Here are some useful tips to help create a positive mood and ease the transition to this new phase of life:
- Share stories and experiences: It may have been a long time ago but parents always have a supply of stories to tell about their time at school. Tell your would-be first-grader about the exciting and boring days in your school career. The fact that mom and dad managed it will bring reassurance, dispel any fear the child may have and encourage an appetite for adventure!
- Be realistic: Even Einstein had to start somewhere – every child learns to read, write and count at his or her own speed and not on the first day at school. Do not set unrealistically high expectations so as to avoid bitter disappointments in the first week of school and to maintain the motivation to learn and achieve.
- Don't panic! You may not have blissful memories of your own time at school but children must be given the freedom to experience school for themselves without prejudice and preconceptions. Stoking fears in the run-up to the big day and building the start of school up into an emotionally charged situation make the step harder than it actually is.
- Be a good listener: Children have their own thoughts in the build-up to their first day at school. It is important to allow space for these thoughts, to listen and to let children talk about their expectations and fears so that their anxiety will diminish before they start school.
- Advance visit: The school building and schoolyard become the new center of life for children when they start school. It is fun to walk to the elementary school, to take a look at the building and to get a taste of the new atmosphere before the first school day, and it will flesh out the idea of school in the children's heads.
- Practice makes perfect in road safety: Walk the route to school together several times before the first day at school. These preparatory walks will make your child feel like a real first-grader, allowing him or her to get to know the way very well and to get used to hazardous points like intersections or crosswalks.
- The right equipment: Needless to say, school bag and pencil case are the must-haves on the first day at school. Picking out these companions is an essential part of the preparations for the first day at school, creating a sense of excitement for school life and ideally engendering a rapport which will last throughout elementary school and beyond.
- School books and materials: Mom and dad are generally not required to buy textbooks and exercise books in advance. Schools often have specific preferences and provide handouts listing the required materials as a guide.
Look forward to the first school day and then it will become an unforgettable experience for the whole family!
School here we come: ready… steady… go!