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Surviving the First Day at School

By: Sarah Cruickshank - Updated: 22 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
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The first day at a new school is a stressful time for your child and you, but there are things you can do to make the experience less stressful and more enjoyable.

Preparing for the Day

First, make sure you know where you should be and what time you need to be there. Remember, many settings have staggered starts on the first day to help everyone settle, so don’t rely on someone else’s information, if you’re not sure check with the school.

Make sure you get everything ready the night before. Label all clothes and equipment and make sure your child can recognise all their belongings.

Find the best route to school before the first day and work out how long it will take to get there. If you’re driving or using public transport, make sure you leave enough time to allow for any traffic problems, its better and less stressful to arrive early than late.

If you’re going to be meeting your child from school at the end of the day, find out what the arrangements are for the children being dismissed and then agree a place where you can meet. If your child is allowed to make their own way home, ensure that the school are aware of this so that there is no confusion.

Know what the arrangements for lunch and snacks are and have something familiar prepared or the money to buy school dinners.

On the First Day

On the first day its better for your child to take everything they might need so that they’re prepared for any eventuality, once you have a timetable or are more familiar with the routine, you can decide together what your child will need each day.

Make sure your child takes some water to drink and encourage them to remember to take a drink at every opportunity, this will not only make them feel better, but can also help learning.

Once the Day is Over

Don’t plan to do anything after the first day of school, whatever age your child is, they’re going to be tired out after an exciting and stressful day. Have their favourite snack ready for when they get home, have a good chat about how the day went and what they’re most looking forward to in the weeks and months to come. Make sure you look at any letters, timetables and homework schedules that come home so that you can begin to get a picture of what a typical week is going to look like. You’ll need to look at any after-school activities your child already does so that you can discuss when homework can be tackled and whether there is any time for your child to take on extra clubs or commitments.

Have a favourite tea to share together as a family and then lay out uniform and whatever is going to be needed on day two before encouraging your child to get an early night.

Hopefully, by following the advice suggested here, both you and your child will have prepared yourselves in advance for the first day at a new school and will be able to enjoy it and get the most out of it with the minimum of stress on the actual day.

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