5 tips to help prepare for the first day of school

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Here are 5 tips to help prepare for the first day of school to help both you and your child have a great first day! 

The thought of the first day of school comes with so many emotions, excitement, nervousness and these days, some uncertainty about whether the school year will be disrupted again. We as parents and caregivers want to be sure our child is socially, emotionally and physically ready to start the first day of school. If your child is just starting school this year, they may be excited and nervous at the same time and sometimes this is about the unknown, however, at times it can be separation anxiety because they may not have been away from you all that much during their first five years. For kids going into older grades, it might be some nervous energy about starting another school year, thinking about all the learning they will have to do and you may find they become clingier to you. The carefree school holidays are coming to an end and the set routine of school will start for another year. We can help our kids to be ready for the first day of school with some simple strategies. 

Here are 5 tips to help prepare for the first day of school.

1. Create a morning routine

If you have been progressively setting your kids bedtime 15-30 minutes earlier every day for a week or so before school, then the first day of school wake should be fairly easy with your child waking up feeling refreshed and ready for their first day of learning.

Create a morning routine using our morning routine charts to help remind the kids of what tasks are required to get ready for school e.g. brush teeth before getting dressed so toothpaste doesn’t spill on their uniform. Younger children may need assistance and encouragement, however, getting them to follow a checklist will eliminate you nagging and allow the kids to learn how to independently be ready each morning. Over the years I have used routine charts to help calm the chaos in our household.  By presenting tasks in this fun way it has achieved:

  • improved behaviour
  • created organisation in the daily routine
  • increased self-esteem, self-sufficiency and responsibility
  • learning important life skills

2. Plan school lunches and pack lunch boxes night before

Making your kids lunch the night before will save you precious time in the morning. Have you bought all your childs lunch box essentials? Stay on top of your kid’s lunches by creating a weekly lunch box meal plan, so that you have time to make healthy school snacks for them and avoid all the nasty junk food and processed food that so many children eat these days.

An idea could be to make lunches while you’re organising dinner so you can add some vegetables and other easy dinner foods such as pasta, roast vegetables and salads into the lunchbox. If you feel like it, ask your kids to help create their daily lunch boxes, that way they know what’s in it and will be more likely to eat it! Remember, just a little bit of organising in advance, will make your mornings a little bit smoother! 

3. Practice makes perfect with reward charts

Help your child practise the morning routine. This is especially great for kids who are starting school or in their early years of learning. Look to the morning routine chart as guidance and help your child practice eating breakfast, brushing their teeth before putting their school uniform on, getting dressed, making their bed, tidying their room and packing their school bag. If you practise with your child they will be more inclined to do what is needed and slowly but slowly, this can become a routine.

Do you have a child who needs some incentive to gets things done? Get a reward chart, tick off or pop a sticker on every task achieved and at the end of the week give your child a little treat, they will love that! Reward charts are a great way for your child to see how great they are doing which gives them incentive to keep up the good work!

4. Talk about your childs feelings

With the uncertainty of the last two years, it won’t be uncommon for kids of all ages to be feeling anxious and nervous at this time of year to be starting school. Validate your childs feelings without trying to make them feel better straight away. Set a positive tone to their worries and concerns and let them know you are always help them in any situation. A few ways to calm their nerves are:

  • Practice your goodbyes – you could create at secret handshake which only you and your child know and make it exciting. This could lessen any negative emotions for the first day of school. Let your child know at the end of every day, they will be coming home to you. 
  • Find out who your childs school teacher is and if there is an opportunity to meet him or her so your child can feel comfortable on the first day of school.
  • Some schools have a class transition day where your child can meet and get to know kids they will be learning with the following year. If the transition day didn’t happen, try and find out through other mums or the school teacher to see if any of your childs friends are in that class. They will make new friendships no doubt, however, familiarity helps with back to school nerves. 
  • On the first day of school, drop your child off to class but try not to linger. If you become emotional your child will pick up on this. The longer you are there the more attached your child may become. 

5. Celebrate with your child

School days may not be as exciting as school holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate all things about school. If you loved school as as a kid, then remind your child of all the things you enjoyed. Some positive things you could talk about are:

  • They will get the chance to see and spend time with their friends every day.  
  • They can learn to play all types of different sports and games which they may not otherwise get a chance to do.
  • They get to learn cool stuff in all the different subjects and even get the chance to do experiments in science.
  • They get to go on school excursions to some really great places. 
  • School camp! One of the best things about school is getting to go on school camp and have adventures with your friends. 
  • Get the chance to learn from some really great teachers who can change your outlook on things and help you find things you’re passionate about.

There are so many great things about school and talking about them will help your child realise their days will be full of adventure and learning.

WHAT IS YOUR FONDEST MEMORY OF THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL?

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