How to Prepare for Your Child’s First Day at School
Last week in the UK you would have found out if your little one got the school place you hoped for. Now, it’s time to plan for your child’s first venture into the world of education. The date has been circled on the calendar for months, and you’ve been nervously anticipating the big day for ages. Your child’s first day at school has swung around more quickly than anyone could imagine and your house will no doubt be buzzing with a mixture of excitement, curiosity, apprehension and nerves – and that’s just the parents!
We all have the same worries about our precious little people starting school - what if they don't make any friends, or what if they hate it and can’t settle in? It’s only normal to be a little anxious but remember that although you may be feeling sad about letting go of your child's hand on that first day, they may be chomping at the bit for their next big adventure to start. So wipe away those tears and let’s look at how best to prepare for your child’s first day at school…
4 Tips You Need to Read Before Your Child Starts School
If you’re running around like a headless chicken on the first day looking for uniform, PE kit, paperwork and lunchboxes, neither of you will have the calm start you need. Pack bags the night before and have everything ready to go. It is a nice bonding experience to have your little one help you pack everything so they know exactly what they’ve got (and where), and you can talk everything through with them about what their first day might be like. This is a good opportunity to put any last-minute nerves to one side with a talk and the chance for little one to get any last minute worries off their chest.
Labels, Labels, Labels!
Part of the organisation of prepping for your child’s first day at school is labels. One of the headaches of school life is losing possessions - and items will inevitably go astray. Encourage your little one to take ownership of their belongings by putting things away in pencil cases and bags, and making sure they use their own named peg at school. Labelling clothing, shoes, stationary and books is one of the first things you’ll need to do to make sure that nothing gets lost. Here at My Name Label we have developed a range of illustrations, fonts and colours to make sure labelling is simple, fun and effective. Ask your child to choose a special symbol or unique image which is easily recognisable to help identify belongings easily in those fraught early weeks when everyone's items may look identical. We recommend starting with the (aptly named!) starter pack.
Talk to Your Child’s Teacher
Acquaint yourself with the teacher and let them know of anything happening at home which may affect your little one in their first days and weeks at school. Easing the transition of a new teacher is smoother if you know him/her and you speak about him/her often in the lead up to your child’s first day at school. Hopefully by the time they start they will have met the teacher already in their open day and perhaps their pre-school arranges visits too. There should be an easy communication pathway between you and the teacher, and you should feel like you can contact them with any concerns. However! Remember that they have a whole class full of children with parents to look after too, so try not to be that parent who is on the phone every day. Trust them and leave them to do their job unless you have pressing matters which need attention.
Plan a Distraction
Once you’ve dropped your child off at their school on the first day, you may feel a little sad/anxious/like you deserve a treat (!) so be sure to plan a distraction for when you walk away from the school gates. Meeting up with your mum/friend for a coffee or swim is a lovely way to take your mind off the fact your little one isn’t by your side and will give you the distraction you need to get through that tricky first day. It won’t be long until 3pm swings around! Who knows, you may even get used to the freedom and get yourself a new hobby or take up a new sport…
A Mum’s Poem to the Teacher on her Son’s First Day of School… (tissues at the ready!)
I know you're rather busy
First day back, there's just no time
A whole new class of little ones
And this one here is mine
I'm sure you have things covered
And have done this lots before
But my boy is very little
He hasn't long turned four
In his uniform this morning
He looked so tall and steady
But now beside your great big school
I’m not quite sure he’s ready
Do you help them eat their lunch?
Are you quick to soothe their fears?
And if he falls and hurts his knee
Will someone dry his tears?
And what if no-one plays with him?
What if someone’s mean?
What if two kids have a fight
And he’s caught in between?
You’re right, I have to leave now
It’s time for him to go
I’m sure he’ll learn so much from you
Things that I don’t know
Yes, I’m sure they settle quickly
That he’s fine now without me
I know he has to go to school
It’s just so fast, you see
It seems like just a blink ago
I first held him in my arms
It’s been my job to love, to teach
To keep him safe from harm
So, when I wave goodbye in a moment
And he turns to walk inside
Forgive me if I crumple
Into tears of loss and pride
I know as I give him one more kiss
And watch him walk away
That he’ll never again be wholly mine
As he was before today.
And a Teacher’s Beautiful Poetic Response…
I understand that you are scared
to wave your child goodbye
and leave him in a teacher’s hands
don’t worry if you cry!
I’m used to weeping parents
It’s hard to leave I know.
But it’s time to share him (just a bit)
To help him learn and grow.
Let me reassure you
That I’ll give your child my best
I’ll wipe his tears, soothe his fears
And change his dirty vest!
If your darling child is full of cold
I’ll blow their nose all day
Just like you, I’ll care for them
In a special way.
I’ll treat him like I would my own
I’ll catch him from a fall and
If there is ANY problem
I’ll be sure to tell you all.
It’s true he’ll grow to love us
They’ll talk of school a lot
It doesn’t mean they hate you
And that you should lose the plot!
I’ll tell you a secret..
That when your child is here
They talk to me as much of you
Of this please have no fear.
You’ll always be their mother
Whilst teachers come and go
To them you are their number one
This I truly know.
Soon you’ll see some changes
In your little girl or boy
They’ll become more independent
And to see this, it’s a joy!
I’ll teach them all I have to give
To share, climb and to write
But to you they safely will return
To tuck them in at night.
With love from a teacher…
Please let us know how your child’s first day of school was and what you might be most nervous about with your child’s impending first day this September. We are here for all your labelling needs so please do get in touch to order your child’s name labels to make sure that first day runs as smoothly as it can. We’re right beside you every step of the way!