The first day of school is a moment dreaded by nearly every parent and great plenty of children – it is at school, after all, that our kids make their first steps towards their independence. Even though entering the harsh reality of a schooling institution is quite often a shocking experience to both parties involved, we maintain that with a little preparation beforehand this day might go down in everyone’s memory as a breakthrough in a positive sense.
Before we send our children off to school, we must ensure that they’re able to follow the social norms and conventions, not to mention the official school rules. Make sure that your child knows how to behave in this new environment – to sit still and listen to what teachers are saying, to dress and undress for the PE class. The knowledge of those skills will prove crucial during the first weeks at school, not only for our children but also for us – we’ll gain confidence in the growing independence of our kids. We should remember that, as parents, we can assist our children in a variety of manners, from choosing the right things to wear, like shoes with Velcro clasps instead of troublesome laces, to providing them with the right things to take, such as properly labeled and laminated books and notebooks or lunchboxes our children can easily use on their own.
Another thing to do right before the school term starts is preparing our children psychologically for taking the big step towards their education. What can immensely help our kids to grasp the technicalities of the new situation are books and cartoons that deal with the first days of going to school. Those can spark an opportunity for a conversation about this subject, in which parents should answer every question, doubt and anxiety their children might have. In general, children find going to a big school very exciting, but like all things exciting, this can get pretty scary as well. It’s important to empathize with our child and respond to them when they need to be reassured about the potential difficulties and their ability to cope with them on their own.
Once our offspring actually do take that first step on their path towards education, we must remember the necessity of open communication. If we observe that our child seems reluctant to go off to school, we can approach the subject by asking questions such as: “Who did you play with today?”, “Are there any naughty children in your class?”, or “Who are your best friends at school?”. Paying close attention to their answers will benefit our understanding of their situation and, should we spot an indication that our child feels lonely or is being bullied by other children, we shouldn’t hesitate to contact the teachers who generally hold a firm grasp on the school life and thus can confirm any suspicions we might have.
Going to school for the first time is without a doubt a big thing in the life of our children, so we should ensure their proper preparation, both psychological and practical. Reflecting on the new situation our kids find themselves in and helping them in dealing with the school reality will create a strong bond that will benefit in their future.