For any parent, their child's first day of school is a very important event. Parents and children alike often shed tears as they part at the gates of the school. Children, in particular, are often fearful of venturing into the unknown and having to learn to be independent. School is a big mystery to them, and they are understandably afraid of it. As parents, you must understand how to ease your child's transition from home life to schooling life, and make it as painless a process as possible. This entails knowing some of the tricks that many parents before you have found effective in this particular situation.
While it is good to get the child excited about going to school, many parents overdo it. Telling the child about the positive aspects of school often does help them prepare for their first day of school, but making them overly anxious about it is counterproductive. Some children place too much pressure on themselves thinking about the first day of school and are unable to cope with it. When the big day finally arrives, they are reduced to a blubbering ball of nerves.
Some children are unable to understand why school should be so exciting. If it truly was nothing to worry about, then why should their parents harp on it? Soon, these children suspect that their parents are making such as fuss in order to cover up some terribly secret about school. In much the same way as telling a child that something will not hurt is sure to make the child expect pain, they come to fear school even as you tell them that there is really nothing to fear.
By all means, talk to your child about school and answer any questions he or she may have, but do so in a way that impresses upon them how school is simply another part of everyday life. You went to school before them, the kid next door goes to school, even cousin Timmy goes to school. This helps relieve any pressure that the child may have been feeling about having to attend school for the first time. You could even take your child shopping for his or her school supplies. When you make that trip to the school supply store to obtain your child's school supplies, have them come along and pick out some things that they want. This way, school becomes just another normal activity instead of something secret and mysterious.
Often, children fear school because it is an unknown factor for them. Parents can easily avoid this by taking their children to visit their school before the school term actually starts. This helps the child become familiar with school beforehand, and come the first day of school, they will not feel as lost, helping to eliminate a good amount of fear that normally accompanies attending school for the first time. Once the child knows what school is like, school loses its strange and mysterious aspect, and becomes just another fact of life.
Finally, too many parents dismiss their child's worries about school. To the children, these worries and fears are very real and parents should take the time to assuage their fears in a direct and soothing manner. Talk to your child and try to determine the root of their worries. Young children are often very concerned that they will not be accepted at school or that their teachers might not like them. Do your best to reassure your child that such things are very unlikely and explain why. For example, with the sheer number of children at school, your child is sure to find some with whom they would like to be friends and who would to be friends with your child. Rationalizing such fears is much more effective than simply telling a child that he or she is being silly and that no such thing will happen.
On the day itself, keep your cool and say goodbye to your child as you normally would if you were simply leaving home for work. A hug and some soothing words are all you need to give them before you send them on their way. You should not cling to your child as this will not have a positive impact on the child and he or she is likely to cling to you in return. As long as the child feels as if nothing is wrong and that you are simply dropping them off as you might drop them off at a relative's house for the day, they will be fine.