The first day of school is a big day for everyone, and can cover a whole gamut of emotion. It's scary, exciting, and nerve-wracking. And that's just for mum and dad!
While it may be hard to say goodbye to your little one and hand them over to the care of their school, there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself, your child and their teacher.
Here are some top tips from a teacher with over 15 years experience as a new entrant teacher.
Have faith in your child's teacher on the first day. Teachers are trained in knowing how to deal with the tears and separation from Mum/Dad. Staying in the classroom too long, hovering around at the door or peering through the window often just makes things worse.
Nits are normal. Annoying? Yes! But thankfully, also preventable. Girls (or boys) should have their hair tied up to prevent invasion! Contrary to popular belief, nits can't jump, fly, absail or bungee, it's hair to hair contact that usually does it. Teach your child to not share hairbrushes or put on other people's hats. Drop a few drops of tea tree oil into a full spray bottle with water and spray a few squirts around the ears and neckline every day. This is a great preventative, without all the nasty chemicals.
Don't be a helicopter parent! Hovering and helping them pack up their school bag after school isn't helpful. Children should quickly start a routine every morning of hanging up their own school bag, and getting out their reading bag, library bag, drink bottle etc. and putting them in the appropriate place in the classroom by themselves. This teaches self-responsibility that is beneficial to all.
Empty your child's school bag. There are notices buried deep within that maybe very important (not to mention mouldy bits of old sandwiches).
Special toys are for home - not school.
Label your child's clothes. Teachers don't have time to keep track of 20+ pairs of shoes, jackets, swimming togs.
Don't Tie Me Down. If your child can't yet tie their own shoelaces, then buy them shoes with Velcro.
Talk to Me! All issues relating to or about your child can usually be resolved with a quick chat to your child's teacher. Gossiping with other parents can often lead to a minor problem becoming a much larger one. Teachers are only human, and often are not even aware there is a problem/issue. You really want to maintain a good relationship with your child's teacher, as your child sees them more during the school week than you do!! Good relationships are built upon trust, honesty and respect, so the relationship you have with your child's teacher should be based upon these principles too.
Offer to help out. Teachers (especially junior teachers) love the offer of an extra pair of hands in the classroom. Making resources, cutting, sticking, putting away readers and all the other things that a busy teacher never seems to have the time to do! Working parents can also participate by offering to do the same things, but to take them home to do.
OHbaby! thanks Christen Andersen for her valuable insight and advice with this article.