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How to Help Your Child to Prepare for the First Day of School


Tips from Teachers

Insights and Ideas from Smart Love teachers and tutors on how to help your children have a successful school year!

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Talk about it: Start discussing the idea of school with your child well in advance. It's normal for children to have an array of emotions from excitement to anxiety. You can help them understanding their feelings by encouraging them to talk about their emotions with you. It could sound something like, "How are you feeling about school starting? Kids can feel a lot of different emotions. I wonder what it's been like for you?" If they respond, praise their willingness to open up and encourage dialogue with statements like, "Thank you for sharing that with me. Tell me more..." or "It's great that you can tell me how you are feeling. Can you tell me about that?" Normalize their feelings with comments like, "I can understand that. It's normal to have these kinds of feelings when starting a new school year or starting something new. Talking about how you feel is one way to help you feel better." And continue to be available to answer any questions they may have and normalize any concerns or fears without badgering or applying pressure.


Visit the school: If possible, and especially if it's a new school, visit the school with your child before the first day. Familiarize them with the surroundings, show them the classrooms, playground, and other facilities. If there's an opportunity, arrange a meeting with your child's teacher before the first day of school. It will allow your child to meet their teacher, ask questions, and build a rapport. If this isn't something you're able to do, arranging playdates with other kids in their class can also help younger children feel better and give them a familiar face to look for on the first day. These strategies can ease their anxieties and make them more comfortable on the first day.


Establish a routine: Set up a consistent daily routine leading up to the first day of school. For children in elementary school that may look like practicing waking up, getting dressed, and having breakfast at the same time they will on school days. For older children it might be more helpful to have conversations with your child about how they'd like to structure their mornings and after school time. Be sure to ask your child, young or old, if there are things that they would like in the mornings or after school that you can do for them, it could be having their favorite beverage available, listening to music, etc. Establishing a routine will help your child adjust more easily. Parents can also prepare for the first day of school by preparing all the items they may need for their day at work ahead of time so that they can be available for whatever their children may need.


School supplies shopping: Involve your child in shopping for school supplies. Let them pick out their backpack, pencil case, notebooks, and other necessary items. This will make them feel more excited and invested in the school experience.


Read books about school: For young children find age-appropriate books about starting school and read them with your child. This will give them an idea of what to expect and help them understand that many children go through the same experience.


Offer your relationship: It can be helpful to remind your child that you are always there for them. Even though the summer is ending, which is a loss, you can find times and opportunities to connect. You can share with your child, on their first day of school, that at the end of the day the two of you can spend time together walking the dog together, riding bikes, playing their favorite game, etc. and they can tell you about their day. Remember, every child is unique, and some may take longer to adjust to the new environment. Be patient, supportive, and understanding throughout the process, and celebrate each milestone your child achieves during their journey into the school world.

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