Preparing your youngest child for their first day of school is a little different than the preparations you made with your oldest. You’re in a different life stage, and you know more about the school situation now than you did when you were sending the oldest. Here are a few tips on preparing your youngest, and yourself, for that first day of school.
They see the older kid(s) — The youngest looks up to your older child(ren). This includes them knowing that the older ones go to school. Luckily, this can help you prepare the youngest for school by letting them watch the older kids getting ready for school, doing their homework, preparing a school project, and the excitement that a new school year brings most children. If your youngest sees the older siblings excited about school, they will start getting excited about being a big kid and going to school as well.
Books — Hitting the local library for books about going to school are a great way to introduce the idea to your youngest child. Read the stories, discuss the pictures and book ideas, and let your child ask questions and share their thoughts on the subject. Books should always be an important part of your child’s life, so why not use them for other important moments?
Play School — The internet is full of websites where you can print off coloring pages and activity sheets appropriate for your youngest child’s age level. Play school with them. You be the teacher and let them be a student. Have the older children play school too. Then do a role reversal and let the youngest be the teacher for a while. Teach them about raising their hand to ask a questions, being quiet when the teacher is speaking, and make sure that your youngest knows how to write their name on all of their coloring/activity pages. They’ll have lots of fun.
Practice, Practice, Practice — Practice does make perfect. Practice those A,B,C’s, numbers, writing their name, and even going to the bathroom by themselves. Practice is the only way they’ll be prepared for that first day of school and not be surprised by what’s to come.
Change Their Schedule — When preparing your youngest child for their first day of school it is a good idea to match their daily schedule to the school’s schedule. Breakfast, lunch, playtime, rest time can all be synchronized to your child’s future school schedule. If you child is use to eating lunch at 11 a.m. at home, but their lunchtime is going to be 12 p.m. when school starts, you may have a very grumpy and hungry child for that hour. There’s no need to make their day anymore stressful than it’ll already be. By moving their home schedule a couple of weeks before school starts you’ll be helping them acclimate to school life.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep — When preparing your youngest child for their first day of school, make sure they’re sleeping the appropriate amount of hours for them to be happy and alert the next day. We all know that doctors recommend particular hours of sleep per age group. However, we parents know how much sleep our children actually need to function properly. That doesn’t always coincide with how much they’re “suppose” to sleep.
Wake-Up Call — Start the earlier morning routine at least two weeks before school starts. Yes, I know how much it sucks to have to get up so early when it’s still summer, but doing so will help your child. If you’re already doing this with older children it won’t be much of a difference for you or the youngest. Doing this will help everyone slowly move out of the summer schedule and into the school schedule; without being rushed, late, or grumpy on the first day of school.
By working with your youngest child, and having the older siblings pitch in, you’ll be giving your youngest the best chance at receiving the idea of school in a positive light. The youngest child is usually babied more than the older kids were. Because of this it may take longer for the youngest to become comfortable with the idea of school and step away from your side. While your older children may have run off with a quick wave of the hand on the first day of school, your youngest may be more tentative and want to be reassured by you that all is safe and sound. Then again, they may dash off without looking back! Good luck, and happy new school year!
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