Going to school can be a big transition for your child, whether they’re returning after the holidays, or taking their next step after preschool. With lots of new and exciting opportunities and experiences, school is a fantastic step on each child’s learning journey and we’ve included a few tips below to make the transition a little easier:
The First Day
The first day of school can be a daunting, with lots of new faces and a new environment. Separations can be hard at any age, but even children who have separated from their parents easily for years may have some hesitation at the thought of entering a new school alone.
If your child hasn’t been to school before or visited a classroom environment, make sure they see it before starting so they know what to expect. Many schools offer ‘taster’ sessions for the new September intake too so don’t worry – your child will not have to walk into a totally unfamiliar room on their first day.
A great idea is to talk together about the routine ahead of time too: “I am not going to be able to walk you to your room like I could at nursery but I will walk you to the bus/school door and give you a hug.”
You could also try special touches like giving your child a family picture to tuck in their pocket or lunch box.
Separation for Parents
Separation can be hard for parents too. Give yourself a chance to notice your feelings, talk about them to your partner or friends, and also congratulate yourself for helping your child reach this significant milestone. A few tears from both you and your child are to be expected.
Rehearse the School Routine
Whether they’re returning after a fun-filled summer or starting in a new learning environment, make sure you run through the routine and what you expect each day. The school day can be a shock for some children who are just starting formal education for the first time and they may get tired and tearful after their first long day. Try to reassure them that lots of children feel tired and it’s another step on their learning journey.
If your child will be travelling by a school bus for the first time, you might try practicing first. Is there public transport that you could take together to experience what travelling on a school bus is like?
Shop together to buy school supplies, which will help your child feel prepared – perhaps a lunch box or bag, pencils and backpack. Many schools have particular items your child will need, so you may want to save some purchases until after their first day to learn specific school requirements.
Talk School Rules
Some children may be confused or anxious about school rules and worry about getting something wrong. If this happens, reassure them and suggest they keep an eye on what the other children and the teacher are doing.
Set a good precedence for learning at home
Bridging the gap between home and school is an extremely valuable step and it’s important for children to learn the significance of homework and continued learning outside the classroom. Make homework part of your evening routine and join in with the different activities where possible. This will help children to focus on their homework and see learning outside as a support.
Why not make a wall-chart and reward excellent effort and achievement with stickers? Children love to see their hard-work has been rewarded and this will help them to continue on their lifelong learning journey.