Tips for first timers
Your baby is starting school and the excitement has been growing. But as the big day looms you and your child may start to feel a little jumpy.
For your little one, it’s the anxiety about the great unknown. They’ve never been to school as a fully-fledged student.
Here’s what Avon Maitland recommends* to ease the nerves for first timers:
- “Normalize” those feelings of nervousness. Tell your kids that it’s OK to feel nervous and worried and that these feelings are very normal.
- Talk freely and regularly about starting school. Prepare early. Make it a dinner-time subject and encourage kids to talk about what they’re feeling. If there’s something particular that they’re nervous about, see if you can get them to talk about it.
- Have an expedition to the stores to buy their school stuff like socks, shoes and pencil cases and get them to help you write the list. And make it a fun day out. Let them choose what they want and constantly build up the excitement of getting to use and wear it all. (Note: If you need a protractor or glue or a ruler, these will be available to your child in the classroom. What your child does need is a backpack, a reusable lunch container, and shoes for physical activity.)
- Do a dry run. If they’re a bit concerned about the whole process, organize a school day where they get up in the morning, put on their school clothes, pack their bags and walk or drive to where school is.
- Be sure to register during the week before school. Go to the school and have a tour. Ask about their first day procedures. Bring your child in the evening to play on the playground. Get them familiar with the school setting.
- Begin to prepare your child for the routine of the first week back. Get them up earlier if they have been sleeping in; ensure their bed time gets closer to what it will be like when school starts.
- Eat a packed lunch at home. Some kids worry about accessing their lunches, or maybe aren’t used to bringing lunch from home. Help them write a list of what they might like in their lunch box, and have a couple of “packed lunch” days beforehand. (Note: In day-to-day packing preparation, remember that Avon Maitland runs balanced school days so there is a morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack.)
- Draw up a school-day schedule. Children love routines and when they start school their usual routine will change. Work with them to write up a daily routine and discuss with them how the day will work.
- Organize a play date. If you know of other children who will be starting with your child, arrange for them to play a couple times before they start school. Kids will appreciate seeing a familiar face in the school yard that first morning.
Tips for students
After such a lovely summer break, it’s understandable if your school veteran is reluctant to go back to school and to all the structure and rules.
Many kids will suffer from the post-holiday blues and not want their idyllic summer to end – that’s a normal reaction. But if their anxiety or reluctance seems more extreme, or if they’re feeling down, there maybe something particular bothering them.
We suggest* trying to get them to name what’s bothering them – although they may not really know. It could be as simple as being worried about which class they’ll be in or nervous about being in an higher grade and keeping up. Maybe they have an unresolved issue from the previous year.
It may be hard to work out what the problem is and how to deal with it. As far as they’re concerned they don’t like school and their solution is not to go.
That they will attend school is a given – but parents can help them come up with solutions and strategies to make it more enjoyable.
Tips for parents
It’s not at all unusual for parents to suffer from anxiety about sending their child or children off to school – particularly for the parents of first-timers because suddenly your little baby is going to be enjoying the comparative freedom of elementary school.
We advise* parents to attend all school visit days with their child and take advantage of being able to talk to the school staff and other parents. We also recommend that, if possible, parents chat to parents whose kids are already at school.
It can help ease the anxiety to get some inside knowledge beforehand to know what happens, where to do drop-off and pick-up at the school and/or the bus stop.
Before your family knows it, the school year will be back in full swing with holidays once again on the horizon.
*Resource: Family counsellor Tahlia Mandie and Principal Paula Robinson
Dates to Know
- First Day: Sep 6
- PA Day 1: Sep 23
- Thanksgiving Monday: Oct 10
- PA Day 2: Nov 4
- PA Day 3: Dec 2
- Christmas Break: Dec 26 – Jan 6
- PA Day 4: Feb 2
- March Break: Mar 13 – 17
- Easter: Apr 14 – 17
- PA Day 5: May 8
- PA Day 6: Jun 9
- Last Day: Jun 29
- PA Day 7: Jun 30
See the the full 2016-2017 School Year Calendar.
For complete Bus Information visit ourschoolbuses.ca