Back to School: Prepare Your Child for the First Day of ‘Big School’
17 August 2016
Preparing your child for ‘Big School’ means getting the clothes and school supplies they need and helping them deal with any anxieties they might have about it, whilst wondering how the hell you’ve become the parent of a kid who’s that old already!
Time flies and the big day will come around quickly so here’s a rundown of the most important items they need along with a few tips on helping your child overcome their nerves:
Most schools will provide you with information on their uniform and P.E. requirements and tell you where you can source items from, but shopping around for any non-branded clothing items like shirts, trousers, skirts and socks can be a real money-saver.
B&M Tip: If your child is expected to wear a tie or manage their shoelaces, help them practice fastening them at home so they’re less anxious about it doing it when they’re on their own.
Paper, pens, pencil cases, rulers, erasers, maths sets and scientific calculators are all standard stationery requirements for secondary schools and you’ll find a wide selection of them instore, including plain items or those branded with their favourite characters.
B&M Tip: While uniforms help level the playing field by making everyone look the same, school stationery gives your child the opportunity to express a little individuality so bring them to your local B&M store and let them choose the supplies they’ll feel excited about using.
The items your child will need each day for school will vary according to their class timetable so they’ll need a bag that can easily accommodate their books, stationery, P.E. kit and lunch box all at the same time.
B&M Tip: Like stationery, a school bag is an opportunity to be an individual so let them choose theirs, but steer them towards bags that have robust, adjustable shoulder straps and a selection of internal pockets and compartments to keep their belongings organised and easily accessible.
On the night before that all-important first day it can be helpful to go through their timetable, pack their bag and lay out their uniform so they can relax at bedtime knowing they’re prepared for everything that lies ahead.
How will your child get to school and will they want you to go with them? Some kids are too nervous to go alone while others are horrified at the thought of being seen with a parent so have a chat with them about their expectations.
If they’re taking a bike, make sure they have (and wear, even out of your eyesight!) a helmet, and a combination lock to secure it; keys are easily lost.
If they’re taking the bus or walking, make the journey a few times with them so that they’re familiar with the route and the amount of time it takes to get to and from school.
The first few weeks can be daunting. Your child might be anxious about getting lost, not being smart enough, being unable to manage their homework or an almost limitless number of other things so they’ll need lots of reassurance and positive encouragement before they start and as they settle in.
If they’re worried about whether they’ll be able to make friends or that they’ll encounter bullies, talk them through different scenarios and safe ways to manage them.
Finally, remember to charge your camera. For generations now, a photograph of Big School newbies looking fresh-faced and immaculate in their new uniforms has become a rite of passage for every child (and every parent) so snap away!
You can find all your back to school supplies instore at B&M but in the meantime, have you got any other handy tips for helping children, or indeed their equally nervous and excited parents, to make the transition to Big School an easy one?