You may experience all sorts of feelings leading up to and as your child starts Prep. They are all okay to feel even if an overwhelming sense of freedom is the main one. Mums and Dads go through a rollercoaster of emotions too!
Many parents feel nervous about their child’s first day of school, perhaps more so than the child. Other parents are excited for their child and feel that they’ll get so much out of a more structured environment. Some feel a real sense of loss that their little buddy, who’s just starting to get interesting, will be away from them.
And yes, many feel a sense of freedom and a new stage of their identity as a parent, where they may be able to focus more on work or study and have less parenting responsibility during the day.
It’s normal to feel all these as it’s a big change in your life as well, and looking after yourself during this time is important. It can take days and weeks to feel like things are getting back to a more “normal” feel.
- Keep accessing your normal supports available- partners, parents and friends to talk to and be with. Sometimes the loss of play dates or visiting with grandparents for example can cause some relationships to change so try to keep those contacts going.
- If you work, let work know that this transition is happening and come in late for a few days in that first week if you can.
- Make some new friends with other parents or just have a chat at the gate after drop off if you feel comfortable with that. Talking to other parents about their experiences during this time is a good idea, and you might make some really good friends in the same stage of life as you.
- Make time to have some enjoyable activities with your child after school at the end of those first few school days. Something simple like stopping for an ice-block or walking the dog together will help them if they are having any separation adjustment problems and will remind you they are still your little buddy.
The first few weeks can be stressful for everyone, especially parents, as you get to wait whilst they have a ball at Prep meeting new people and trying new things. If you, or your child are having trouble adjusting a few weeks or months down the track, don’t be afraid to ask the teacher or principal for support. And of course see your GP or get in touch with us if you have any special concerns.
Try to enjoy the first days and weeks of your child’s journey into school. It’s a huge step for both of you and one that will begin many more as they make their way into the wide world of school.
Read More: Are they ready for prep?