Your child’s first day at school is going to be full of so many mixed emotions. Your child is going to be excited yet nervous. You are going to be nervous, worried and yet excited for your child. The biggest help you can provide your child is to mask as many of your emotions as possible. Your child has their own emotions to deal with without worrying about yours. You need to be able to concentrate on what your child is going through. This will be one of the most important days in their life. How they handle it will determine how they handle the education process for the next twelve plus years.
Preparation is the main key. Talk to your child about school in the months leading up to their first day. Let them see the school. Take them to the orientation day where they can see the school, start to meet new friends and of course meet the teachers. Let them help with the purchase of their school clothing, their lunch box and school bag. The more involved in the process they are the more relaxed they will be.
Talk to your child. As parent you should be able to lead the conversation. Find out what your child’s expectations are. You may even have to moderate those expectations. As a parent our role is to prepare the child so they are ready for that first day. Explain the routine for the first day and how it differs to home or day care life.
The first day. Prepare well the day before. Try to treat the morning as normally as possible. There will of course be changes. Now you may be time driven particularly if you also work or there are younger siblings. Let the child help with the preparation of their lunch box. If everything is prepared there will be little drama before leaving home. Once you get to school, if you have prepared well your child will be eager to leave your side and start playing with new friends and to start learning new things.
That is the hard part as a parent. To see your child happily leave your side for the day eager to take on a new adventure. Of course, if they have attended some form of day care then the pressure on them and on yourself will be lessened. If not – you have helped your child through their first day at school – now the question is who is going to help ‘you’ through their first day at school?