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The first day of school doesn’t have to be a time of stress and anxiety. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be ready to send your child off with confidence, ease and excitement.
1. Visit the school with your child
Find out if your school runs an open day or tours of the buildings. If not, you can drive past the school with your child or even walk through the grounds after checking in with the administration office. This is a great way to get your child excited about beginning a whole new journey in a brand new place. Afterwards, you can get them to draw a picture of what they remember or what they are looking forward to most about starting school.
2. Meet the teacher
Meeting the teacher is a helpful way to make your child’s transition from your care into another’s much easier. If they know who they will be spending each day with from the get-go, they are less likely to feel overwhelmed or upset. Before the meeting, ask your child if there are any questions they would like to ask their new teacher, and encourage them to ask questions on their own.
3. Arrange play sessions
Arrange play sessions with other children who will be starting school together with your child. By seeing familiar faces and having already established some friendships, they will be less likely to feel alone and nervous on their first day.
4. Complete your school supplies checklist
Instead of feeling overwhelmed the night before, prepare a few days in advance to tick off all of the school supplies you’ll need. These include things like a pencil case, crayons, erasers, pencil sharpener and child-safe scissors. Lunch essentials include things like a durable lunch box, plastic drink bottles with non-drip caps, and food for packed lunches. Don’t forget to label everything with your child’s name.
5. Practise putting things in their bag
Before their first day, your child should know how to put things into their school bag, or at least feel comfortable asking their teacher for help. Other ways you can improve your child’s independence before starting school is by helping them to practise putting on their shoes, eating and drinking without help, going to the toilet on their own, and using a tissue to blow their nose.
6. Play board games and practise taking turns
Children need to understand to take turns, especially when they’re about to be put into a situation with a larger group of children. Playing board games with the whole family or with other children is a great way to encourage your child to wait patiently and understand the concept of fairness.
7. Set a daily routine
Daily routines can help children understand what they need to do, when to do it each day, and why it’s important. To help prepare your child for school, get them into a routine which includes going to bed early, waking up at a certain time and eating a healthy breakfast. Before your child starts school, make sure you talk to them about what to expect. Remember to be flexible, as it may take some time for them to understand their new routine and adjust comfortably.
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