Preparing for Your Child’s First Day At School can be a tricky time for you and them
Talk to your child
Your child may be anxious about what to expect on the first day at school.
If so, one way of helping them is to talk through their fears:
Don’t dismiss any as too trivial or silly even the smallest thing can be very worrying to children.
• Explain the sort of things they will do, and for how long.
Answer questions and iron out any fears. A good way is to ask them what they think school will be like.
• Emphasise the things they may enjoy doing
• Tell them who will be there to meet them after school
Don’t dismiss your child’s fears – things that seem obvious or silly to an adult can seem like terrible obstacles to a five-year old or even an eleven or twelve-year-old embarking on their first day at secondary school..
Practicing for School Life
If children have a good idea of what school is going to be like and have already experienced learning activities at home and in other settings, they’re less likely to find the experience stressful.
Games, role-plays and reading at home can help your child get into the right frame of mind and boost their confidence.
Activities for your child could include:
• Play games that involve taking turns or speaking in front of a group
• Playing with children of a similar age will help your child to develop social skills.
• If you know of other children who will be starting school at the same time, invite them round so there are some familiar faces and they will have a small friendship group already.
• Read books about starting school
• Use your child’s favourite toys to role-play going to school
• Let them practice getting dressed on their own. Putting their shoes on. Hanging up their coat, and packing a bag.
• Make sure they are confident about going to the loo.
• Schedule in activities like painting, drawing and puzzles. Anything which involves them sitting down for short periods of time.
Getting Everything Ready for the Big First Day of School
In the run-up to the first day of term if you can
• Involve your child in choosing things they need for school like school bags or uniforms
• Take a practice walk to the school with your child.
• Time how long getting up and organised takes and then establish a routine that will help mornings be fun and not too stressful.
• At least a week before school starts start getting the kids into bed at a reasonable time.
• And also a week before get your child up and dressed by whatever time you will need to be leaving home on the school run. That way you can adjust your timings and routine to make sure it really works.
• Encourage good breakfast eating habits. Wholegrain cereal will keep them full until lunchtime.
• Make sure a few days before school starts that you have everything “ready”, clothes, uniform, etc. This will avoid last-minute panics.
Advice for the Mums
Be happy and confident that you child is going to have a great first day at school. If you are showing anxiety you will pass this on to your child. This is then likely to affect their first day at school.
Children starting school for the first time is a landmark in their and your lives.
Often it is the Mums who are in tears. So if you think you are going to find this landmark day a little upsetting, make sure you have something nice planned when you have dropped your child off.