Childhood Development

First Day Of School

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

No matter how much it tugs at every heartstring, the first day of school is unavoidable - For kids AND Parents! “JUST ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL” The time has arrived.  Be it dread or relief for you as a parent, your baby is moving on! Parents have little to no choice when it comes to the responsibility of ensuring their child’s education. This could, of course, include home-schooling, which if the case, will probably also turn your household routine upside down.  At least though, you will be spared the trauma that goes with dropping your child off for the first day at school. Whether off to pre-school, Grade R or the first year of primary school, for some reason ‘GUILT’ always seems to be the first emotion Moms and Dads experience. As an example, now would not be the time to beat yourself up about the fact that you were not able to take your (now school-going) toddler or child for ice cream, whilst your new-born was screaming with colic! There will be plenty of ‘makeup’ time if you plan well and come to terms with the fact that this is just the next stage of your child’s progress. Separation Anxiety is something most if not everyone suffers when even thinking about leaving your ‘little darling’ in the care of someone unfamiliar and in a totally strange place for the first time. No, you won’t be there when they graze their knees, and worse, you won’t be there if they even just feel that need for your encouragement or loving touch.  These two thoughts alone already trigger that ugly feeling of guilt we mentioned earlier. Just remember, hundreds of thousands of kids and parents have been and will be going through these feelings, many at the exact time as what you will. The bottom line is that as a responsible parent, you merely and importantly are fulfilling your obligation of giving your child an education and the social grounding which is essential for development, progress and success in the big, competitive world that awaits.   Let’s talk a little about over-coming Separation Anxiety on the first day at school Preparing your child for the first day at school can greatly reduce Separation Anxiety, which you or your child or both, may experience when parting ways for the first time.   Ahead of time It may be worthwhile if possible, considering a few of the following suggestions:
  • Introduce your child to common school activities like drawing and storytelling
  • Plan a visit to the classroom once or twice to familiarise your child with the new environment and if possible, arrange a brief introduction with the Teacher. This will allow them to form an initial relationship and it will be apparent that you trust and are at ease with the Teacher taking care and control.
  • A really nice touch is to get your child a digital watch.  Not only will it make them feel all grown up, but will also give them reassurance when they check, that you will be fetching them soon!
  It's Time To Haul out Your 'Big Girl Broekies' For The Occasion As difficult as it may seem, it’s time to put on those ‘big girl broekies’ for the big day. You need to wear your bravest, calmest and happiest face, as the more confidence you display, the more confident your child will feel. Also, don’t be tempted to ‘sneak’ away if you see that your child is pre-occupied. ALWAYS say “goodbye” and offer reassurance by saying something like “see you later”.  This maintains trust. Once you have said your “goodbye”, don’t linger longer.  Leave promptly, as a long farewell will only reinforce their concern that school might be a bad place. Mommy Wellness understands that by the time you reach your car or arrive home, you will probably feel exhausted and as though you are falling apart. It’s perfectly understandable and hey, it’s okay to shed a few tears on this emotional day!
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