Coping with your child’s first day at school

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  • Whether your little one is going back to school for another year, or its their very first time - it's always a nerve-wracking experience.

    It’s not much fun for child or parent. While you’re faced with a nervous son or daughter, they’re experiencing, sometimes, a brand new environment, new workloads, and lots of brand new friends and faces.

    Then, there’s separation anxiety. Many children will be leaving their parents side for the first time ever. And six hours can feel like a long time for many young ones.

    So how can you help them to deal with the big change that comes with heading off to school? And how can you help equip them if they’re nervous about returning to education after the long summer holidays?

    How to prepare your child for the first day of school:

    Make sure they know how to spell their name

    Sophie Baber, headteacher at Highfield and Brookham Schools in Hampshire, making sure they know their name, and how it’s spelt, is key to helping them navigate those first few days.

    She explained, “If there is one word that your child should be able to read when they start school, their name has to be at the top of the list.

    “It will be plastered on every available surface in school. Their register label, table, chair, pegs, books and obviously their uniform, beautifully labelled by you, will all be adorned with their name in an array of different fonts. The first letter is the starting point, but don’t stop there.”

    Get them familiar with the school before term starts

    If you’re bubba is heading off to school for the very first time, making sure they don’t turn up to somewhere totally alien on the first day is vital.

    Ann Henderson, spokesperson for the Pre-School Playgroups Association, told us back in 2007, “You’ve probably already visited the school but why not go again to remind [them]. Even if it’s holiday time, you could ring the secretary and arrange it. A quick glance at the classroom or even just walking past the building will make it more familiar.

    And reassure them that there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Although they’ll be learning a lot of new things, Ann says, “Don’t be too concerned about the pressure of work, the teacher will take it slowly.

    “Talk positively about the good things that will happen there and practice any necessary skills.