This is a guest article from Allison Marlowe who is the founder of Global Winning Women, a global sisterhood where women empower each other to live extraordinary lives. She also coaches, inspires and challenges women in business to achieve new levels of success.
Mother of four and parent coach Allison Marlowe knows only too well the worries that prey on the minds of anxious mums and dads as the first day of school looms closer.
“We agonise over our choice of school and then worry if they will make friends and how they will cope with the initial first days.”
For all of us fear of the unknown is often the root cause of anxiety and this can be avoided with careful planning. No-one quite knows how your child will react until the actual day dawns but knowing you have done all you possibly can to prepare will at least give you piece of mind.
Most schools have arrangements in place before the term begins to welcome new pupils and parents to meet their teacher and familiarise themselves with the school environment.
In the weeks running up to the big day – make sure you are certain what time the school day starts and finishes. You will need to start planning your new routine what time you need to get up, how long it takes for washing dressing and breakfast and you may even decide on a practice run, this will ensure you are not stressed or rushed on the big day.
All children like routines and at a time of change in your child’s life, planning a routine will enforce as sense of security for them.
By involving your child in the preparations you will be helping them to adjust to the new situation ahead. Take them with you to buy their school uniform, school bag and lunch box. Talk to them about starting school, share some books from the library and share some of your positive experiences, make it fun but don’t over excite them.
On the big day, it is only natural that you may be feeling emotional and anxious yourself. Remember you are not the first and certainly not the last to experience these feelings.
Say good bye to your child and remind them you will be back to collect them at the end of the day. If your child is crying, don’t worry, most children stop crying a few minutes after their parents have left. Don’t fuss too much – if you cry then your child will think there is cause for concern, excessive anxiety can be passed to your child and it is important not to undermine their self confidence.
It can be upsetting to watch your child being led into their new classroom, but focus on the positive and feel great satisfaction in a job well done in producing such a confident well balanced child.
At the end of the day, resist probing your child about what they have done – they will tell you when they are ready in their own good time. Instead you could try asking them who they played with.
Starting school takes some adjusting to, it is completely normal for your child to feel very tired and they may even display some out of character behaviour. Bear this in mind and keep extra curricular activities to a minimum for the time being.
A whole new world is about to open up to your child outside of the family. All new experiences cause some level of anxiety and as the newness wears off the anxiety will too fade. Try talking to other parents in the playground and you will be certainly surprised to find you are not alone.
About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!