Going to school in the fall can be a bit scary, whether it’s for the tenth time or the first.
The good news is, there are things that you can do at home with your child to help them— and you— prepare for the first day of school. Preparing for the big day can help everything go smoothly and ensure that your child starts off the new school year on the right foot.
If your child is starting their first year of school at Kids Village Montessori, there’s nothing to feel anxious about. However, if you want to know the best ways to prepare yourself and your child for their first day, check out these fabulous tips below.
Getting Ready for the First Day of School
1. Talk About It
For kids, starting school can be an experience full of unknowns. A lot of the things that adults take for granted about going to school just aren’t obvious to kids. Let your child know what they can expect at school and how the school day will fit into their schedule. Regularly explaining what they will be doing at school can help relieve a lot of the anxiety that comes with the unknown.
Before the big day, walk your child through a normal school day: saying good morning to their teacher, being quiet in class, going to lunch, and what time they should expect to get picked up. Even if your child is returning to school, rehearsing a normal day ahead of time can help relieve some nerves and smooth the transition back to school.
You’ll also want to discuss the current pandemic and how this might affect your child’s first (or last) year in school. Make sure to get plenty of information from administrators and read up on how you can help to prepare them for school during COVID-19, as well as how you can help to keep them safe.
2. Get in the School Rhythm
In the summertime, schedules can be non-existent. From impromptu playdates to family visits and vacations, lots of things work together to make our schedules a little more relaxed in the summer. Unfortunately, the sudden flip from a relaxed summer schedule to the more structured days of school can be jarring for adults—much less kids!
Believe it or not, kids really love structure and routine. This makes the rhythmic consistency of Montessori schools the perfect learning environment. To help your child prepare, start including a bit of school-time regularity in your child’s schedule. Serve lunch at lunchtime, let your child know when the school day would end, and make sure they get to sleep in time for a normal school-day schedule.
3. Go to Meet-and-Greets
Most schools will try to help parents ease the transition of back-to-school life by holding meet-and-greets, open houses, or school tours. These events are usually held at the school itself, allowing your child the opportunity to demystify their upcoming first day of school.
Currently, many of these events are moving online. Virtual tours and video-calls can be a great way to let your child see where they’ll be learning, who they’ll be learning from, and that there’s no need to be afraid of either.
4. Plan for the Big Day
Before the first day, work with your child to plan out their morning routine. Having a clear idea of the amount of time needed to prep for the day ahead can help you and your child feel more confident the morning of.
Beyond a plan, make sure that you have everything your child will need for their first day of school. Put their shoes, bookbag, sweater, and lunch bag all in one place where your child can easily access them.
Letting them get themselves ready might take a bit longer, but it’s a great way to prepare them for the independence of Montessori learning.
5. Get Enough to Eat and Sleep
One of the most important factors for a stress-free first day of school is just making sure everyone gets enough sleep the night before. A child who’s gotten enough rest will be much more able to manage a full schedule.
Kids between the ages of 3 and 6 need between 10 ¾ and 12 hours of sleep per night.
Another key component of a successful school day is a healthy breakfast. Hungry children tend to have a harder time focusing at school and also tend to be more anxious. Make sure that your child has a complete breakfast and plenty of time to eat it.
6. Stay Positive!
One key tip parents should take away is that taking care of themselves can help their child’s day go better. In some ways, each of these tips is as true for you as it is for your child.
Never is this tip more important than on the first day itself. Letting your child know that you’re excited and confident for them to go to school can help them feel more relaxed. The best way to show your child that they’re ready is to show them that you’re ready. Long, tearful goodbyes can create separation anxiety, confusion, and general stress for a child. Keep your goodbyes relatively brief, and stay positive!