cheese) because everyone else had them, and I think that is a big part of it too.

  3. Great stuff Lisa, reads like a Sunday Read school round up almost, maybe you could double post! We are nowhere near there yet, as no plans for creche on the horizon just yet, but today, it took me almost an hour just to get myself, herself and her myriad of distractions out the door. ugh. staying in tomorrrow!

  4. Brilliant post – I do feel a bit of a veteran if I am honest with one child in second year of Uni, one going into year 11 and one going into year 9!Pickle starts in January 🙂 Kaz x

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