Starting school is a big step for every child, especially if the surroundings are completely new to them – ie a new school where they didn’t attend the nursery school, or a secondary school that has no ties to the primary school or prep they used to attend.
This can be exciting and frightening all at once – and that’s just not your feelings, by the way!
To help make the transition as easy as possible, we’ve compiled a few tips:
- Help your child familiarise with their new surroundings before school starts. Hopefully, you would have attended an open day together, where they would have walked around the school and got to know some of the teachers, and potential classmates. If not, plan to drive to the school or walk to the school and just get used to going there during the summer holidays so that the first day isn’t too daunting.
- If your child is starting primary school, it’s a big leap from nursery or childminder days. Speak to the school and find out what your child’s daily routine will encompass so that you can start getting them used to the change at home. Most schools start the day with the daily register, followed by a school assembly, then some reading, for example and if you know this, you can get your child used to this, which will help him make sense of their day.
- There’s always a chance that your child will be upset on the first day. Find out what the school’s settling in period is and how they manage children who get particularly upset. Some schools start children with morning sessions for the first week, whereas others take them in for the full day right from the beginning and ask parents to leave their children at the school gate.
- Children learn from our experiences, too. So share stories about what you enjoyed at school and the fun things you did so your child can get co for table with the idea, and start to get excited at having their own fun at school.
- Plan ahead – but school uniform, books and equipment early. Avoid the last week crowd and you’re more likely to find the correct sizes for your child. Get your child involved in picking out new stationary, shoes, etc so they can get me tally prepared for the big day and feel involved in the whole process.
- If your child’s in holiday routine involves staying up late you’ll need to change this the week before the school term begins to gradually bring their bedtime back to a time suitable for school nights and introduce more regular eating habits with meals at set times.
- Set your alarm early for the first day – even the most organised parents and children need extra time to get ready for the big event.
- Prepare yourself mentally for the first day. If you show confidence and don’t go all wobbly your child will bounce off that positive energy. Save your tears for when she’s safely gone inside and weep with the other mums at the gate.
- Build trust by coming to school a little early at the end of the first day, so your child doesn’t feel anxious. Bring a treat as he’ll probably be hungry at the end of the day and praise him for being a big boy!