It’s hard to believe that the time to send your baby to school has arrived so soon. It feels like only yesterday when she started walking and look at her now! All grown up, well not quite, but you know what I mean.
The first day of school is a milestone that most kids take in their stride, but at which many parents falter. Don't be surprised if he skips happily into class leaving you standing all teary-eyed. The best advice we can give you is to prepare yourself – the fewer surprises there are, the easier the transition will be for both of you. With all the information in hand, you will be able to prepare your little one so that the first day is only a joy for them.
Below follow some pointers on how you can make the start of this important chapter in your child’s life easier:
- Be sure to read every bit of information the school provides. I know there is a lot of it, but all of it will help you understand what to expect and how the institution operates.
- Arrange to meet the teacher before term starts (if possible) – taking some of the unfamiliar out of the situation will help most kids relax and enjoy the day.
- Take the time to explore the school and your route there before term starts. If you can, walk on the first day as parking on such days can be nightmarish adding unnecessary stress to the morning.
- Conversely, if you decide to walk to school do a mock walk so you know exactly how long it will take to get there.
- If your child will take the bus find out where the bus stops at school and make sure your little one knows which bus to take home. Again it's worth it to do a dry run with your kid, so they don't become confused.
- Find out where to go on the first morning – to class? Perhaps to the blacktop or the field? Every school will have a different arrangement to get classes assigned on the first day.
- Pack a light jacket or cardigan in your child’s bag. If the AC is full blast, it might get a bit chilly in class.
- Plan carefully so you have time for everything on the first day – including the ‘first day of school’ photos. Make the message board beforehand.
- Agree where you will meet him after school for pick up and what will happen if you are late. Kids who know what to expect settle in much easier than kids who feel confused and unsure. Discuss who will fetch them – will it just be Mommy or sometimes Daddy, Granny or a nanny?
- Take time in the days leading up to the big day to talk through the morning routine. What time will you wake up, eat breakfast, walk to school? Once at school what will the routine be? What happens when it is break time? And finally, what will occur at the end of the day.
- Pack a snack. Take care not to include nuts – many schools are nut-free zones and favor healthy meals over sugary treats with empty calories. Some schools have lists of what acceptable lunchbox ingredients are.
- Try to meet a classmate before term starts – that way they will have a friend on the first day.
- Label everything – yes, everything! Lunchboxes, pencils and clothes get mixed up easily.
- Be on time – playtime before school is an important part of their day and a time to socialize with their peers.
With all these boxes ticked, your little star’s first day at school should be a breeze – and one of many happy memories of their years at school. Starting your kid off on the right footing is one of the biggest gifts you can give them.