In this week’s back to school series we discuss the first day at school – for many of us this might be a distant memory, but I remember very clearly the excitement and also the nervousness around going to an unfamiliar place; wearing something different to school, spending an entire day out of the home in an unfamiliar surrounding – it can be quite overwhelming for many kids, and for parents is also quite emotional, marking a significant step in a child’s life and in the family landscape.
This is also a huge day, as for some of you dads, it will be the first time you have truly handed over the reins to another person. It represents the first real stages of your child becoming independent in their learning. Even the toughest men can buckle when the handover time arrives and it’s time to wave goodbye.
Being organised for the first day can help to eliminate any anxiety and allows you to get ready to go in a calm and relaxed manner.
Being organised for the first day
- Make sure your child knows who will take them to school and pick them up on the first day.
- Help your child to organise their belongings the night before – hat, shoes and socks, equipment from book list.
- Help your child to pack their school bag with a snack, drink, lunch and a hat.
- Place a spare pair of underpants and a change of clothes in a plastic bag. Let your child know these clothes are in their bag in case of any accidents at school.
- Find out when the class parent meeting is and make time to attend to find out about the teacher’s goals, expectations, rules, organisation and events.
By taking time to make the first day special, you are showing your child how much you value this special milestone. Try to take the time before leaving to do something to celebrate together (have a special breakfast, take family photos, do the drop off if you can).
Top tips for the first day
If you are taking your child:
- Leave plenty of time to get to school so there is no rush and you have time to walk your child into their class.
- Introduce yourself and your child to the teacher/s.
- Say goodbye and leave when it is time for you to leave the school. Lingering can make it more difficult for your child to part with you and get on with their day.
- Attend the class parent meeting at the beginning of the year to find out about the teacher’s goals, expectations, rules and limits.
- Let the teacher know your plans for pick up after school.
The very first days at school can come with a roller coaster of emotions that might continue for weeks, which is perfectly ok. Take each day as it comes and enjoy these special times.