First-day-of-school jitters are a real thing for many kids –– not to mention the parents of little ones starting school for the first time.
Adapting to the new routine might be as exciting as it is daunting for both parties.
"Parents the world over agree, when kids are fretful and uneasy, mom and dad are too," says creative parenting expert Nikki Bush.
Here are Bush's top tips to help everyone cope better with the transition:
1. Talk to your little one
In their language, make them understand that they'll be going to school now, and this means they'll be away from home for a few hours in a day.
Talking about the impending first day will help prepare kids mentally for what's about to happen. It will also open up space for kids to tell parents how they feel about this, and for parents to answer any questions their kids may have about the change.
2. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Make sure there's no need to panic on top of the nerves on the first day of school -- by thoroughly preparing for the day ahead of time. Make sure the uniform, lunchbox and stationery are prepared well ahead of time.
Set the alarm clock to give you and your child enough time to wake up, dress, eat and head out. Be familiar with the school route if you're dropping your child off, or the bus/taxi routes you need to take.
3. Spend quality time with your child
Quality time with mom and dad eliminate stress and is '"extremely important" to help kids relax, says Bush.
"Parent-child interaction has a calming effect on kids and helps to minimise stress. It means bonding as a family, which also acts as a channel of support for children –– they feel safe and secure and are reminded that mom and dad are there for them every step of the way."
4. Drop-off deal
If your child is more comfortable with one parent than the other, simply swap drop-off roles and "don't feel guilty about it," advises Bush. It may just be an initial adjustment issue, that might change as time goes on. Being flexible and adaptable to such issues is important, though, to make the transition easier.
5. It may be emotional
Your child might, even after all the preparations, cling to you or cry when you have to leave them behind -- be prepared for that. Your eyes might also feel watery, and that's okay -- it is, after all, a big milestone –– but try not to get weepy until you're safely out of sight.
6. Play, play and play some more
Play is a universal language -- and one most kids really enjoy. "Play your sillies away," suggests Bush. It has a calming effects on kids, and will help minimise any anxiety they feel.
If play is a part of the school's curriculum, tell your kids this, so they are assured that of all important things they'll be doing at school, playing will still be part of the agenda.