The first day of school is nerve-wracking for both children and parents. A child’s first day of school is a huge milestone for parents. However, a joyous occasion like this can be ruined in a moment. While a child’s first day of school is exciting, it’s also very scary for the child who’ll be away from home for the first time. Likewise, parents have a hard time keeping their anxieties at bay when leaving their child alone in a school for the first time too.
In the fall of 2018, approximately 56.6 million students attended elementary and secondary school. Even with a number this high, first day of school anxiety never dies. Luckily enough, there are ways to ensure this happy memory doesn’t turn into an unpleasing one. So, if you’re wondering what steps to take once your child hits school age, we’ve listed them down for you.

Open communication

It’s important to talk to your children in order to ensure that their first day goes smoothly. Try to talk to them about what school’s like, how they can get ready for school, different activities they may do at school and even your own experiences at school. Humans are scared of the unknown, and so If you familiarize your child with what to expect through communication, they are likely to be excited instead.

Plan and prep together

There’s a lot of preparation that goes into a child’s first day of school. A good step to take is to prepare for your child’s school journey alongside them. Instead of excluding them from decision-making, it’s important to take their opinions into account. For example, once your child hits school age, you’ll need to go shopping for clothes, backpacks, stationery, and lunchboxes. Take your children along with you to shop for school will help them be more excited as well.

Set a sleep schedule

Most young children have a sleep schedule even before they hit school age. However, these schedules aren’t followed quite strictly, and some children may not have a schedule at all. When your child hits school age, it’s important to make a sleep schedule for them to stick to so they’re well prepared for school timings. Remember that young children should ideally be getting 10 hours of sleep in a day. You should also keep in mind how much time your child will need getting ready in the morning. Some children may only need half an hour while others can take as long as two hours.

Get to know the teacher

The person that will interact the most with your child in school is their teacher. Going to the school and getting to know the teacher has several benefits. Firstly, you’ll have the mental satisfaction of meeting the teacher personally. Teachers play an incredibly vital role during a child’s formative years. Additionally, you can also guide the teacher on how to deal with your child. All children are different and have different needs.
One incredibly useful technique is handing the teacher a cheat sheet. This cheat sheet will contain information about your child. Parents can include specific ways that help soothe the child or guidelines for the teacher to follow. A cheat sheet can help accelerate the teachers understanding of your child.

Familiarize yourself with the school

Sending your child off to school can be an anxious experience for both the child and the parents. One way of easing this anxiety is familiarizing with the school your child will be attending. Most schools hold open days and other events to encourage parents to visit the campus. Furthermore, it provides parents with the opportunity to mingle with other parents as well as the staff.
Thoroughly familiarizing yourself with the school will not only ease anxiety, but it’ll also let teachers know that you’re an active parent. School staff is usually incredibly open, so visit the school and get to know the people that are going to be around your child. Analyze the environment to see if it will allow your child to thrive.

Transitional Objects

Several children are exceptionally fond of “Transitional Objects.” Your child may already have one without you noticing. One typical example of a transitional object is the blanket. Kids tend to form relationships with particular objects to give them comfort. These objects become even more important once your child is away from you. Sending a child to school with a favourite stuff toy or picture can help them settle. Furthermore, parents can take advantage of the object and write down an emergency number in case something goes wrong. Not only will the transitional object help calm the child down, but it can also give parents some ease as well.

Take an active role in the school

One of the most efficient ways of helping your child acclimatize to a school for the first time is being active in the school yourself. Several schools will offer a parents’ council for each class. The commission is responsible for planning trips, raising funds, solving issues, and several other things. By taking an active role in this council, you can also encourage your child to participate more in school.

Conclusion

Letting your precious child go to school for the first time is an exciting and scary day for both you and your child. These first few years can be incredibly crucial for your child, so make use of the tips on hand and ensure that your child has a great time starting school!

References:

https://ncse.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/1-NCSE-Starting-School-Guidelines-final-web-27.01.16.pdf
http://theconversation.com/five-steps-to-prepare-your-child-for-kindergarten-81017
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/7-tips-to-help-your-child-start-school-for-the-first-time-2017081512202

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