Their First Day at School
The first day at school is a big step in every child’s life. As a single parent it can be just as daunting for you!
We have looked after our little one 24 hours a day 7 days a week and now it's time to hand over our little bundle of joy into the hands of someone else! It marks the beginning of their journey away from home and into the world and it can be a very emotional time for both of you. The key to making sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible is preparation.
- Talk to your child about starting school and let them know what to expect.
- Share some of your own experiences - even the embarrassing ones!
- Let them choose their own pencil case or lunch box.
- Walk past the school buildings in the weeks before they start - the more familiar it all feels the more comfortable they will be on the day.
- Establish a good sleep routine well in advance – most children find the first few weeks at school totally exhausting.
- Check they can manage any buttons or zips on their uniform and that they are able to get dressed and undressed or in and out of their shoes all by themselves.
- Explain what they should do if they need the toilet, a drink of water during the day or feel poorly.
- Lay their clothes out the night before and both have a gentle evening.
- Perhaps the start of school means a return to work for you. Minimise stress by making sure you are really happy with all childcare arrangements and that they are firmly in place, well ahead of time.
Try to get as involved in the school as you can. Dropping children off or picking them up at the school gates is a great opportunity to meet other parents. The school years are an important time for both you and your child to make new friends. Everyone is juggling a busy life these days and a network of support made now could sustain you for years to come.
So you’ve done all the hard work preparing for the big day but you still have to face the moment of letting go and walking away. If your child starts to cling or get upset don’t be tempted to delay. Many children cry and some even throw tantrums but most of them settle perfectly happily just minutes after their parents are out of sight.
And as for you - keep up a brave front and make sure you smile as you leave. You can weep all you need to just around the corner. You could arrange to meet for a coffee with other parents that you know from your child’s nursery or that you meet at the gates. If you think you are going to feel especially vulnerable, call a friend and meet up with them.
Remember - be prepared to take a picture: It’s going to be one of those moments you will want to capture forever.