How to help your child prepare for their first day at school
19th June 2014
When your child reaches school age and is about to embark on the start of their school life, it can be a rather worrying time for everyone involved…
Up until now, you have probably spent every moment of the day with your child, so parting to send them to school can be a rather daunting ‘flying the nest’ feeling. You worry over every little thing, questioning whether you have raised them right and hope they will continue to carry the morals and manners you have brought them up with into the wider world. But it’s also important to remember they are taking their first – and very important – steps to independence, so it’s crucial to make sure you approach this new chapter in their lives the right way, helping prepare them as much as possible for their first day at school.
A few weeks or even months before they begin school, start reading books with them about children starting, or going to school. This will hopefully reduce any anxiety they might have and help prepare them for what will happen.
Talk about what time they will start and finish every day and what the schedule will be like throughout their school day. You could also try doing some of the activities they will be doing such as; reading, drawing pictures etc. so it will be a familiar activity when the time comes.
Arrange to visit the school with your child prior to their first day and meet their teacher. Being able to put a face to the name will help your child when it comes to the first day of school, it will be a familiar and friendly face.
Leave a handwritten note in your child’s lunchbox, this will let them know you are thinking of them whilst they’re at school.
Remember to reassure your child that if anything goes wrong it can be easily sorted.
Once they’ve started
Ask your child how their day has been and watch closely for their reaction. Some children may not respond well and will keep their answer vague, so you might need to probe them a bit more. Try asking them what they ate at lunch, who they played with, what the children in their class are like, what their teachers name is etc. You may get more information out of them this way.
Once they have settled in and made a few friends, try making arrangements for them to travel to school with a friend if possible. Obviously if you live far away and have to drive your child to school then it may not be possible, but if the children have to catch a bus to school for instance, then arrange for your child to go with a friend.
If you should have any reason to be concerned about how your child is getting on at school then go and speak to your child’s teacher. Explain to them why you think something might be wrong, maybe it’s something your child has said or an impression you have got. Their teacher should be able to help answer your questions and either put your mind at ease or sort the issue out so you child can begin to enjoy their time at school more.
Whatever feelings they had on their first day will not go away once the day has finished. They will probably carry on feeling this way in their second week and even the weeks following this until they begin to feel more settled in their new environment. So it’s essential to keep communicating with your child until you begin to notice that things have changed and your child is settled and content.
It is just as important that you remain calm throughout this transition period. If you are feeling anxious and panicky, your child will pick up on this too!
Find out if there are any after-school clubs your child could join. This could be a great opportunity for them to make more friends and enjoy school life outside the classroom and have a bit more fun as well as it is a chance for them to learn something new, such as a new sport.
If you’re looking for after-school clubs in the Bulwell area of Nottingham, then please feel free to get in touch with the friendly team here at Tiny World. We will be there to meet your child from school and take them safely to our after-school club where they can have their tea, play with their friends, complete their homework with the help from our staff and go home when you are ready to collect them. Why not arrange a visit and come and see for yourself what it’s like at our nursery!