“You’re off to great places, Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”
Our heart swells in pride and love with this thought when our children step into the school for the first time. It is their first day into the lifetime of learning and achievements. However, it’s not the same for the children. The first day of school for the toddlers is to enter into a new environment which makes them anxious and scared. Preparing the kids for preschool can reduce the stress in the child that kicks in after we leave behind the kid in school.
“There is ample research that supports the idea that the single most important factor in promising a child a good school year is their parents’ involvement,” says Ann Pleshette Murphy, the author of “The seven stages of motherhood”. So here are few tips to make the first day of school easy for your kid.
Introduce them to the School Routine:
Create an interest about the school in the kids by talking to them about their new uniforms, friends, and the games they would play in school. It is always fun for the kids to buy school supplies like their schoolbags, lunchbox, and books. Parents can share memories of their own school days and try to focus on good and positive things that happened to you in your school. This would increase the interest of the children and they can get an idea of how their new school would be.
Discussing the routine of the day in school will help your child make a mental movie of what to expect. Kids visualize the scenes in their minds and review the process in detail. This will make things more familiar and less scary for them on the first day of school, advises Diane Levin, Ph.D., Professor of Education at Wheelock College.
Stay calm and let them relax
Most of the parents get anxious about their children’s school. They try to make everything perfect before their child gets off to school and make a fuss. This will intimidate the child and would be overwhelming too. It’s ok to be excited but it better to stay calm before the child else it will create chaos and anxiety in the little minds.
Take a few moments to calm yourself if you are excited. Set everything beforehand, as the day before the school will be filled with great excitement for the kids. Help the kids prepare their uniforms, bags and other things they need to carry to school which enables the children to relax and stay peaceful.
A Health Meal – Energetic Day
Their first day at school will be filled with many new experiences of new environments, new people, new learnings, new friends, and new routines. They would be excited and might get to explore a lot on the first day. Having a healthy and filling breakfast is very important for them to stay energetic throughout the day. Also, a half-filled stomach might make the child cranky and with the new people around they might not get to eat another snack. So it is essential to be mindful of their breakfast.
Let the breakfasts include easily digestible foods like Idly, Roti, Dosa, Rice Noodles, sandwiches, etc… and nutritious foods like cereal, vegetables, fruits, egg and etc… So it will be filling and wholesome. Avoid heavy and spicy foods like red meat and oily recipes on the first day of school. Fix a time to eat the breakfast and accompany them if possible. Practice the routine for a few days before school, so it will prepare the children to do it every day.
It is again important to teach them how to eat their food, especially packed lunches. They should know how to eat independently without being fed.
Expect less, Encourage more
As the kids start one of the important phases of their life, it is natural for the parents to expect more from their kids. Too much expectation from the child puts too much pressure on the kid. It will create an aversion for the child over the process itself. Let the child accept the change gradually at their own pace.
One step at a time is always good. Parents should not urge their children to learn well from the first day itself. Let the emphasis not be on academic learning. Everything they learn is an achievement and should be praised. Encourage them to enjoy and explore their new day of the new life. Support the kids with encouraging words, rewards, and positive thoughts.
Self-care – The best of all
Parents would be equally anxious to send their children off to school. Our concerns will be about the ability of the children to take care of themselves, usage of a washroom, and hygiene without help. Rather than being worried, it is always better to teach the children to be independent. This includes cleaning and wiping themselves, flushing the toilet, and washing their hands. Kids tend to play in the mud, sand, clay, and other outdoor things in school. So, they should be taught about self-care and hygiene. Home is the best place to start it with. Parents should encourage the children to keep themselves clean to avoid any disease. Show them how to wash their hands when it gets dirty.
Being with a room full of strangers with new rules and restrictions and a new environment is a big change for the little kid. Some children get terrified that it would be a struggle to send them to school the next day. Following the above tips will reduce the stress on the child and the parents. Parents should enjoy this precious stage with their kids. You may not completely avoid the tears of a child for the first day but you can definitely make it easy for the kids to handle their first day.