The first day of any school year is filled with a roller coaster of emotions, for parents and children. Even for teachers! The first day of prep however is filled with it’s own special challenges and there are many things parents and carers can do to smooth the way for their children.
What can parents and carers do on that first day to help?
- Be organised! Organise as much as you can before the first morning. Have your child’s clothes and shoes set out, lunches packed and school bag ready to go. Try to have a more relaxed morning.
- Talk about other children or siblings your child already knows who will be at the school
- If brothers or sisters are at the school, talk with them about doing a quick check in or hello at some point during the day.
- Ask your child if they have any questions and answer them simply. They might be worried about where the toilets are, or how you’ll know when to come get them.
- Remind your child of where you’ll pick them up or meet them.
- Stay with your child as long as the teacher wants you to and be confident when it comes time to say goodbye. Prolonging the separation can make it more difficult for all of you, so establish a plan, with the teacher if necessary, in making the transition to being under the teacher’s care.
After the first day
- Take the time to talk to your child about their day and be ready to hear what they want to talk about
- Don’t push your child for information but let them know you are really interested
- Give your child time to relax and take a nap if needed. School is tiring!
- Consider minimising your child’s extra-curricular activities during the first few months of school. Tired “preppies” at the end of first term is a very common story.
If you are concerned about how your child is managing school, take the opportunities to talk to the teacher. Teachers can be really busy in the mornings and afternoons so if you want a longer chat, arrange a special meeting to discuss your concerns or achievements.
Read more: Starting prep: Mums and Dads Emotional Roller Coaster