The beginning of September can be a stressful time for parents, whether it’s your child’s first day of school or if they’re returning students, making sure that they are fully prepared for the term ahead takes organization.
Children take their cue from their parents so it’s important to plan ahead, not only for your own piece of mind but to set an example for your children too. Stay calm, reassure your children if they’re feeling nervous and offer support. You want your children to look forward to the term ahead, not dread it!
Here are some tips to make sure your children are prepared for the first day of term:
1. Shop in advance
Last minute shopping is stressful at any time, remember last year’s panic Christmas shopping dash? Don’t make the same mistake when it come to shopping for school supplies, especially with uniform or any other dress code that the school requires your children to abide by. Children want to fit in, so if you can’t get them the correct material and clothing on time, it will only add to their first day worries.
2. Visit the school
Is your child attending a new school? If they are, try to visit the school before term starts. This way your child will become familiar with the layout of the school including classrooms and important offices. When your child arrives on the first day a new school will seem daunting, especially with hundreds of other students there. By visiting the school a week in advance your child won’t have to worry about getting lost or feeling too overwhelmed by the general size of the school.
3. Buddy system
Do you know any other parents who are sending their child to the same school? If you do organize a system where the children can travel to school together or meet outside the gates for the first week. It will make the transition into a new school much easier, know that someone else is doing it with them, plus your child will have a new friend.
4. Become an active parent
Get to know your child’s teachers before term starts, show your interest in the school and join the PTA. By becoming an active member in the school’s community, you can help to make the schooling environment the best it can be.
If your child does not have a regular bed time or an organized routine, the first few weeks of school are going to be rough. Ideally you should try and encourage your child to go to sleep at the same time every night (around 10pm) and to wake up in time to get ready for school (around 7.30am), a couple of weeks before term starts. Remember cranky tired children means they won’t focus in class!
Make sure your children know their name, their address, telephone number and your name. Always see your children safely to the school gate or school bus, you don’t need to wave them off if it will embarrass them, just make sure they arrive safely from a distance.
Talk to your children about how they’re feeling and how their first few days of school are going. Anything they are unhappy about? Anything they love? Are the feeling nervous about attending school? Why? Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings with you without embarrassing them or forcing your opinions on them.