Getting ready for the start of school
Starting school is such a huge step for both parents and children – for parents it can cause both emotional and financial stress. For children it can be emotional leaving their parents after a long time together, adjusting to their new classroom, teacher, and fitting in socially if they are moving up rooms with their best friends.
For little ones starting the year in year 1, ideally parents have had school visits at the end of the year before. During these visits it’s a good time to ensure your little one knows things like where the bathrooms are and where their bags and coats are placed. Some children will recognise other children in the class from their kindy days.
There is a lot of preparation before the actual day – try and make the day a full, fun day when purchasing their school uniforms, stationery and also things like haircuts, buying their lunch boxes, drink bottles and back pack. If your child is wearing covered shoes it can be handy to wear them in before they start school to help to avoid blisters.
Emotions may be running high for parents and the child. Little ones may be showing signs of feeling anxious while parents may feel a mix of sadness and joy at seeing their little one go off to school.
If you’re a parent still recovering from the financial stress of Christmas, remember there are agencies that can help and you also talk to the school if you are finding it is hard to purchase uniform or books for your children. Some schools have payment plans and support groups or know where you can get help. I know some parents find this difficult but it can make it easier to remember you are doing this for your children.
For parents with more than one child, the dynamics and expense of different schools can also be overwhelming.
All children need reassurance for that first day. Then each year brings different stresses for the child so try and answer any of their questions and also encourage your child to come to and talk to you.
Healthy lunchboxes are a great thing to aim for – check out if the school has particular requirements . Some schools have restrictions on foods that might spark allergies, such as nuts – again it pays to check the policy.
Encourage your child to pack their school bag the night before. Laying out their clothes the night before and talking about the morning routine can be helpful, so they know what they need to do when they wake up. This saves a lot of time in the morning and by doing these steps it helps create a less stressful morning for both children and parents.
Mornings can be more stressful with overtired children. If your children have been having late nights then try an earlier bedtimre so that on the day they start school they are going to bed at a reasonable time and are able to wake at a sensible time in the morning.
All in all the first day of school is exciting and can be an adventure to share in together.