Preparing Your Child For The First Day Of School

Even if your child is accustomed to daycare, the first day at school can be very intimidating. Make sure that you are both prepared for the start of the school year. Getting off to a good start will help to foster positive attitudes towards school.

Basic skills
By now, children must be able to sit still, listen and follow instructions. If your child has trouble following instructions, you can practice during the summer vacation. Set up a little ‘classroom’ in your home with a chair and small table. Get your child to sit still while you outline instructions for a basic craft, then see if they can follow the instructions you gave them.
Following instructions can be fun and you can make up games in which they have to follow an increasingly complex list of instructions. You can also do things like bake cookies or decorate cupcakes with step-by-step instructions to follow.
Students must be able to change into their gym clothes and then back into their school clothes. If they have a uniform with unfamiliar additions like button down shirts or ties, get them to practice dressing themselves prior to their first day at school.

School supplies
Ensure that you have gathered all the stationary and other supplies the school requires. When purchasing a backpack, ensure that you choose one that offers good support. You can get a guide to buying a backpack here.

Talk to your child about what they can expect from school. Role-play with nervous students so that they know what to do in different situations. Knowing what they are supposed to do will reduce anxiety and help build confidence. Encourage your student to ask the teacher for help if they are feeling unhappy or if they are unsure what to do. Talk to your child regularly; ask lots of questions and get them to tell you who their friends are and what the other students are like. This is a great way to ascertain whether they are fitting in.
Talk to the teacher regularly so that any problems that do arise can be dealt with before they affect your child’s attitude towards school.

Contingency plans
Not all introductions to ‘big’ school go well. It’s very normal for most kids to decide that they have been to school now and don’t need to go back once the novelty of the first week has worn off. Other children will have more traumatic introductions to school life. Just remember that the teachers have seen it all and are experts at dealing with reluctant students. Take their advice and follow their suggestions on how to deal with the situation. Most schools allow students who are struggling some leeway. Perhaps your student can come for a couple of hours or a half day until they make friends and grow accustomed to the school environment.

Original Blog from July 9, 2012)


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