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A word of advice for parents of children starting prep school

The new school year is beginning and to celebrate, professor Christine Ure, head of school in the faculty of arts and education at Deakin University, has provided some timely advice for parents of children starting their first year of school.

“One of the best ways that you can help lessen your child’s first day jitters is by helping them to construct their own narrative about school,” Ure said. “If they know that on the first day of school, ‘Daddy will drive me in the car, I will go to this big building, I will walk through these gates with my friend’ and the like, that can really help. At home, perhaps suggest your child draw a picture of what they saw at the school and place themselves in the picture. That can be a powerful way of helping them clearly visualise themselves taking part in school life.”

Other activities that Ure suggested doing at home included getting children to eat out of their lunch boxes and wear their school uniform around the house for short periods to build a comforting sense of familiarity.

Ure explained the importance of parents providing emotional support for their children and of getting them to view school as an exciting next step in their lives, rather than something to worry about.

“Saying, ‘I’m looking forward to hearing about all the wonderful things you will do at school’ is so much more constructive than talking about how much you’ll miss them when they’re at school,” she said. “If you can see it as your child’s transition more so than your own, ‘I’m so excited for their next adventure’ as opposed to ‘I can’t believe my baby is so grown up’, your child will take the positive cues from you. School is their new world and they needn’t feel like they are leaving mum and dad behind.”

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One comment

  1. Marilyn Willoughby

    My son had a huge separation anxiety problem and I found putting a note in his lunch box
    reading ‘Mummy loves you she will see you after school”reinforced that I would be there to
    pick him up after school obviously his teacher helped out by reading this little message.I also drew
    pictures of him and me and put my locket around his neck with a picture of me in it.
    It was a very stressful time for both of us.

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