Aug 282018
Tips for your child’s first day at school

So, my not so little baby is starting reception next week.  Kayden started nursery in his school last September. He started off part-time then begged to stay and have dinner with his friends a few months later, and as we qualified for the 30 hours childcare I decided to let him.

I was so jealous that someone else would be spending more time with Kayden than I would, however I knew I would have to let go one day and he was one of the older ones so it seemed like the right decision, and it was. Kayden loved his nursery, playing all day everyday, making lots of friendships and having his independence.

I honestly thought this year, him starting reception wouldn’t bother me, as he has already been full-time and knows the school, however the closer it’s coming up to the start of September the more nervous and apprehensive I’m beginning to feel. The room is set out like a standard classroom rather than tuff trays full of glitter and glue sticks on every table like it was in nursery.

However the reception classroom has formal table and chairs, with a pot of pencils in the centre. I know from being a Childminder, taking children to that school,  that they are expected to go and sit at the table in a morning and copy the date and other simple words from the white board. No longer will we be walking in dancing  to the song ‘shake your sillies out’, teachers clapping along, children running about getting stuck in to their fun-filled day. Don’t get me wrong, the school is fantastic and still fun, but I also know they do need to start doing formal work and that makes me sad.

I thought I would put together some tips I’ve found helpful over the school holidays to help prepare me and Kayden for his first day in big boy school.

Talk about Mummy’s and Daddy’s school days

I have talked to Kayden about when mummy and daddy went to school and how we felt the same way he did. Kayden has being saying over the past few weeks he doesn’t want to go to school. When I asked him why he said he will miss his teachers from his nursery. I explained that he will make new friends with his teacher and will see his old teachers around school from time to time.  I told Kayden who my favourite teacher used to be I’m my school and that I saw her at playtime’s and in assembly. I have told him that all teachers are amazing because they can teach him things mummy and daddy cant.

Don’t be worried by tears 

Most children cry on their first day at school and It’s awful to leave your child in tears but remember teachers are used to this, they go through it each year and know how to make children feel welcomed and safe. I usually find that children are fine on their first day, then once they realise it’s every day they become tearful at drop off time, this is totally normal too.  It usually only lasts for a few weeks then they are running in to class forgetting to even say goodbye.

This is a huge change for children, be proud of them and let them know you are. Avoid saying “don’t be silly” or “Your acting like a baby or “all your friends are looking at you” support them, let them know they are safe and you will be waiting for them at the end of the day, you want to hear about all the new exciting things they have learnt that day. Oh and don’t be worried if you have tears, you will be skipping in to class too before long.

Role play schools with your child

I really think pretend play helps children understand the wider world, even if its done in your living room. Get a chalk board or pen and paper and take it in turns to be the teacher and child. Show them it can be fun, read books, sing songs, count  objects, do pretend work etc but also help them understand they must listen to the teacher, sit nicely and quietly.  This helps them to prepare for the environment they will be going in to.

Dont overload them with thoughts and information

Only talk about them starting their new class if they bring up the topic. They might be taking it in their stride, and talking about it may start to make them have thoughts and worries that may never arose.

Give yourself plenty of time 

Make sure you are prepared and have plenty of time on the first day, if you’re not used to doing the school run then maybe try a practice one, timing how long it takes. There would be nothing worse than having to walk in to a class late on the first day.  Give enough time to have a nice relaxed walk to school so your child feels they can say how they are feeling if they need to , and more importantly that they are being listened to.

Enjoy it

It’s a new chapter in their little life, they are learning new things and becoming independent, just like you did. Make sure on their first day you keep busy,  meet up with a friend or get some jobs done that you finally have time to do. You will be collecting your child before you know it, and they will have lots of exciting things to tell you.

Are you worrying about your child’s first day at school?  or do you have any tips I haven’t mentioned? if so, comment below.

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Reader Comments

  1. They’re great tips and I’ll certainly be keeping them in mind. My son doesn’t start formal school until he’s 6 (we live in Portugal), so I’ve another 2 years of kindergarten first but I’m hoping it’ll be a smooth transition for him (and me) when the time comes.

  2. Some great tips. My eldest starts next week (part time for a few weeks ease them in). I was not feeling too sad about it but then started thinking about the formality of school, not so much playing and being themselves. It breaks my heart a little that school is starting so soon, especially as he’s only just turned 4 and still napping. He’s still a baby, but deep down I know he’s ready and will love it. He talks about school all the time and is eager to learn.

  3. Oh i remember this with my two. I was so upset both times but held in the tears until they were in school. Now my two are going into year 3 and year 9! Time goes by so quickly!

  4. I have had 3 of my kids start school now and 2 of them are twins so started at the same time. All kids are different and will cope with it in different ways. You have given some great tips and hopefully he will love it. He will be very proud of himself when he can read or write something for the first time, thats a very lovely moment

  5. Monkey is going into year 2 in Sept bit ot feels like yesterday that he started!! I brought a book from M&S all about starting school which helped too. They had lots of settle sessions too which helped. We also spent time trying on his PE kit, so he was confident putting it on and taking it off. Xx

  6. This is great info. My three years old starting her nursery school next week, I’m feeling so nervous, hope settling process will be easy one.

  7. Honestly it’s worse for you than for them! I have two in school and on their first days I was a nervous wreck – both times they loved it! My children are now starting Middle school and Senior school next week, and again I’m feeling rather anxious for them (especially the younger one). But I know he’ll be fine – just need to make time every day to sit and talk about what they did/who they played with, what their teacher was like etc. Keep the communication flowing!

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