Tip Of The Day: How To Handle The First Day At School

19/08/2009 01:04 | Updated 22 May 2015

Even though it was *coughs* one or two decades ago, I still remember my first day at school. The stress! The tears! The forgetting of the lunchbox! And all of that was from my mum - I was perfectly fine and looking forward to getting started.

There's no denying that any child starting school for the first time is a momentous step for the whole family. So how to make the first day go smoothly, even if you're churned up with collywobbles inside?

  • Sort out everything you need the night before

    Think your way through everything you'll need - uniform, packed lunch or dinner money, PE kit etc Get as much as possible ready in advance.

  • Don't panic if you've forgotten something

It's OK, everybody forgets school stuff, especially on the first day. You'll get there eventually. It doesn't make you a bad parent if you didn't sew individual name tags on all their socks.

  • Leave plenty of time for the journey

  • Even if you've practised the route to school during the summer, it will be busier once term starts. Give yourself at least an extra 10 minutes.

  • Don't flap

  • Yes I know you want a photo of their first day, and you can't help yourself smoothing down their hair and collar. But if you're anxious, your child will pick up on this. Keep it bright and breezy, even if you don't feel it deep down.

  • Leave quickly and don't have a protracted goodbye

  • If your child starts to cry, take them to one of their teachers who will look after them. They will probably settle down more quickly if you go without faffing about.

  • Plan something nice for you to do once they've gone to school

  • It's a big day for you too, you deserve a treat. Plus it'll stop you fretting about how they're getting on.

  • Keep things low key after school

  • Probably best to avoid playdates or trips to the park for the first few days

  • Bring a snack when you pick them up

  • Children are often ravenous when they first come out of school. No need for a roast dinner in Tupperware, but a banana or a few digestives will probably go down well.

  • Don't expect a debrief

  • You will most likely be desperate to know the details of day one. Your child will be tired and probably not in the mood to chat. Count yourself lucky if you get more than a shrug and a few grunts!

    Leave a comment below if you have any other tips for the first day at school

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