Preparing for their first day of school

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As the new year begins, many families are preparing for the momentous event of when their child starts school.  

For some children, the thought of starting school is an exciting adventure while for others it can seem a little daunting. No matter where your child sits on the spectrum of emotions you can support them to start school eager and ready to learn. 

Preparing for this exciting day can help put you and your little one at ease. Here are some simple tips to get you both ready for the big day: 

  • Talk regularly with your child about what will happen on the first day of school. This prepares your child for their future school routine. 

  • Even though a small part of you may be sad that your baby is growing up, be excited whenever you talk about them starting school. 

  • Have picnics in the backyard and unwrap lunches or open containers together. This not only allows your child to practise these skills but will give you an indication about how they’ll cope eating a packed lunch. 

  • Involve your child in the labelling of school supplies. Get them to point out their name or chat about the different letters that make up their name.  

  • Practise getting ready for school and help your child try on their uniform. Talk about what a uniform is and all the different items they’ll need, like socks and shoes.  

  • Go for a drive past their school and point it out to them. 

  • If you visited the school for an enrolment interview, talk about this with your child: “Remember when we visited your classroom and met your teacher, Mrs. Smith? You’ll get to see her when you start school.” 

Remember, even the most prepared children may find the first day of school overwhelming, or even later in the week when the novelty wears off - and that’s okay. Sometimes it just takes time. This goes for caregivers as well! Be kind to yourself with all the feelings that come with a first day or week at school, no matter if you have a clinging anxious one, an emotional crier or a child that bolts off without a moment’s hesitation or farewell – it’s all normal and the teacher will know how to best support you all. Enjoy the rollercoaster!  

Books suggestions about the first day of school: 

  • I Have to Start at School Today by Simon Philip 
  • I Am TOO Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child 
  • My First Day at School by Meredith Costain and Michelle Mckintosh 
  • First Day by Andrew Daddo 
  • Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg 

If these titles are not available in your local library, ask the friendly staff for other recommendations.  

First 5 Forever sessions are free at your local library! Join other families and enjoy a fun adventure with your little one.

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