Keepin’ your cool
Our contributor who writes by night and teaches by day offers 10 tips for your child to calm their first day nerves. Happy back to school, mamas!
I remember my first day of school. I was nervous, not sure where anything was, scared to say hello to so many new faces and uncertain if I’d fit in… and I was the teacher. First day jitters for children of all ages are perfectly normal and only to be expected. We all get nervous when faced with the unknown. There may be tears, tantrums and vice-like grips from teeny hands desperate not to let go. So here a few ways to calm first day nerves and how to ensure your child settles well into the school year.
- Talk to your child about their new school and how excited you are for them. Make sure they know that they will be starting school soon and even count down to it if you want.
- Explain in as much detail as you can the kinds of things they might be doing. Focus in on some of their favourite activities and get them excited about the fact they’ll get to do that at school. Remove as much uncertainty as possible.
- Remind them of their teacher’s name and talk to them about their teacher in the days leading up to school. Make this person seem familiar to them.
- If they’ve already attended accompanied classes and know some of their classmates, talk about these children and even arrange play dates to consolidate those bonds.
- Visit the school in the days leading up to the start date (even if you can’t go in you can walk past).
- Read books together about the first day of school. I love, “Maisy Goes to School” by Lucy Cousins.
- Ask them to draw their teacher a picture prior to their first day and then get them excited to take it with them and give it to the teacher.
- Purchase all the necessary items (be prepared) and if there is a uniform make a big deal of taking photographs of them in it. If there is no uniform purchase, it might help to buy a new bag or new shoes to help build up the excitement and ensure they go to school feeling confident.
- Ask them how they feel about school. Ask them if they’re excited. Even a young child can communicate their feelings to you.
- During the days leading up to the new term explain the routine for the new school year. Introduce any new bed times or morning routines earlier on so that your child knows what to expect from the outset.