The first day at school is a huge milestone for both children and parents alike so it is no wonder that any parent of a child starting school will be asking what they can do to best prepare their child. The big day is likely, if not managed properly to bring tears and tantrums, so what can be done?
Preparing For The Teacher’s Home Visit
Although not organised by all schools, it is commonplace for your child’s first teacher to make a visit to your house. This visit can be stressful for parents but it should not be, the visit is first and foremost an opportunity for the teacher to see your child in their home environment and building a link between you and the school. The visit is short and takes place just before the new term starts.
As their first day at school draws near for your child get them more and more familiar with the concept of school and what it will mean for them. Make school feel like a positive experience and allay any fears, a great way to ease concerns is to point to older friends the child may have or siblings, or cousins who have gone through the first day at school journey. Let them ask you as many questions as they like and do not forget to share with them your happy memories of being at school.
Try to avoid passing on your anxieties, it is perfectly natural for you as a parent to be anxious of leaving your child behind at the school gates but do not let this faze you and let it impact on them. Schools often organise settling-in sessions so make the most of these, introduce your child to their teachers, their learning environment and their classmates. During the course of the summer it is a good idea to meet-up with potential new classmates, some of whom your child will have grown-up.
Once at school it is a fear of many parents that their child needs to be at an advanced level – try not to be terribly concerned, reception teachers do not expect children to be competing on University Challenge, what is considered far more important is independence. It is important that children can do the following, eat and, go to the toilet independently, recognise their name and be able to sit, listen and share. Ask a reception teacher and they will thank you if you equip your child with these skills.
The Night Before
As with any important event in life, preparation is key to success so be sure to be ready the night before. Make sure uniforms are ready, lunches are made or necessary arrangements have been made for school dinners and do not forget to set the alarm clock! It is not a good look being late!
By Jacob White