The first day at school or first day of child care is a milestone for both parents and child. While you may be going through a mixture of emotions try not to pass on any anxieties to your child. Most children settle into school or child care quickly but do not be concerned if it takes a little longer.
Your child will soon settle down and grow to enjoy the activities and the friends they have made, but if your child is upset when you bring them to their first day at school or child care, it is best if you do a quick and loving goodbye and leave them with the teacher. It is important that your child bond with their teacher and adapt to their new environment, plus your child will stop crying more quickly if you are not there.
Tips for helping your child before they start school or child care:
- Visit the school or child care before the first day and meet the teacher with your child. Drive past the school or child care when you are out running errands, and park and walk around the school or child care so that they can become familiarized with their new surroundings.
- Talk to the supervisors about creating a transition schedule where your child gradually starts full time child care.
- When buying such items as a coat, lunch box or school bag, make sure your child can open and close them with ease (lunch box is more for children starting school), and the more opportunities you give your child to zip his/her jackets will help them with their self-help skills. Footwear with Velcro is preferable.
- Friendships are very important to your child. Invite your child’s new school friends to your home.
- Spend time with your child each evening if you can. Language is central to the learning process. Talk and listen to your child.
- Research has shown that an ability to identify rhyming words is an important pre-reading skill. Your child will learn nursery rhymes in school or child care but you should teach some more at home. Reading to your child cultivates an interest in reading and hopefully in life-long learning.
You know your child best, if you have any concerns or questions talk to the teacher not only on the first day but through the first year and right throughout your child’s time in school and child care.