First day of school – preparation and expectations
Practical steps to take NOW
The first day of school is likely to be quite stressful with emotions running high so try to be as prepared as possible.
- If you have a nanny already who is going to be doing the school run the majority of the time, have a think about the first day: some parents start as they mean to go on with the nanny doing the first school run. The benefits of this are that you’re setting a precedent of how the school run will work and the child won’t see you being upset at the school gates and so anxiety levels all round will be eased. If you’ll only be employing a nanny some days of the week, make sure that your child and school know when they’ll be doing drop-off and pick-up.
- Nanny or parent doing the school run, make sure you know the route and where you might be able to park. Some forward thinking parents start Facebook groups for reception classes at school so you might be able to learn more about the logistics there. Try to do a practice drive to school and show the school to your child so that it won’t look so imposing when they start in September. Most schools do integration days now so that may well already be taken care of.
- Uniform – make sure it’s purchased, labelled and that your child is familiar with it. You don’t want to present it to them on day one for the first time! The children are going to be faced with a lot of new experiences in their first few weeks of school so if you can minimise those ahead of time, it will be less overwhelming.
- Talk about school with your child and discuss all the positives. Talk about themes that you know will please your child so, for example, if they find making friends difficult, perhaps steer away from that and enthuse about playing in the playground, or all the learning they’re going to do or all the pictures they’ll paint. Be realistic though, otherwise they may be disappointed when it doesn’t live up to expectations!
- Prepare yourself – be honest with yourself about how you might feel on that first day whether you’re saying goodbye at the front door or the school gates, and think about what you can put in place to make the morning and day as easy as possible. Perhaps you could wake up a little earlier and have a cup of tea on your own, contemplating the day ahead; perhaps writing down your emotions would help; maybe arrange a coffee with some other new parents for after that first drop-off so that you can share your emotions with others in the same boat.
What to expect
- If your child doesn’t love school straightaway you must give it time. The first day will go by in a whirl for them and it will take a while for them to become familiar with school and its routines. If you think your child is suffering from separation anxiety, speak to their teacher who can help you manage the situation and devise a plan of action. Most schools have an open-door policy and Reception class teachers are used to parents raising concerns so don’t be afraid to go in for a chat.
- Your child will be shattered and potentially overtired. During the first few weeks of full days, it might be a good idea to let them come home and relax. You may have to bring tea time forward and even bedtimes. Have some strategies in place.
- On a lighter note, be prepared to hear the word “nothing” a lot! It’s only natural that you’re interested in their day, but try not to bombard your little one with questions. They will be tired and are likely to tell you that they did nothing, ate nothing and played with no one! Don’t be alarmed, this is perfectly normal. Just make sure that a loving adult, parent or nanny, is on hand to dish out some cuddles.
- Invest in some good stain remover! Reception children are likely to come home filthy with food, paint, felt tips, you name it, down their uniform, even when they have been wearing painting aprons!
Starting school is momentous but despite this, if it’s handled in a calm and prepared manner, everyone can enjoy your little one achieving another milestone.
If you would like to talk to me about child care solutions to help you manage the school routine, please phone me on 01732 838417 or 07778 923400 or email me.