Tips For Starting School For The First Time
- What to expect?
Talk to your child before their first day so they know what to expect. Take them out on a shopping trip to pick out a new pencil case and school bag.
- Routine – keep to your usual
On your little one’s first day, try to keep to your usual morning routines and have what you normally have for breakfast. Leave the bowl and cereal accessible to encourage independence.
Don’t just talk about school, unless your child wants to, it will raise their anxiety. Try to talk about other topics as well.
Allow plenty of time to get to school so you can avoid any stress and arrive before the bell.
- Be Prepared
- Make it easy for your child: Velcro shoes, no tights, elasticised waists
- Label everything clearly with the child’s name
- Get your child into uniform before the big day, so there isn’t a meltdown on the first day
- Use an easy to open lunchbox
- Portion your food according to their breaks, snack for ‘small break’ and sandwiches for ‘big break’, cut into manageable sizes. If your school has a healthy eating policy, stick to that so that your child does not feel like they are in trouble.
- Let your child have a say in what they get for their lunch, they are more likely to eat it then
- Put the drink in the outside pocket of their school bag for easy access and to avoid spillages on their books.
- Have uniform laid out the night before with accessories i.e. shoes, socks
- Get up half an hour earlier to be prepared
- Talk to them about remembering to go to the loo
- Be guided by your child
When you arrive at school, if your little one stands close to you then stay close to them and give them reassurance.
But if they run off in search of friends or to play in the playground then step back and let them go for it!
Usually a quick hug and confident, “Have a great day,” is best, then walk away. Don’t look back!
- Collect for the first week
If possible, see if you are able to adjust your hours for that first week so you can pick up your child.
It’s a big week for them, knowing you’ll be there at the end of the day, to talk through the ups and downs of the day.
- Don’t plan too much the first few weeks
During the first few weeks, it’s about getting into a routine. You will be surprised how tired your child is after school.
They will need time to wind down and have their own space without rushing off to an activity.
When your child gets home they will want a quick snack and to unwind a little.
Try and start the homework before dinner. Their concentration levels will make it difficult to do homework later in the evening.
Make sure that you check their bag each evening for notes from the teacher.
- Talk through their day.
Give your child a chance to talk through any difficulties they faced during their day.
Acknowledge their feelings and then ask them for their ideas on what to do about it. You might be surprised with what good ideas they can come up with when encouraged.
Always finish on a positive note. Ask your child if they can think of one thing they did enjoy that day and talk more about that.
- School involvement
If it’s possible, take an active role and be part of your child’s school life. Go to sports days, school tours, bake sales or plays especially in the early days when they still need reassurance. They will be delighted to see your there.
It helps to get to know other parents especially those in your child’s class.
Perhaps ask your child if they would like to invite some children from their class home too for a play date to help build on their new friendships.