As much as we are enjoying our strolls under the sun and our time spent with loved ones, the end of August is near… and we all know what that means! The new academic year will start soon, and although we may be thrilled to have some more time to ourselves, the first day of school can be stressful for both kids and parents.
Tips for their first day of school
A new school year comes with lots of changes and new habits, so it’s completely normal for both you and for your little one to be nervous. That’s why, to make this routine change as smooth as possible, we have put together some useful tips below.
1. Get back into a school sleep schedule. It is recommended for kids to start going to bed (and waking up) earlier about a week before starting school. One good way to start is by cutting down on screen time after dinner and introducing a fun bed routine they can look forward to instead. This has been proven to help them transition more easily into the school mindset.
2. Ask questions – and listen! Often, when our children tell us they’re upset, our first instinct is to want them to feel better. However, by doing so we can unintentionally encourage them to avoid their own feelings and understand their emotions. Make sure you create a safe space for them to share and validate what they’re experiencing. You can do so by asking them questions, which show interest and will help you understand their situation better. If you think it might help, you can also share your own stories from when you were in their position.
3. Be mindful of your own behaviour. As we know, children often learn through imitation and pick up on our moods. We understand that it’s not easy. However, presenting a calm version of yourself can be just the reassurance they need before their first day of school. Talking to other parents can really help!
4. Rehearse. Identify the situations that cause concern to your child and plan a strategy with them. You can prepare breathing exercises or practise conversations that they might be nervous about (for example, introducing themselves to a new classmate).
5. Make it fun! Associating the first day of school with a positive, celebratory experience is a great way to make your child overcome their stress. Here are some ways to do it:
- Organise a day out for school stationery shopping and add a treat at the end of it – for example, an ice cream or a little gift.
- Let them pick their clothes that morning.
- Leave a little encouraging note in their lunchbox.
- Plan something exciting - after the first day of school so they can look forward to it.
- Get them a little personalised bracelet with an encouraging mantra they can wear with them.
We hope these tips were useful to you and of course, we’d love to hear yours! As usual, you can send them to us on social media.
If you liked this, you might also be interested in our article on separation anxiety.