First day jitters are a reality for so many kids, and their grown-ups for that matter! Let’s face it, starting at a new school or going back to school after the summer holidays is not always light-hearted and fun. For some this change in routine and new environment can be rough, and even anxiety-inducing.
Like any new experience or school year, being prepared is the only way to get ahead. Particularly where there are young kids involved, making basic preparations is key to dealing with situations where there are lots of unknowns. The more things feel familiar and controlled, the more children can relax and feel confident.
Here are our top 10 tips to keep back 2 school vibes cool and calm, whilst empowering your little champs in the next phase of their schooling life.
the week before
- - There is no normal reaction to starting new or going back to school, every child is unique and will feel their way through their experience. All you can do is be there! Spend time listening to your child’s thoughts, questions and concerns and provide reassurance where you can.
- - Routine is key. Try to establish a good dinner, bath and bedtime routine at least a week leading up to when school begins. You want to ensure that little ones are well rested and ready to tackle busy school days. It’s probably a good idea to start setting wake-up alarms too, so that early mornings aren’t a shock to the system… for your kiddies or for you!
- - Talk through the morning routine; wake up time, getting dressed, eating a healthy breakfast, brushing teether and hair, what time to leave etc. This helps kids to anticipate what to expect, and what is expected of them. Routine charts can be really helpful in those early days, to keep kids on track with what they need to do by breaking routines down step by step.
- - Try to avoid statements like, “you’re going to love school” or “you’re going to make so many friends” as this puts an expectation out there, that may just not be a reality for all kids. Rather, opt for reassuring phrases like, “I’m so proud of you” or “I’m here for you no matter what”.
the day before
- - As part of the morning or night before routine, it’s a great idea to get kids involved in their lunch preparations. This is especially handy for anxious kids who are starting school for the first time, as it empowers them and helps them feel more in control of their experience. It’s also a lovely way to spend some time together – talking through healthy options, likes and dislikes, how much food is enough, and more. To get you going with some healthy lunch ideas, visit vic.gov.au
Get prepared for nutritious lunches, with the b.box lunchbox range. Perfect for hungry little learners with an easy open latch, multiple compartments for lots of variety and a gel cooler pack to keep food fresh throughout the day.
- - Fill up water bottles the night before, if it’s warm you can keep them refrigerated so they are nice and cool, ready to go in the morning. Every little task you can do the night before will help to keep mornings calm!
- - With your help, get kids to help pack their school bags the night before. You can use a chart or visual checklist if needed to support the littlies. Tasks like these ensure your family isn’t running around in a panic on school mornings, whilst also providing kids with a sense of ownership and responsibility – every body has a part to play in the family dynamic!
- - Get school uniforms and other essentials ready for the morning so you’re not trying to find them last minute. A lost hat or missing shoe can create un-needed stress too early in the morning and can really set the whole day off on the wrong trajectory!
on day one
- - Set alarms a little earlier than usual, just to be safe! Check the traffic in the morning and allow some extra time. Assist your child to get ready and to follow their morning routine. You don’t want to be rushed in those first few weeks, rather have the time to repeat the routine together to establish good habits. Before you know it, kids will be getting through their routine un-aided!
- - Be patient folks! First days, and weeks, are hard on everyone as you all get into the swing of things. Remember to provide reassurance at every step and to commend your little one on their efforts. Using a mood chart can assist to explore their feelings in those early days and weeks.
The main thing to remember is to keep it light. First days are a milestone to be celebrated and remembered. You’ve got this folks!