Tuesday, August 9th, 2022
If you have a child who is about to start school soon you will no doubt have spent lots of time already doing everything you can to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. The first day of school, even if your child has been in nursery or day care, is a milestone moment - one that comes with lots of excitement but also some anxiety and nerves, especially for that first day.
However, there is lots you can do ease your own anxiety as well as that of your little one.
- Make sure you have clothes, shoes, PE kit etc. all sorted in plenty of time, no one wants to battle the shoe shop on the afternoon before school begins.
- Talk about the school and the teacher and assistants, as you should have had a visit for familiarisation, and remind your child about the likely routines they will have to deal with, where to hang coats, toilet location. The school website is a good place to look at too.
- Talk about your own school experiences and share photos if you have them. This should generate lots of opportunities for positive chats.
- Get into your ‘school routine’ for the last couple of weeks of the holidays if you can, have a consistent bath time, bedtime, story, getting up time etc. and try to have a healthy and nutritious diet. A good breakfast is especially important as it sets up your child to be able to cope with their school day.
- Discuss the kinds of activities and lessons they will be having to help instil confidence and enthusiasm for the first day of school. Focus on the things you know they will enjoy, playing, making new friends but also cover the more academic things and talk about how they will be soon be learning to read, write and count.
- Continue to encourage independence and persevere with getting dressed, putting on their own coat and being able to have a go at fastening it for example.
- Make sure your child is able to cope with and manage their own personal hygiene, that they can use the toilet, wipe themselves, flush the toilet and wash their hands properly. Being able to blow their nose is also really helpful.
- Talk about telling an adult if they have a little accident. If your child is prone to this, have a chat with the teacher and maybe pop some spare clothes in a bag to be left at school. Little touches like this can greatly reassure a child.
- Books can be really helpful too, use bedtime as a time to read stories about going to school, Maisie’s Big Day - Lydia Monks / Maisy Goes to Nursery Lucy Cousins / Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School David Melling / Whiffy Wilson: The Lion Who Wouldn’t Go To School Carly Hart and Leomie Lord. You can use this time to talk about what your child is looking forward to and if they are anxious about certain things. Talk them through, be positive and try to calm any potential anxieties.
Hopefully day one will go well but don’t panic if it doesn’t. A change in routine can often cause a few teething problems and the teachers are geared up to spot any issues and deal with them. Stay calm and talk about what is upsetting your child, often it is easily remedied either by you or the teacher. Any persistent issue should be shared with the teacher of course.
Be prepared for the journey, there will be ups and downs along the way but it’s most likely that your child will have a wonderful school experience, although you might both have a few tears on day one and that’s absolutely fine!