The first day of school can be daunting for even the boldest child and getting ready for that big day can be difficult for parents as well. Whether you are the parent of a five-year-old getting ready for the first day of kindergarten or an older child with worries about returning to school, there are things you can do now to ease the transition and reduce the stress.
From adjusting their biological clock to shopping smart for school supplies, there are plenty of things you can do to make the first day of school easier for your child. Here are some smart tips you can use right now, even before school starts.
- Reset your child’s biological clock with an earlier bedtime and wake time. Summertime is a time to sleep in and stay up late, but with the start of school on the horizon it is time to reset that internal clock.
- Encourage your child to talk about their fears and worries about the first day of school. Urge your child to share, then counter with the good things about the new school year, like seeing old friends again and meeting their new teachers.
- Start the school clock a week early by scheduling time for waking, learning, homework and bedtime. You can play the role of teacher by reading to your child and getting them into the school day routine.
- If your child is just entering kindergarten, try to schedule a meeting with their teacher and a tour of the school. It will make your child feel better and make the first day of school less frightening.
- You can also contact the other parents and schedule play dates with their children. Your child can meet their new school mates, make connections and feel more comfortable when the first day of school arrives.
- Check the supplies your child will need for the first day of class. Being prepared will make your child feel more comfortable and confident on the first day of school.
- Ensure that your child has all the required immunisations and vaccinations.
- Reserve a folder for school newsletters and other important paperwork. Having that information at hand will make your life and your child’s life, easier.
- Start a tradition by getting ready the night before. You can pack your child’s lunch and have it waiting in the fridge, check your child’s homework and put it in the backpack and make any other needed preparations. When morning comes, you can just grab what you need and go.
- Talk to your child about their first school experience and be ready to listen and empathise but resist the urge to solve every little problem or intervene in every dispute. Part of going to school is learning to develop independence and resilience.
The first day of school should be the start of an exciting new adventure, not a source of undue stress. Being prepared for the big transition can make a world of difference and allow parents and their children to relax and actually enjoy the start of the new school year.