Are you sending your child off to school for the very first time?

Are you feeling nervous?  Is your child anxious?

These are all very normal feelings that many children and parents have at the beginning of school.

I taught Kindergarten for 5 years prior to having children and would you believe that I got nervous every year too?  Yes, that’s right!  Teachers are often very excited and nervous as well.  I was also nervous as a parent sending my children off to school for the very first time.  Many questions ran through my mind leading up to the first day.  And yes, I cried when I reached my vehicle (yes, I drove them on the first day despite the fact that we have a bus) when I left both of my children on their first day of school.  Both times I said that I wouldn’t cry, but that wave of overwhelming emotion that pours over you as you walk away leaving your baby at school for the first time is indescribable!

Parents often wonder:

  • Will my child separate with ease?
  • Will my child cry?
  • Will I cry?
  • Will my child make friends easily?
  • Will my child behave?
  • Will my child have a washroom accident?
  • Will my child be too tired?
  • Will my child thrive academically?
  • Will my child eat their snacks and lunch?

The reality is, regardless of the outcome of all of these questions, come June, you know that your child will have figured out how to be separated from you, they will have friends and whatever challenges you have faced throughout the year, they will be managed.  You will look back upon their first year of school and wonder where time went!

Going to school for the very first time is a huge milestone in a child’s and parent’s life.  It can be nerve-racking, exciting and fun.

Your job as a parent is to ensure that your child is as prepared as they can be, to communicate regularly with your child’s teacher and to be by your child’s side as they navigate through this new stage of their life.

Back to School

5 Tips for a Successful First Year of School:

 

  1. Label Everything! – Things WILL get misplaced at school and it helps out the staff at the school more than you will ever know if everything that you send to school has a label. Your child will not always be there to claim their misplaced items.
  2. Buy a REGULAR sized backpack – Regardless of your child’s size, they require to bring specific items with them to and from school and a small sized backpack will not work. Purchase a regular sized backpack (don’t forget to label it with your child’s name) right from the start.
  3. Send an extra pair of clothing – Extra clothing includes a top, pants, underpants and socks. For the cooler months, be sure to pack an extra pair of mittens (be sure to label them with your child’s name). Pack the extra items in a plastic bag that is LABELLED with your child’s name. Yes, you should be seeing a pattern here….LABEL EVERYTHING!
  4. Communicate with your child’s teacher – Regular home-school communication is extremely important. Your child’s teacher is their main caregiver throughout the day, it is helpful for them to know what is going on in your child’s life. This includes if they get hurt, if they aren’t feeling well or if they were up late the night before. It takes you only a minute or two to write a quick note, email or to verbally give the teacher heads up about these situations and it will go a long way to ensure that your child has the best day possible with their teacher’s guidance and support.
  5. Talk to your child – Many days it is very hard to get details out of your child about their school day, but this regular communication is extremely important to help your child be successful and for them to know that you are there for them when they need to talk to you. Asking a question like: “How was your day?” may not be specific enough to get an answer. Try asking specific questions like: “What story did you listen to today?”, “What was your favourite song today?”, “What was your favourite activity today?” or “Who did you play with today?”.

Being a parent is one of my the most challenging jobs ever, but it is also a very rewarding job. Regardless of what your experience is for the first day and the first week of school, the pride that you will feel as you realize your baby has began their education will be a feeling that you will cherish forever.


 

Amanda Gobatto is a wife, mom, baker, photographer, crafter, singer, blogger

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