Starting School: 5 Tips to help plan a smooth transition

Starting school is a significant milestone for children (and parents). Here are five tips to help you prepare your child for their first day. 

The first day of school can be daunting and exciting. As you send your child off into the playground you have officially reached a new stage of parenthood and with it comes new responsibilities and challenges. 

Regardless of how easily your child transitions, the first term is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. 

Being prepared is important and here are five tips to help:  

1.  Talk to them about what to expect at school before their first day  

Having conversations about school  is important to help them prepare, mentally as well as emotionally. 

Why not read them a book about one of their favourite characters who attends their first day at school? Let them ask you lots of questions about it.  

Casually chatting about school – which school they are going to, who their teacher will be, who is also in their class, what they will be doing there - can also help make their first day less daunting. 

2.  Practise getting dressed, packing their bag and opening the lunchbox

In the weeks leading up to the start of school it's a good idea to ease them into their new routine gently. 

Why not set their alarm clock and get them used to the sound and waking up at that time?. Or make a game out of it and have a few dress-rehearsals which includes packing their lunchbox and bag.

3.  Consider cancelling all extracurricular activities for the first term. 

This may seem over-the-top but many parents agree that it’s important to maintaining a semblance of calm. 

The first term is all about adjusting and the best way to do that is to simplify your routine. When much of the day is dictated by the school bell, it’s refreshing to have a few hours of free time in the afternoon. Having nowhere to be and nothing to do gives children the opportunity to rest, recuperate and play.
girls eating strawberries

4.  Prepare a nutritious afternoon tea 

There’s a lot of emphasis on packing a healthy and interesting lunch  to entice your child to eat at school. But don’t be disappointed if they come home ravenous.  
A nutritious and filling afternoon tea can help satisfy their hunger till dinnertime. Try giving them: fruit, crackers and good fats like cheese and avocado, or if you’re feeling more adventurous try one of these recipes.  

5.  Be prepared for challenging moods and behaviour

Generally, your child will try their very best to be well behaved at school. So it’s no surprise that once they get in the comfort of their own home they may unleash their exhaustion in  a bit of attitude. 

A good way to respond? Take a deep breath…then show them kindness and understanding. Cuddles, scheduled down-time and plenty of rest may help them – and you! 
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