INSIDE: Are you worried about your child starting school? Whether they’ll settle in quickly and make new friends? You’re not alone! I’ve been there too. And that’s why I’m sharing my best tips to help you cope with your child’s first day of school. After reading this that first day will be a breeze – both for you and your child!
It’s FAQ time!
Every month I answer a question that as a fellow busy mum, I know you’re looking to find the answer to. How do I know it’s something you’re looking for help with? Because you, the A Simple and Contented Life community have told me! This month’s FAQ is all about coping with the inevitable first day of school and how to successfully manage the transition. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
How do I cope with my child’s first day of school?
One of the biggest milestones we ever face as a parent is the day our child starts school. It can be a massive change from life as we know it. Overnight we go from our babies being with us almost 24/7 to them being all grown up and venturing out into the big wide world without us five days a week.
With such a change we can’t help but worry they’ll settle in ok. That they’ll make friends and enjoy their time in class. That they’ll learn what their teachers are teaching them and that school will help them turn in to the well-rounded individuals we want them to become.
With so many worries how do we make the first day of school less daunting and as stress-free as possible…both for us and our kids? To answer this question, I’m sharing with you a few of the things I did to make starting school (and settling in) that little bit easier for me and my youngest, Harrison. If your child’s first day of school is coming up, these tips are guaranteed to help!
#1. | Be positive and excited about the change
Being positive and excited about the big day can go a long way towards making the event easier to deal with. Our kids look to us for guidance on how they should think and feel about something. And so, if we’re nervous and anxious, they’re going to be too. I was incredibly nervous and emotional about Harrison starting school, but I tried not to show it. Instead, I tried to be as positive and excited for him as I could and it worked. He became less unsure and more excited about the whole thing – which made me less nervous too!
# 2. | Talk about school as much as possible
Harrison and I talked about school and the kind of things he would get up to A LOT. We talked about what he’d do in class, how much fun playtime would be and what he’d do for lunch. I showed him pictures online of classrooms and assemblies. I showed him photos from his school’s website so he could see what it looked like. We also went to the library and found some picture books on starting school and read them at bedtime.
#3. | Try the uniform
I deliberately bought Harrison’s uniform early on so he had plenty of time to try it on and get used to wearing it. We practiced getting dressed several times and come the first day, he couldn’t wait to get ready. Seeing him standing in front of the mirror admiring himself may have given me a few proud mum tears too!
# 4. | Practice the school run
This was a huge help in removing some of the fear. At least twice we walked the route to school and up to the school gate. It isn’t that far for us and only took a few minutes, but I think it really helped. Come his first day he wasn’t too nervous about heading out because he’d already walked the route.
Try practicing the school run too. Especially if you need to drive. Knowing what the traffic will be like that time of day and where you’re going to park will save you from a lot of unnecessary stress.
#5. | Meet up with other mums
When Harrison started school we’d not long moved to a new area that was two hours away from friends and family. I didn’t know a soul. And so, despite a lot of protest from the introvert in me, I forced myself to do something about it. I joined the Facebook group for the mums in the area and made myself go to a meet-up. With mums whose kids were going to be at the same school as Harrison, he had a great time making new friends. And it gave him a few familiar faces to look forward to seeing again come the first day of school.
#6. | Attend events in your area
Every year our local soft play offers meet-up sessions specifically for all the schools in the area. You book your session according to which school your child is going to, turn up and your child gets to play with all the kids that are going to be in their class. It’s an awesome idea and a great way to break the ice with some of the other mums. Is there anywhere in your area that offers something similar?
#7. | Attend the induction sessions
Harrison’s school offered two induction mornings where he got to spend time in his soon-to-be classroom and meet his teacher and classmates. Those sessions were worth their weight in gold! He became SO much happier about starting school once he’d attended them. Having the chance to explore his classroom, sit at his table and play in the playground removed a lot of the unknowns. If your child’s school offers these, sign up straight away!
#8. | Adopt a morning routine
Very early on we got ourselves into a routine we still follow today. We get up, have breakfast, shower, do our teeth and get dressed. I set the oven timer to go off five minutes before we need to leave and Harrison plays or reads until it’s time to go. When the buzzer goes off he knows it’s time to stop whatever he’s doing and put his shoes on. The oven timer is a massive life saver for me. It stops me clock watching and most days, we manage to make it out the door on time!
#9. | Prep the night before
Taking the time to put out whatever you need the night before makes life SO much easier. It only takes a few minutes to do, but it saves you from a huge amount of stress and headache. Especially on the first day of school. The last thing you need when you’re already anxious about the day ahead is to be scrambling around looking for their tie, schoolbag and a shoe that’s gone AWOL!
Now Harrison’s older, he helps make sure everything is where it needs to be for the morning when he gets in from school. He puts his lunchbox by the sink and his bag and shoes away. He hangs his tie on the back of his bedroom door and gives me any letters I need to see.
#10. | Smile when you’re on the playground
One of the biggest worries as a new school mum is talking to all the other mums in the playground. And if I’m honest, this was the most daunting part of Harrison starting school. Because for me, making new friends doesn’t come easy. I never know what to say or how to start a conversation and I always feel like the cat has got my tongue when I’m around people I don’t know. But do you know what? Everyone else is just as nervous as you are and smiling really does make all the difference. Yes, it took a few weeks of school runs to completely break the ice, but I eventually found my tribe. Now I have an awesome group of mums I look forward to seeing every day.
#11. | Have something to look forward to at the end of the day
If your child is particularly anxious about starting school, having something to look forward to at the end of the day can really help. Whether it’s going to the park, out for a hot chocolate or dinner at your favourite restaurant, arrange something for you to do together. Then, when they’re feeling nervous they can think about all the fun they’re going to have with you when the school bell goes.
#12. | Talk about their day with them
I don’t get very much out of Harrison when he first gets out of school but he does reveal a few snippets at the dinner table. I’ve found I get the most information from him at bedtime. When we snuggle down for stories and cuddles, that’s the time he wants to talk. Make it part of your bedtime routine too and they’ll never be afraid of sharing any worries or concerns they have.
Coping with the first day of school…
If you’re nervous about your child starting school, know you’re not alone. I promise you every other mum and dad standing on the playground that first morning will be just as worried and nervous as you! So stay positive. Show your child starting school is something to be excited about. If you’re excited, they’re more likely to be excited too. Follow these tips and that first day of school won’t be anywhere near as daunting as you thought. You’ve got this mama!
That’s it for this post! What’s your top tip for coping with that first day of school? Let me know in the comments below! And if you have your own FAQ tell me and I’ll do my best to feature it!
Until next time…
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