How will I cope with my child's first day?
Lots of parents feel some anxiety about their child starting an educational setting. Whether your child is starting pre-school, Reception class, or moving up a school year – this jump into 'formal' care/education is a big step. Getting prepared can help put some of the anxieties to rest. Practice the journey to school together and talk lots about the sort of things they’ll be doing so that when the time comes it will already seem part of their lives. It’s important to remember to emotionally prepare yourself and not just your child, and when the big day arrives, try your best to appear happy and calm! Seeing you being positive will really reassure your child.
- Try to give your child a nutritious breakfast to set them up for the day ahead, and if they’re having a packed lunch – make it healthy and varied
- Participate with all the events that you can be included in, such as open days, home visits etc, so that your child begins to feel comfortable and secure in the new environment
- Encourage your child to be independent e.g. attempting to dress themselves, toileting, feeding etc. Their sense of achievement will boost their confidence levels (as well as helping you at home!)
- Prepare your child for making new friendships, by visiting local places where they will have the opportunity to be around other children
- Read with your child and encourage them to take ownership of the book – holding it, turning pages etc. Spark their imagination, e.g. you could ask what they think might happen next?
- Support their communication skills. The ability to speak and listen well will always be beneficial to transition periods throughout their lives. Always encourage conversations with them, allowing them time to process information and time to respond
- Take a look at our policies in advance, particularly Managing Behaviour, so that you can begin mimicking some of the techniques at home to prepare them
- Give your Keyperson as much information as possible at your home visit - this enables them to start understanding your child
- Be honest with them about how YOU are feeling. Quite often, it is the parents/carers that need the reassurance more than the child! If we know you are really nervous, we can prepare for that and offer you extra support
- Plan to have someone with you or something to do once you've dropped them off for the first time, to help you keep busy whilst you adjust
- We will call you after approximately one hour to give you an update, but you're welcome to phone us as many times as you wish
- ALWAYS leave your child at the gate / door with a hug, kiss and positive comment, such as ‘have fun’. Try to avoid comments like ‘behave yourself’, as sometimes this can trigger a negative feeling for your child before they’ve even left your side.
- Make your goodbye routine quick, as you may give off a sense of ‘worry’ if you prolong it, which your child WILL notice
'Hug Button' - draw on yours and little one's hand, give each other's a kiss, then during the day if you're feeling a little over-whelmed- you can look at it and know you'll be thinking of each other
The First Day
The first day is so exciting
as we welcome all things new,
but it can be a day of stress
and uneasy feelings too.
For all this time you’ve loved your child
and have been his loving guide,
but now it’s time to walk away
and leave him at my side.
As you drive away, be proud
of how he’s learned and grown,
and know that I will care for him
as if he were my own.