Preparation should ease teary first day of school
UQ parenting expert Professor Matt Sanders said parents could take the anxiety out of the new year by preparing children for school and demystifying the school experience.
“There is a always an adjustment period over the first few weeks of school where new routines and activities are being established,” Professor Sanders said.
“Children thrive in an environment of predictability and certainty. So once they become aware of what the new regim michael kors handbags ent is, they feel more comfortable.”
Professor Sanders said parents with clingy children should practice separations, leaving their michael kors handbags children with friends or relatives before leaving them at school.
“That demonstrates that mum does return and nothing terrible happens to her when she’s away.”
But he warned parents not to show too much worry and emotion at reunions because this could feed the child’s anxiety also.
He said upset parents needed to remind themselves that letting go was a healthy, normal thing for children to do and for families to go through.
“The majority of people learn to cope with the upset feelings that their baby is growing up and going to school.
“It signals certainly a change in some parents’ lives. But sometimes it means more opportunities to pursue career and other aspirations they may have had on hold.
“It doesn’t signal that their parents are not needed.” Talk or read to your child about starting school. Check your local bookstore or library for children’s books on starting school.
Make your child familiar with the school surrounds. Make sure they know where the toilets, lunch and play areas are and when school will start.
Involve your child in buying items for school such as stationery, schoolbags, lunch box, clothes or uniforms.
Let your child know that you will be there on the first day. Most schools allow parents of new entrants to stay with their child until they are settled.
Be unobtrusive but gently prompt your child to become involved in classroom activities. Be prepared to explain when you are going, say goodbye and leave.
Get into a good school morning routine. Encourage your child to be independent to get themselves out of bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, pack school bags and be ready to leave at a set time. Avoid anger in the morning.
Put your child to bed at a reasonable time. This is important as children with insufficient sleep find it hard to wake up and are often grumpy and irritable.
Be organised. Get everything you and your child need ready the night before.
Start an activity schedule for the morning routine. Create a simple chart to help children learn to do tasks michael kors handbags in a particular order by displaying a task in pictures, drawings or words.
Some children can develop a marked fear of going to school, called school phobia. If your child is extremely difficult to get to school, complains michael kors handbags of aches and pains on school mornings, screams and in other ways protests about going to school, seek professional help. Generally it is very important that such a child miss as little school as possible.
Professor Sanders is a Psychology Professor, Director of UQ’s Parenting and Family Support Centre and also the Director and founder of the internationally acclaimed Positive Parenting Program Triple P.