The very first day of -big school’ is an enormous milestone for your child, and your family. You will probably be excited, nervous, and so proud you feel like you might burst, and your child is probably feeling plenty of mixed emotions too. The good news is that there are things you can do before – and on – the big day, to help the transition to go a little more smoothly.
Getting Used to the Idea
If you have older children, your child will probably have a good idea about what school is all about. However, only children, or children who are the eldest in the family, wont’ have anything to refer to. School is merely a word to them, and that can be scary. If that is the case in your family, try to prepare them for school by reading books about going to school, or watching movies where children are in school together. Your child can ask questions, and you can answer them, and it will take some of the mystery out of what happens on the big day!
Arrange To Visit Class Before School Starts
Many schools these days have orientation programs, which happen before the actual school year starts. It is a good idea to attend these programs or to arrange to visit your child’s class before school officially starts, so that they can start to get acclimatised.
Becoming familiar with their teacher, the building and the room that they will be in during school hours before the chaos of the first day of the school year can really help your child to relax before their big day.
Start Your School Routine Early
Until they start school, many children have a less structured routine. If your child is not used to getting up in time for school, getting dressed and eating their breakfast at a particular time, then its worth starting your school routine a few days before they are due to actually start school.
Make Sure You Are All Well Rested
One of the most important things for your child’s learning ability is for them to have enough sleep. For most children, that means eight to ten hours of sleep every night. If they’re not already keeping a school-friendly sleep schedule, then you need to make sure that you start getting them used to going to sleep at the right time every night, a few days before they start school.
There’s nothing worse than running around the day before school starts, looking for a missing piece of a school uniform, or trying to buy school supplies! Get a list of everything your child will need for school well in advance, and take your time making sure that your child has everything he or she needs for the first day. You should also wash and iron their clothes the day before the first day, and pack their school bag the night before, so that there’s no rushing the next morning, trying to find missing items.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
In order to stay focused in a new situation like school, your child needs to eat a nutritious breakfast. Make sure that on the first day, and all the days after it, your child eats a balanced and healthy breakfast. You can also plan and pack healthy snacks and meals for school the night before, so that you can rest assured that your child will be well fed at school.
Talk to Your Child
If your child has been attending day care, then he or she may have some idea of what goes on in school, but remember that day care is a lot less structured than school!
Spend some time talking to your child, explaining that in big school, children need to pay attention to their teacher in class, raise their hands when they want to talk, and stay in their seats unless they’re told otherwise. You could even try playing a game of pretend at home, where you take turns being the teacher, and the school pupil.
If your child finds the first day of school overwhelming, don’t be too worried. It can be a lot to take in, and anything that’s new is difficult for most children to adjust to. Be supportive, be involved, and in a few days or weeks, your child should be used to their new routine, and ready for the next twelve years of school!
– Tamara Aspeling