While one of the happiest days of the year for many parents is fast approaching, it can also be one of the most stressful. But it needn’t be.
Education lecturer with Charles Darwin University’s School of Education, Donna Robbins said that parents had the power to take the anxiety out of the return to school and starting school for the first time.
Ms Robbins said that routines and self-sufficiency were important skills for children to develop and would ease the transition back to school.
“The first few weeks are often hectic as parents and students get back into the routine of school or experience it for the first time,” she said.
Ms Robbins said that with planning, parents could turn this potentially traumatic event into a happy experience.
“Getting children to at least help with getting their uniforms ready and lunches together is really important,” she said.
“Designating routines and places for newsletters, excursion forms and homework so parents get to read them is also essential to get things off to the right start.”
Ms Robbins’ tips for the first day at school include:
• Be prepared: Ensure your children have their uniforms and everything they will require before the first day of school.
• Food for thought: Plan lunches and involve your child in what will be included in their lunch box.
• Visit the school: Before the first day, familiarise yourself with the school so you know how to get there and where to park.
• Be on time: It is important to be on time on the first day and every other day.
• Know the teacher: Make time to get to know your child’s teacher through parent information nights and personal appointments. Make a quick phone call and check if the school has website and email capabilities.
• Get settled: For the first few days of school, spend time settling your child into the classroom. Work with the teacher to find the best way to settle your child.
• Do your homework: Try to find a school that is family friendly and has leadership systems, strong two-way communication and teacher practices that include willingness to work with children and their families in a supportive partnership.