Dear parents, brace yourselves! Your little ones are about to enter a new era in their lives, and this little milestone is an important one in their growth and development, so you naturally want to do everything in your power to make it a memorable, positive experience. However, all kids are different, some being more scared of change than others, while some thrive with new people around them.
Let’s see what you can do to make this big day a great adventure, and prepare them for any challenges that lie ahead! Cameras at the ready? Get set! Go!
Check out the school together
It doesn’t hurt to help your kids adjust by taking them to this new environment a few days early. That way, they won’t be overwhelmed by the initial crowds, and they can familiarize themselves with the school. Talk to their teacher and ask if they have any suggestions because they have plenty of experience and they know the most common issues and questions kids can have.
They can see the classroom, try out a few seats, check out the whiteboard, and other new equipment around. Getting to know the new place on their own may help them feel more comfortable once the other kids flock, and then focus on making friends and learning.
Have a chat
Quiet kids are often the ones with the most emotions to deal with, so perhaps you can initiate a talk with your little one to make sure they are handling it all well. Ask them how they feel about going to school, how they imagine it will look like, you can spend some time exploring their new books together so that they can get a general idea of the material and subjects they’ll cover.
You can share some of your experiences, such as fun school trips, interesting group projects, and homework assignments that you liked.
Practice some essential skills
Confidence is something every youngster needs to build up from day one in order to not develop any anxieties and negative associations with the learning process or making friends. However, as much as they want to fit in, it’s often in the first few years of school that kids feel the most self-conscious, and they easily feel embarrassed if they call the teacher “mom”, or get messy during their lunch break.
You can rehearse some of the basic skills such as using a whiteboard marker on a little practice board, how to close it all the way, how to pack their backpack, and how to dress, undress, and wash after using the bathroom. All of these may seem easy-peasy, but they are also some of the most common causes of embarrassing situations for kids, so practice makes perfect.
Make the snack together
Keeping your kids in the loop is the best way to give them more independence and make them feel more at ease with the entire experience. For instance, you can ask your little one what they’d like to munch on during their break, and you can then make it together and pack into a little box for them to bring to school.
This is a great opportunity to teach them healthy habits, show them how to make a simple sandwich, and how to eat it without getting too messy if they like to add ketchup or a similar tasty spread. Also, keep their menu fun and change it up regularly, so that they’ll look forward to every meal and enjoy making it by your side.
Meet with other youngsters
Chances are you already know a few other kids from the neighborhood starting school and perhaps going to the same class if you live in a smaller town. However, those who come in from various parts of a larger city often end up in a large classroom with no familiar faces around.
If it’s possible, you can talk to your teacher, ask if there is a before-school parent-teacher conference for all the new students, and you can even mingle for your kids to meet. That way, they may even find their sitting partner before their first day of school comes or at least feel a bit better about starting school with a few friends around.
It can be a tricky challenge both for parents and the kids to master all the details of this big day. However, with a bit of imagination and tons of patience and encouragement, you can help your kids have fun on their first day of school and make memories they’ll fondly remember their entire lives!