Your little one is about to go through his first day at school. Can you believe it? He was just a tiny baby not so long ago!
You have probably been preparing him and yourself for the arrival of such an important milestone, one that can be very tough for both parents and children. Many children suffer from anxiety when separating from their parents, and all of them need some time to adjust. Let’s take a look at everything that you can do to make it easier for the both of you!
Preparing for the first day at school
There are several things that you can do so your child’s first day of school isn’t that hard. Of course, you will need to tell him what school is and why he has to go – and using some practical examples will help. Your child is too young to understand why things are ‘necessary’, and of course why he’s going to need an education later on in his life. But you can explain to him how fun reading is, and that he will learn some day if he starts going to school!
You can also pay a visit to his future classroom, so he can see the activities he will do there and he can get to meet his teacher. This way, the space and the teacher won’t be all new to him in his first day at school. You can also use this visits so he can see some of the activities he will be doing there, like telling stories, drawing or counting, and you can practise some of them at home beforehand. You can also explain how these activities will be much more fun at school, when he’s surrounded by his new friends.
And, last but not least, talk to him! Ask your little one to explain what is he expecting from the first day at school, ask him about his fears or what he’s looking forward to the most. Try not to look too worried, but excited instead, or your child will feel that he’s about to do something difficult and that will make things worse.
Dealing with separation anxiety
Besides preparing your child for what he’s about to experience, you will also need to prepare yourself. Some kids go to school happily from day one, but most of them will put you through a tearful goodbye. There are different ‘techniques’ to face the moment of leaving during your child’s first day at school. It’s better to ask your kid’s school for their procedure, but some times schools plan a short time, like a half an hour, for the parents to stay in the classroom with their children so they can help them adjust.
Nonetheless, being left alone at school for the first time will be hard for your little one. Here you have a few tips to ease this transition:
- Get to know them: Say hello to the teacher, and get to know the other children as well. You should learn the names of the other children, so yours feels they are less of a stranger.
- Bring some reassurance: Your kid’s teddy or his security blanket can help him through the first day at school. However, be careful not to bring the absolute favourite, because it could get harmed in school and that would make your little one really sad… And have a bad memory of his first day at school, which definitely won’t help during the first few weeks.
If your child is too dependent on his ‘blankie’ it may not be a good idea to bring it to school. Instead, you can cut a little piece of it and put it in his pocket, so he can touch it whenever he’s feeling sad or insecure. For instance, you can explain that whenever he touches the piece of blanket, you will be thinking of him!
- Be happy, and leave soon: Once it’s time to say goodbye, don’t stay there too long. And even if he cries, don’t let him see that you are upset too. That will only make him cry more!
- Tell him when you’ll be back: Explain to your child that you will be back for him after lunch, or for tea time – just use a time reference that he will understand, so he doesn’t feel abandoned.
The first day at school will probably bring a new separation anxiety, but do not worry: It may last for long or just for a few days, but your little one will adjust. His teachers will know what to do, because no matter how bad it is for him, they have already seen similar situations.
The first day at school: Who knew it was going to be this fun?
Yes, that’s right – after the first few days or weeks, school will be a fun place for your child. Make sure to keep asking questions, and try to look interested even if he’s telling you a very long story about some other kid’s lunch time problem. Your child will love to have things to explain to you! Try to ask short, concrete questions that your child can answer instead of whether he likes it or not, so he can little by little start telling you his new and exciting stories.
The first day at school can be hard, but don’t worry – it is just the beginning, and soon you will see your little one growing, learning and enjoying himself every day!