Advice To My Daughter On Her First Day Of School

It really is a whole new world out there.

My sweet little girl. The big day is approaching. The day that I've been part dreading, part thrilled about and that you have been counting down to for months. I'm talking, of course, about your first day of Big School.

You've been practicing putting on your school shoes and packing your lunchbox into your school bag. You've done no fewer than three fashion parades around the lounge room in your new uniform. You know your letters and how to write your name, you are probably better at making friends than anyone else I know and you have no problem following instructions most of the time (as long as I'm not the one delivering them). I know you're ready for this and, most days, I'm ready for it too.

It really is a whole new world out there. You'll need to learn new routines, get to know your new teacher and friends, and find your way from your classroom to the toilets, playground and library.

There'll be a new hierarchy, and you'll no longer be the big fish in the little pond, but I don't think that will be an issue -- you're not easily intimidated and big kids seem to love your chattiness and sense of humour.

There will be a lot of rules. Some you'll be familiar with from daycare (yep, you'll still need to wear a hat to play) and some will be new to you. I don't doubt that you'll pick them up pretty quickly.

But sweetheart, I have some rules of my own for you, and I think these are just as important as anything you'll learn in the classroom.

Be a friend. Not just to the kids you play with every day, but to anyone who looks like they need it. If you see a kid sitting by themselves at lunch or someone who looks like they're having a rough day, reach out to them. Say "Hi" and ask if they want to play or have a chat. It might just make their day all better. And be kind to your friends -- filling their bucket with kindness and happiness will fill yours too.

Be you. Every kid at your school is different in one way or another, and they're all exactly who they are meant to be. Same goes for you -- you're exactly who you are meant to be, and you're awesome. Don't try to change to fit in with anyone, and don't ever hesitate to be yourself. If anyone doesn't like you just how you are, that's their problem, not yours. Not everyone will want to be your friend and that's totally okay. You're such a bright star... fun, clever, caring, good-hearted and really funny. Just keep shining, kiddo.

Be open to learning. You've got an incredible, curious, inquisitive mind. It's one of my absolute favourite things about you. School is going to blow your mind! But learning isn't just done in the classroom. Learn about your friends, learn about different places and cultures and religions and ways of life, learn about history and the future, learn about other people's thoughts and opinions. Read books, lots of them. They're fun and they make you smart. Ask questions. And if there are ever any questions you don't feel you can ask your teachers, ask your dad or I. You can ask us anything and we'll always do our best to give you an informed and honest answer.

Your daddy and I will always, ALWAYS have your back if you say no to something that doesn't feel right.

It's okay to say no. This one's really important. Your daddy and I will always, ALWAYS have your back if you say no to something that doesn't feel right. You've got a little voice inside you and it's there to help steer you in the right direction. If you hear that voice getting louder, don't ignore it, act on it. If you see someone being teased, if something makes you feel uncomfortable in a yukky way, or if someone is trying to make you do something you don't want to do, say no. We will always have your back on this one, even if it's a grown up. Just to be clear, I'm not talking about things like doing homework or cleaning your room here sweetheart... these are your responsibilities and are non-negotiable. I'm talking about words or actions that make you or someone else feel bad, sick or uncomfortable. Listen to that voice inside and say no. Say it loud if you have to, scream it if you have it. It's okay to say no.

Everywhere you go in life, every new level you reach, will come with its own set of expectations and I'm confident that we've given you the tools you need to adapt to each new environment. But these rules are the ones that will apply in every situation, no matter where life takes you. Be a friend, be you, be open to learning and be confident in saying no, and enjoy the journey. I can't wait to see where it takes you.