For many mums and dads, the first day of school for their little one is the more exciting yet terrifying time of parenthood. This day signifies that their child is growing up and is as likely to inspire worry as much as it is joy. The best thing to do to make sure that all goes well on your child’s first day of school is to be prepared. This means making a list of all the things that you and your child will need, practically and emotionally, and making sure that it is fulfilled before the first day of term.
The practical things that are needed will sound quite obvious – it is essential to get your child to be aware of where they will be going to school and to make sure they have positive thought s about this. Before beginning school make sure your child has visited where they will study and look around the school, meeting their teacher. It is essential they meet the teacher before the first day of term so as to help relieve some of their anxiety.
The second thing to do to prepare your children for school is to make sure that they have all the necessary school equipment needed. This will be your child’s first time wearing a uniform; you will have to explain to them that too go to school they cannot wear whatever items of clothing they want any more but explain to them the importance of the uniform – this will help them feel grown up.
Shopping with them for the uniform will further extend this feeling and will create a valuable bonding session with your child. Take them to try on their new uniform and school shoes and maybe even let them pick their own footwear.
A great exercise to do with your child is to get together and make a shopping list of things they will need for school – it is a fun activity which allows the child to make suggestions and join in and feel inclusive. As they pitch ideas you can explain what, exactly, is needed at school and you can use this opportunity to discuss why they need a lunch box for example – because they will be eating food every day at school and not at home any more – and to help them get a greater understanding of what school entails
Once the child has visited school and met their teacher there is little more that you can do except explain to them whatever they need to know about school. The best thing to do is sit down and talk to them about your own school memories and explain to them that this is a fantastic opportunity to meet new friends as well as learning lots. Tell them about all the cool things they can expect to do at school, how they will find out about things they haven’t even imagined, and let them know how fun it will be.
On the first day of term, however, once you have dropped them off at school there is little you can do except give them all the hugs they need and, when the time is right and they are ready, to let them go to school by themselves. Tell them you will be there at the end of the day and let them know you are looking forward to reversing the roles – and letting them tell you all about school for a change!
Kieron Casey is a writer and blogger, a nervous parent and a shopper who is already on the lookout for school shoes.