Staring Kindy or Prep for the first time can be a daunting transitional period for both kids and parents alike. That’s why we sat down with a highly regarded Kindy teacher with more than 25 years’ experience to discuss what parents can do to make the move to school a positive and stress-free experience for the entire family.

1. Chat with your child: Every parent knows that children love routine which is why many children can struggle with the transition into school. New faces and a new environment can quickly throw off the most confident of kids. Sit down with them well in advance in a relaxed environment and explain to them what they can expect on their first day. This can include what time they will wake up, what they need to wear, how they will get to school and who will take them, what they will eat (it’s a great idea to make sure that they’re familiar with, and know how to open, their lunchbox, drink bottles and any snack boxes for crunch and sip), the types of activities they might do and how they will get home.

2. Visit the school: Most schools will offer an orientation day and it’s a good opportunity for your child to become familiar with the surroundings, and to meet their teacher and classmates. Your school should give you an idea of what to expect in advance so that you should know whether parents are expected to stay or leave them for a set amount of time. When dropping them off, find them an activity that they’ll enjoy and leave as quickly as possible. The longer you hang around with them, the more uncomfortable they’ll become. As parents ourselves, we’ve made that mistake before and it ended in floods of tears for all of us. Another good way to familiarise your child with the school before the terms starts is to simulate a school morning on your way to an activity that you know they enjoy. Wake up at the same time, pack their lunch, get dressed in their uniform (comfy shoes are a must!) and then drive to school. Park outside and show your child which entry point they will go through. This will help to familiarise them with the morning routine, and you can then carry on to a play in the park or another fun activity that you know they enjoy.

3. Include them in the decision making: Kids love the power of choice and being involved in the decisions which will impact their day to day lives. Whilst us parents make think that a choice between a pink or a purple lunchbox is no big deal, kids love to feel like they are in control. When shopping for school supplies like lunchboxes, drink bottles, insulated lunch bags and backpacks, involve your kids in the process. If you’re shopping online, try and use a desktop computer or laptop so that the screen is as big as possible, and have a browse in advance so that you can narrow down the choices. We recommend selecting two or three options in each item so that they don’t get overwhelmed. Make it an enjoyable and fun experience. When your order arrives, ask your child to open the parcel. Trust us, it’ll feel like Christmas Day all over again. The same goes for purchasing school uniforms and shoes. Whilst there usually isn’t any choice in the uniform, you can still involve them in the footwear purchase.

4. Establish a routine: Creating a consistent routine for your child will help them to feel safe and in control. By setting the same bedtime, wake up time and morning routine, you can help to minimise the morning stress. Setting up a visual aid for all of the tasks that need to be completed each morning, can also help your child to know what they need to do in order to be ready to go. If you need some help on surviving the morning routine, check out our guide here. Likewise, preparing for the next day is also important. Make sure that their bags, shoes and hat are in an easy to grab location and pack their lunch and snacks the night before.

5. Focus on fun: In the early weeks and months, it’s perfectly normal for your child to be more tired than usual, even if they’ve previously been in daycare. If they’re still full of energy in the afternoon, and it fits in with your family schedule, create an experience for them that you know they’ll enjoy. This could be a play at the park or a trip to the shops for a smoothie or other treat. You may also notice that they’ll either be more or less chatty than normal. This is also ok too. If you’re not getting much engagement from them about how their day was, try just asking “what was your favourite thing that you did today?” That way they only have one answer to focus on, and you’ll be able to elicit more conversation from them.

We hope that with those tips, you’ve been able to take something practical and useful from them. If you need any assistance finding the right lunchbox, drink bottle, backpack or snackbox, just reach out and let us know. We have a wide range of school essentials available and we’re here to reduce the overwhelm for the entire family.

January 13, 2023 — Michelle Leach

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