15 Practical Tips To Help Parents In The First Weeks Of School
Todays post we are pleased to advise is written by Deborah Byrne who is a psychologist here in Ireland who since 2002 has provided many families with help so their children can grow to their full potential. She also provides help with Hidden disabilities that our children can suffer from.
The 15 Tips for Parents with Children Starting School:
The first few weeks back to school can be hard for children and parents to adjust to, but with a few practical tips, you should be able to get off to a good start. If this is your child’s first day in pre-school, primary school or secondary school the challenges you both face can at first seem daunting. As a mother of five children and now a grandmother I found that a little preparation for that first day is a must. Here are some of my tips to help you:
- Create excitement around going to their new school (or returning to school) in the run up to the big day. Listen to what they have to say and allay any concerns they might have. Back to school anxiety can sometimes stem from the unknown so talk about the school, the teacher, and school routines beforehand. Make sure they know the school before they go and know who will collect them from school each day.
See do they have some friends that are also going to the same school; have some play dates before the big day so the children can get to know each other
Practice: Make sure they have everything they need and set up a routine in advance to the big day e.g. establish a bedtime routine, a set-off station – where everything you need for the morning is left together including bag, shoes, coat.
Make sure that they know their name and your phone number for safety, particularly if your child is starting a new school or transitioning to another.
If you feel your child may be anxious consider doing a few practice runs. While you won’t be able to get into her classroom before the first day, you can still run through your morning routine and drive to their school, and you may even be able to get into the playground so they can familiarize themselves with her surroundings.
Slow down: mornings can be hectic so make sure to have everything that can be prepared the night before done, so it reduces the rush in the mornings for everyone.
Create a goodbye ritual: whether you arrive at school 5 minutes earlier to say goodbye, create a special handshake, tell them you love them always, remind them you or whoever is collecting them will be there and specify the time.
Don’t linger around the school grounds or look through the classroom windows. Get down to their level, especially for little ones and say goodbye, hugs and kisses are probably still okay at this stage and off you go. I know it’s easier said than done but you will find it better in the long run.
Be positive. I know some of the mums and dads will cry; but try and not do it in front of the children, it will only cause your children to cry also. Wait until your safely back inside the car. If you stay positive it will reduce your child’s anxiety if they have any. Most children by the time they get to primary school are happy to just go on in to the classroom. I know it’s just as much of an anxious time for parents but try to remain positive and allow yourself some time to come to terms with the developmental stage your child has now reached.
Tiredness during the first week or two is common not just among the children, so be patient. The smaller children may even need to revert back to naps and don’t be surprised if an older child has one too.
First Aid kits may need to be restocked: Just before they return to school is a great time to restock the family medicine cabinet. Coughs, colds, stomach bugs and vaccinations seem to all appear at this time of year and over the winter months. Make sure to have the usually childhood Calpol and Nurophen in stock as well as some basic first aid supplies. I always supplied my children with hand sanitizer in their school bags, that many children using the same facilities and something is bound to spread.
One of my children has a heart condition, teachers are not allowed treat their cuts and scrapes anymore except with water. it was always vital for her to have a small first aid kit with her when she was in school; some plasters and a small tube of Savlon in a small purse were ideal, she could then take care of her cuts properly until I could tend to them on her return home.
Make sure you fill out the entire child’s personal information for the school and give to the school along with any assessments professionally carried out in regards to your child. Bring up any concerns with the teacher you have before they attend or make an appointment as soon as possible with the school to do so.
The heavy school bags were another issue I found that caused problems for my children. They complained of chest muscle pain which needed to be checked by our family GP first and then treated with some first aid. I’m glad to see my grandson – who starts secondary school this year – will not have this problem as many schools have taken the initiative to introduce tablets for the children. But many of the schools have not; perhaps joining the Parents Association has its benefits, in that you can lobby your school to do likewise. Remember most schools, if not all schools, have one and you do more than just fundraise. It is a way to lobby and have your say in how your child’s school is being run. Plus you also get to meet other parents too and make some like long friendships as I did
I hope these tips have helped you in some way, I post blogs every Monday on subjects regarding parenting, education and mental health.
Please feel free to contact me for any further advice by email [email protected] ; Twitter @DBpsychology
Deborah Offers a wide range of Counseling and Courses for Individuals, Parents, and Couples.
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