Butterflies, frogs, and galloping horses. Your stomach feels like a veritable zoo as you and your child anticipate the first day of school. Preparation is the key to soothe the jitters that inevitably occur with this milestone.
Take your child on a field trip and enjoy an afternoon exploring his school and surrounding areas. Order a glass of juice and relax in the cafeteria as you take note of the current prices in order to assess how much allowance you should give. Show him where the bathrooms are located. The playground is always a hit while the clinic can be your lifesaver. This will minimize his anxiety about getting lost in school without you as his navigator.
Read a Book
There are numerous books that tackle the issues that can arise on your child’s first day of school. “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn is a good resource for separation anxiety. “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes confronts the subject of bullying in the early years. Settle in for a fun yet informative story-telling session with your little one.
Involve your child in your preparations. Allow him to choose his backpack and lunchbox. His favorite Ben 10 pencils with matching eraser and sharpener will get him excited to write. Ask him to count the number of notebooks he needs. Giving him the responsibility to select the materials he needs for school will aid in boosting his confidence.
Cousins, neighbors, and children of your friends: ask around for potential schoolmates and arrange for a play date. A familiar face will ease his fears of being all alone in unfamiliar territory.
Prepare everything your child will need the night before. Try on his uniform and make sure you lay it out for easy access in the wee hours of the morning. Alternatively, you can ask your child to choose his outfit if the school does not require uniforms. Plan his healthy lunch menu for the whole week and ensure that all the ingredients you need are on hand. Keep a little notebook or have a bulletin board where you can post reminders and lists for a smooth first day of school.
Make sure your child gets at least eight to ten hours of sleep the night before. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed due to lack of sleep is a surefire way to render all your preparations awry.
Get to school early to allow your child time to relax in his surroundings before the chaos of school begins. When planning for this, take traffic conditions into consideration. A dry run the week before can also help you find the easiest and most convenient route to the main gate. If you do not have a driver, allot enough time to scout around for a parking slot, which may often be non-existent if you arrive when everyone else does.
Having a positive attitude toward school and learning will do wonders in boosting the success of your child – on the first day as well as the succeeding days. “Have fun in school” is a good reminder to impart to your child as he embarks on this journey.