Starting school will inevitably bring up a range of emotions for parents, carers and children. As parents and carers, we can support our children to manage these emotions by:
- Being aware that starting school brings lots of different emotions such as: excitement, fear, curiosity and worry
- Be brave enough to talk about these emotions with your child – it will bring you closer
- Really listen to your child and help them name these emotions
- Let your child know that it is normal to feel like this when things are new (you can give some examples of your own experience of starting something new)
- Reassure your child that these feelings won’t last – feelings are like the weather and change often throughout the day
At school your child will be navigating a range of new and different relationships.
It can help to:
- Teach your child how to be assertive
- Arrange play dates with other kids in their class to help establish friendships
- Get to know the other parents
- Encourage your child to explore different friendships by sitting with different groups at break times
- Read books about being a friend
- Set time aside at the end of the day to talk
Some kids require additional support at school. They may struggle to connect socially, find it hard to concentrate in class or fall behind their peers in basic literacy and numeracy.
If you have concerns about your child’s development speaking to a Parent Line counsellor may help you find the right strategies, support and referral pathways.
Love in a lunch box
Simple tips to help at break times:
- Pack familiar food
- Provide food your child can easily open or unwrap
- Add a personalised note that will brighten their day or make them laugh – it will let them know you are thinking about them
- Have your child practice opening and closing their lunchbox, unwrapping plastic film and opening containers, packaging and zip-lock bags so it becomes second nature for them
Managing transitions …
It is normal for kids to be exhausted after a day at school. This can sometimes lead to emotional meltdowns. All that learning and navigating new relationships is draining. It can help to have established afternoon routines which allow for some down-time. Family meal time is a good place to ask your child about their day and reconnect.
Rituals for the end of the day, week, term and year will help your child transition more smoothly.
Rituals might be cooking your child’s favourite meal together, watching a movie or building a hideout from boxes and blankets.
Transitioning to school is big for parents too. Parents are often caught off-guard by their own feelings of excitement, sadness and nervousness at sending a child to school.
Speaking to an empathic and non-judgmental Parent Line counsellor can help you come to terms with and manage these complex feelings.