publication date: Aug 30, 2007
author/source: Anne Coates
So your child is starting school and you probably have very mixed feelings. Up until now you have have control over his life and most of the things he does. Now some of that control is passing into strangers' hands!
To make the transition as smooth as possible for your son or daughter make sure you have everything ready for the first day at school.
- Mark/label all items of clothing with your child’s name.
- Ensure your child is wearing shoes he can put on and off/ fasten by himself.
- If he is taking a packed lunch practise opening the box and the sort of wrappings/containers you’ll be using for food.
- Teach him to sit cross-legged if he doesn't already know this.
- School uniform – familiarise your child with any fastenings he’s unused to which might hold him up when going to the loo.
- Talk about school realistically - don’t make it sound too wonderful or he could be in for a disappointment.
- This may be the first time your child has had to address adults more formally so get him to practise saying Mr/Ms etc and the teacher’s name.
On the first day at school
- Be positive and confident about starting school (even if you don’t feel it!).
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to school – arriving late or flustered is not good for either of you – but don’t arrive so early you’re the only people in the playground.
- Try to engage other parents and children in conversation – mention your child’s name so others get to know it.
- Keep smiling as you wave goodbye.
- Don’t offer all sorts of treats for after school - he’ll think of the school day as something that has to be got through.
- Be prepared to collect a very tired child.
- Listen to what he says and prompt gently with questions like “and what did you do then?” Don’t make it the Spanish Inquisition!
Most of all you might not be prepared for your own reaction – my daughter had been at nursery for three years when she started school but after I’d dropped her off on the first day I cried my eyes out!
The first day at school is a major milestone in your child’s life – but there are many more to follow!