How do you prepare your child for first day of school and how to help their younger sibling/s to cope
Welcome back to a brand new year and new school year/term.
We all had enjoyed a few weeks of celebration welcoming the new year 2017, then came Australia Day giving us more family holiday time. I had also celebrated Chinese New Year just a few days ago. Phew! There were lots of catching up with friends as well as good food during this time.
For many of is, it is now settling down back to routine and getting ready for the new term. Today is the start of a new school term, new friends, new classrooms, new teachers, new routines… so many fun and exciting things to look forward to.
I recalled not too long ago, my daughter, Eileen and I were walking my elder son, Jonathan to his first day of school. We walked him to the school gate, filled with anxiousness as we were not sure what to expect from the first day of school, whether he was able to cope, would he have friends to play with etc.
At the same time, I was also feeling awfully sad, as I would be missing him. I would have to learn to let him go to face the world (school) on his own. My younger daughter was just as sad, as Jonathan was her playmate for the past 3-4 years and now she had to say good bye to him and going home without him for good part of the day. Both of us were just sad, but excited for him.
As parents, how do you prepare your child(ren) for first day of school and how to help their younger sibling/s to cope?
This is a very delicate subject and every family has its own way of handling. To share with you, this was what I did and some thoughts:
- Prepared my son's uniform the night before, got his school bag, shoes and socks ready. We did a rehearsal prior. He tried on his uniform and shoes, picked up the bag and walked around the house!.
- Allowed extra time in the morning to organize the lunch box. Normally it would take a few days to get used to the routine of making lunch box and morning tea/snack.
- Allowed some time to have breakfast with your child, talking positively about his or her new school and opportunities to make new friends. If you child need to talk about his/ her thoughts, this is a perfect time to focus on him/her and provide some space for your child to share his/her feelings.
- If you are feeling anxious, allow some time to have breakfast with your spouse, to share your anxiousness. The feeling of sharing with someone is a great way to release the stress and anxiousness.
- Leave a loving note in your child's lunch box, i.e. I love you, have a FUN day at school etc.
- I found this very helpful – walking your child to school. If you have to drive, park your car further away from the school and walk to the school gate with your child. The walk will help easing the tension for both of you, as when you walk together, you will start to relax and not focusing on the things that you are anxious about.
- If the younger sibling/s are not going to school yet, treat them a nice morning tea before heading back home. It is a good way to distract them from missing the older sibling.
I hope the above tips are helpful. Good luck for the first week back to school, and I hope you will have fun!