4 Tips To Help You Cope With The First Day Of School
By Dr. Saadia Asif

Reception, Playgroup, Montessori and a host of other names all have one thing in common – it is the first time your child is going to be on their own for a few hours without you.  Sure, you’ve had babysitters or family members watch them from time to time (you’re only human), but this is the first time they are going to be “independent”.

This is a stressful time for all parents, there are tears (often mom and dad’s), bargaining (when will you come and pick me up) and no small amount of emotional blackmail (how can you do this to me

Here are a few tips for parents to manage the transition from the home to school a bit more smoothly:

Prepare Your Child Before They Come In On Day 1

The first day of school should never be treated as a surprise. Your child needs a certain level of familiarity with their surroundings.  Make sure that you visit the school and the classroom. Introduce them to the teacher so that on their first day, they are not interacting with a complete stranger.

Manage Your Own Stress

Children are extremely sensitive to what is happening around them.  If you are stressed on anxious, they will sense that and their behavior will reflect that.  Just as you introduce your child to the school, the teacher and the environment, you must use that time to do the same for yourself. Make yourself comfortable and then you will be better able to be the calming voice of reason that your child needs you to be. M

Saying A Proper Good-Bye

Saying good-bye and walking away on the first day is tough, but you can make the process a bit easier. Make sure you re-introduce your child to their teacher and reinforce that you trust them.  Once they are handed over, say a proper good-bye and tell them you’ll be back in a little while to collect them, this builds trust between you and reduces their anxiety, But remember once you say good-bye, don’t linger,

Introduce A Reward System

Create a reward system for your child by recognizing them when they go to school without a fuss. This could be a simple calendar that gets a heart shape or a star, when they go to school without protesting (with or without tears).  At the end of the week you can reward them with a treat that they have been wanting.  But remember stick to the rules that they have set.

Finally If your child’s school allows it, you can ease the process on the first day by picking them up early for a few days, extending the period that they are away from you by a half hour each day.  Don’t extend the process for more than a few days though, otherwise it will become a habit.

While no plan is fool-proof, these tips should definitely give you a few tools for your planning process. Be calm, be confident and help your child be the same.