Helping your child to cope with first day nerves
Whether it’s you or your little one crying tears of joy or sadness, the first day of school is always full of emotions. Seeing your little one in their new school uniform will probably make you want to cry, but hold that lip quiver, I know, it’s hard especially when they look so smart and grown up.
Every child is different and while some are eager beavers to start school, the thought of learning new things, meeting new people and simply being more grown up is scary, so when it’s time to give your little one a goodbye kiss and cuddle at school, try not to get upset if they cry. The first day of school can be daunting for both little ones and parents so here are a few tips to lessen the impact on both of you as much as possible.
Talk to your little one about school and explain that it’s a place to learn, a place to make friends and a place to feel safe and secure. It’s also important to remind them that everyone else who is starting with them is in the same boat and when they get home be sure to ask them about how their day went. Ask questions such as “what is your teacher’s name?” and “who did you play with?” Show an interest and their day will soon start to unfold for you.
2. Advanced planning
Help your child know what’s coming by reading them books about starting school and talking to them about it. Make sure that your child can dress and undress for PE and knows how to sit still, wait and listen. Although your child will understandably be anxious, remember that the teachers will have seen it all before and are familiar with children who are worried in their first few weeks.
The majority of schools have a school uniform – make sure you know what you need and then encourage your child to go along and pick what they would like from the wide selection available. Perhaps they would prefer a shirt or blouse to the polo shirt; a cardigan rather than a jumper; pinafore rather than a skirt, or shorts rather than trousers. Whatever is available within the guidelines, let them have it; if they feel comfortable in what they’ve chosen, they will be less stressed-out on their first day. Oh and don’t forget those name tags!
4. School bags, pencil cases and lunchboxes
These items of kit are all important to the children so letting them choose what they have
is a ‘must’. Don’t worry if it is a branded pencil case or lunchbox; it’s not babyish at all and seeing familiar friendly faces printed on these items will help to lessen the impact of their first few days.
5. Establish a school routine
Although it isn’t always apparent, kids love routine and getting them into a proper school routine will help with anxiety issues. They will know what to expect and when. Try and get them to bed early and don’t leave it too late for them to wake in the morning – it’s far easier and better for them to have a relaxed morning to get ready in time, rather than rushing about because they’ve stayed in bed too long.
Allow some play time in the evening, so that your child can wind down. Don’t forget to pack the school bags and get their uniform ready the night before. That way, you will know that the kids are ready to go and don’t have to hunt around in the morning and potentially leave bits and bobs behind!
Image taken from Take Two.