Lots of the following ideas will obviously depend on you and your child and the flexibility and communicative nature of the school they will be attending. Just choose the bits that are helpful!
Lots of kids (and of course their parents!) are very anxious about this big new change of starting school. It may be the cause of a huge bag of mixed emotions, both the excitement about growing up and moving onto the next step, and the sadness at watching them become more independent, that they don’t need us as much.
It’s a wonderful thing that they will be growing, learning, developing and building character but it’s definitely a whole new world.
- Lots of schools now offer a day-visit to allow the teacher to see the child, which is fantastic. Certainly take them up on this is offered.
- Go on a special and exciting trip together to buy uniform and essential items for starting school, such as a lunch box, new shoes, coat and stationery. Make it into an adventure rather than a chore and try to do it 1 on 1 without other little ones to distract attention.
On the day:
- If your child is particularly anxious, give them a little token to remember you by or bring their favourite teddy or blankie to school. The teacher should be fine with this.
- If you are allowed into the classroom which some schools allow this on the first day go in and show your child around, helping them to find something they want to play with and staying only as long as is really necessary. Help them find their coat peg and anything else that might be theirs e.g. a name tray, cubby hole etc and remind them of where the toilets are. The quicker you leave the easier it is for them to settle down and take their bearings on the new set up.
- Try not to cry in front of them ( wait till you get out the door, if your like me ) as this will upset and confuse them, especially as you’ve been telling them how great big school is and that they will love it! I now know how hard this will be myself, but hopefully if you’ve been to visit and are feeling reassured yourself, this will be far easier. If needed, say goodbye and go and have a good cry outside with a friend!
- Say hello to the other parents and arrange a meet up as soon as possible (maybe straight away for coffee!) All the other parents are in the same boat and also feeling a little unsure, and many will be looking to make friendships too. It’s just as important to build solid relationships with the other parents as it is for the kids to become friends, after all, you will probably be together for many years if the class progresses through the school together!
As the year progresses:
- Keep inviting a wide range of kids back to play at home or in the park, generally just one at a time, so lasting friendships can develop. This is particularly important if it turns out that your child is shy or taking longer to settle in social terms.
Its hard to see your little ones off on their first real adventures, But we hold our breaths & hope everything will go well on their first day and after. Being a mum of 3 and 2 have already been there its difficult but when the first day is down you don't look back.
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