It probably seems like your child’s first school day is destined to be a traumatic event. But with a few simple tips, it doesn’t have to be that way!
The first school day can seem like an occasion that’s never going to arrive. Then, when it does, you wonder how it snuck up so quickly. Before you know it, the little bundle of joy you fed, clothed and loved for five years or so has blossomed into a slightly bigger bundle of joy, about to enter the wider world.
The only question now is whether or not everyone is ready for it; no matter if it’s the very first school day or going back to a new year level with new teachers and classmates.
Every new school year can present issues until children become settled and confident in their new schooling environment—and every parent feels some level of anxiety, excitement and anticipation.
Luckily at Stuck On You, we have a huge collective experience of parenthood—including plenty of first days of school. So we’ve combined our collective wisdom to provide some great tips for surviving the big day!
The long-term build-up
It’s important to address any concerns your child may have about starting school well in advance. That way you can take the steps to allay them as promptly as possible.
Simple tricks to reduce the worry can include visiting the school a few times beforehand to become familiar with the surroundings, or getting your child accustomed to school routines. Encourage eating at home from a Bento Box, for example.
It’s also vital to not downplay your own feelings and concerns. Your child’s first school day is a huge milestone for you too.
But it’s best to acknowledge your feelings in a way that doesn’t transmit your anxieties to your child. Instead, talk them through with your partner, best friend or other adults. And don’t feel sad that school could mean your child doesn’t need you as much; “Muuuum!” won’t be going away anytime soon, we promise.
Also, don’t forget to get excited about the great things coming your way. You’ll now be able to drink coffee while it’s still hot and go shopping without it being a full-scale military operation. Not to mention having a leisurely lunch that can involve eating undisguised vegetables with undisguised glee!
You’ll also want to make sure you label all of those school supplies with the Stuck On You range; you don’t want to spend your new free time wading through lost property or replacing lost items.
The short-term build-up
Then there are the things you can do the night before and the morning of that first day. These are vital as anxiety (and perhaps some tears) could be prevalent.
Preparation is the key here. Having as much organised as possible will free up time for the unexpected. Set the alarm a little earlier than usual, put out the uniform so it’s ready to go, and have a breakfast menu ready to implement with ease.
And don’t forget to expect the unexpected. It’s a rare event when anything involving kids goes entirely as scheduled—let alone something like the first school day. Have a contingency plan (otherwise known as a form of bribery) ready if things go awry. This may be letting them take a comfort item for the first few days, or promising a treat that night after dinner.
Ultimately, you just need to relax, take a breath and remember that you will all get through it.
The moments of truth
Enjoy the little highlights of the day as much as you can; it’s likely you’ll be cherishing them for a long, long time.
Get your phone out and take lots of photos. Smiles, tears, tantrums—you’ll want to capture the lot (if only for embarrassing 21st birthday party fodder).
Take time to enjoy hugs before you do have to finally say goodbye, and don’t be shy to let out any emotions once you have. Whether that’s tears of joy or the other kind, well, we’ll leave that up to you.
Then when it’s time for the pick-up, try to act as cool as possible. Engage in a direct conversation about the day but don’t be discouraged if your enthusiastic chatter is met with silence; you will get the full report at some stage—just hopefully before bedtime.
Finally, for that first day and a few days afterwards, you may need to be a little more lenient than usual with any post-school meltdowns. Your child is adjusting to a big life change, one filled with plenty of new faces and lots of new routines.
Just keep in mind that you’ve done it! You’ve finally reached the stage of child-rearing where you get a significant portion of the day—every day—to enjoy some peace and quiet.
And remember, day two is just around the corner!
Have you survived a child’s first school day before? What is your advice? Let us know in the comment section below!