Posted: 14 August, 2013

Preparing for that big first day


Starting school is not always easy – particularly for parents! Here is a countdown to how you can make your child’s first days as stress-free as possible……..for both of you.

During the Summer Holiday

Ideally your child will have had a taster day at the school, met their teacher and explored their classroom. If you have been given any literature, information, instructions from school, make sure that you have read it all and check that there were no outstanding jobs to be done or equipment to be brought in to school

If you can, invite a current pupil and their parents to your house.  This will give your child a friendly face to look out for on their first day and give you the opportunity to ask questions

Practise the journey to school – preferably at drop-off and pick-up times so that you are confident about your transport arrangements before Day 1.  If you are getting in a panic because you are late or do not know where to park, your anxieties will be picked up by your child

Make sure that your child has tried on all of their uniform and everything is labelled with their name

During the week before school starts

Start your family routine for the morning:

o   getting up at the same time,

o   having breakfast,

o   getting dressed etc

It is important that this is not a shock to you or your child on Day 1!

Try not to fly back from holiday the day before term starts.  Jetlag will not help your child (or you) have the energy to deal with the excitement of their first few days at school

Revisit any photographs on the school’s website/in the school’s prospectus to remind your child about the staff/classrooms

The first day of school

Get everything ready the night before

Accept that you will be feeling nervous

Accept that your child may or may not be feeling nervous but you can make them feel worse or better depending on your behaviour

Try to stay calm, positive and reassuring

Leave home in good time so that you are not rushing to get to school

When it’s time to leave them, say goodbye and go. Don’t linger as this will give the message that you are anxious and your child will pick this up. Children nearly always settle down quickly once you have gone, and the teachers are very used to calming children in these early days

Make sure the school and your child know who is collecting them

If you are not going straight to work, then create a busy day for yourself so that you do not spend the time worrying about your child

At the end of the first day

Be positive and reassuring

Don’t ask too many questions: talk about your day too

Read their mood– they may want to talk non-stop or not at all

Finally – this may be the first school day for you and your child but the staff in charge of your child will be highly professional and experienced in making these early days as smooth as possible.  If in doubt, ask the school for advice – they will be more than happy to give it.

Mrs Jo Wallace, Head of Junior School

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