Getting your child ready for their first day of school will inevitably be a very stressful and emotional experience for everyone involved. I was an emotional wreck for weeks leading up to Archie’s first at of pre school and did find it tough. But you will want to do everything you can to ease this transition and reduce any nerves that your little one has.
The best way to do this is by having plenty of conversations with them as well as preparing all the practical aspects of starting school such as getting all their uniform and equipment together. The summer holidays are the ideal time to start thinking about how you will get your little one ready for starting school in September. Frankie will be starting then so I have all of this to go through again , I’m way more prepared now than I was then.
Answer Their Questions
Your little ones will probably have a lot of questions about what starting school means for them I found it was best to answer everything in as much detail as I could. If you know any older children who have recently started school it may be a good idea to talk to them as they will have a better idea of what it is like. You can also discuss your own memories of school and reassure your little one that everyone feels nervous when they first start school.
If you address as many of their concerns as you can before the big day they will begin to feel reassured. I found that this really helped with Archie as he did have loads of questions. Not only this you can start to get them excited about going to school, telling them about all the lessons the will have, games they will play, school trips, sports etc. Nervousness and excitement are very similar so helping them to feel excited is really important.
Get Them Familiar with the School
A lot of schools will allow you and your children to go into their class to meet the teacher before they actually begin. Simply getting them familiar with the layout of their classroom and giving them a few minutes to talk with their new teacher can really help to put their minds at ease. If you can’t go into school before the big day you can always walk past on a few occasions so they can see where their classroom is, what the playground looks like etc. If you know any of their prospective classmates it will also help to meet up with them beforehand so your child has a friendly face or two to look out for.
Buy All the Equipment
I found having a checklist of everything I needed to buy including uniform, stationery, lunch box, backpack etc really helped. I let Archie chose his own bag and lunchbox as it was another way to help him feel excited about starting school.
On the Day
When the big day has finally arrived you want to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get your child ready. You may want to pack your bag together the night before and get their uniform all laid out for them. Of course you want plenty of time on the day so you can take pictures! When it actually comes to saying goodbye you should try to keep your feelings contained as much as possible as it will probably upset your child to see you emotional. Explain to your child that you will be there for them in a few hours when it is time for them to come home. As for what to do with yourself this will certainly feel strange when you come home. Try doing some things to distract yourself , you could go out for a coffee with a friend or go out to do a bit of shopping. This way you aren’t counting down the minutes until it is time to pick your child up again.
Getting into a Routine
Obviously it will take a bit of time until your child properly settled into their new life at school but you should help to ease the transition as much as possible. Get into a habit of talking to them about their day on a regular basis and encourage them to get excited about different aspects of school. Also make sure that they get into a regular bedtime routine so they are always feeling fresh and ready to go in the mornings. Over time school will become much more of a routine for them and you.