There are few things in life as daunting as your child starting school for the very first time, but it needn’t be an anxious situation if we don’t allow it. As parents, our anxiety and stress can easily rub off on our kids, and so it pays to be prepared for these first days of school so that our little ones can feel only positive vibes about this next chapter in their life.
One of the key problems that parents face when their kids start school is a lack of support or information available about this huge milestone in their life, so the more prepared we can be as parents the better. We’re here to show you some ways to make the transition to school easier for both you and your child, and ideas to help cope with the anxiety you might be feeling.
How to Cope With Your Nerves
It’s natural for parents to feel worried about their child starting school as this is one of the first milestones where they will become independent of us. A study by the Professional Association For Children and Early Years found that over two-thirds of parents who had children starting school felt anxious about the experience, and over half of them thought they might even be more anxious than the child.
Although it’s okay to feel these things, you should do your best to keep any negative thoughts to yourself, otherwise, your child might also begin to feel your nerves. Make friends with other parents in the area, meet with school teachers, do a tour around the grounds, and spend some time making lunchbox-friendly treats to make you feel better about the new and exciting world into which your child is stepping.
Managing our feelings is just as important as our children’s, and for many mums and dads, this is made easier by being prepared and organised. If you find that your anxiety or worry is getting out of control, try to keep your mind off it by focusing on the many tasks you have to do before your child is ready for their first day of school.
Preparing Your Child For School
It’s important to give our children a great first experience of school, as it’s one of the most important things they will do with their lives. According to the NSW Department of Education, a child who has a good experience when they first start school will be more likely to develop socially and academically as their schooling continues, so it’s important to get it right.
Although this might instil more fear and the feeling of pressure on some parents, it shouldn’t be seen as a daunting time. There are some things you can do to get your child ready for school. These might help to calm your nerves, too!
- Have your child try on the school uniform on a few times and ensure that they have all of the right equipment and clothing ready to go.
- Take a trip to their school on the weekend and look around the grounds so that your child can become accustomed to them.
- Do a practice run with your child’s lunch box to see that they can find it in their school bag, take off the lid, and put it back on.
- Have your child wear their new school shoes for a couple of days before school starts to prevent them from getting painful blisters.
- Calmly go through some common school rules including things like holding up your hand to speak, doing what the teacher asks, and requesting permission to use the toilet.
- Have a meeting with your child’s new teacher and take your child along so you can introduce them separately and explain that they are here to help them at school.
Doing What You Can To Make Things Easier
As parents, it’s our role to set the mood for our children and lead by example, so if you’re feeling anxious about them starting school, it’s possible this could have a trickle-down effect. Do your best to keep your anxious feelings away and focus on all the positives they can expect when starting school.
There are plenty of great children’s books about first days at school, and you might find that they even help to calm your nerves more than your child’s. No matter how you might be feeling when you see them off at the gate on the first day, showing a confident and happy smile will give your kid the big boost of reassurance they need to get them through the day.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling anxious about your child starting school, but it all comes down to how we manage these feelings and project them onto our kids. For more tips on caring for children of all ages and managing the daunting world of parenthood, we invite you to read more here on the Peachymama blog.