10 tips to help kids (and parents) survive the first day of school

Schools will be back in full swing next week! This can be a difficult transition for both parents and kids – especially if your little one will be starting big school.


For all those starting school for the first time in January, this is a special day, marking the beginning of their journey towards knowledge, empowerment and independence. And, while some take to the experience like ducks to water, others cry their eyes out (and that’s just the parents). For both parents and kids, this can be a difficult transition.

ALSO SEE: How to prepare your child for day care

Here are a few tips on surviving the first day – and keeping the tears in check:

Build excitement!

As the day approaches, take your child along when you shop for school uniforms and stationery. Help them feel the anticipation building while you both prepare for their launch into Big School.

Fun fact: During the back-to-school period, Game sells over 1.1 million BIC pens, 6 million sheets of individual Typek paper, 800 000 school books and more than 100 000 Pritt glue sticks!

Rehearse the day.

Visit the school ahead of time and drive the same route you will follow on that epic morning. Practise getting dressed, packing backpacks and the morning grooming ritual. That way, there will be no surprises when it’s time to do it for real.

Get set for the new routine by establishing a new bedtime that leaves you all ample time to get ready in the morning. Ensure the new schedule is clear and regular to help your child feel confident and at ease.

ALSO SEE: 12 top tips to beat the morning rush 

Start the day with a good breakfast.

Make sure your little one has a healthy breakfast before school and remember to pack a nutritious lunch to sustain them throughout the day’s activities as well.

ALSO SEE: 7 quick and easy back-to-school lunchbox ideas

Stay strong mama!

Sometimes the start of school can be more traumatic for the parents than for the kids. Stay upbeat and keep your child in an optimistic frame of mind.

Let them go.

You’ve been a hands-on parent for a few years already. But, part of raising a child is equipping them to face life on their own. Starting school is one of those steps. You need to leave them with the teachers who will steer them through the next part of this journey. When the time comes, leave them to it!

ALSO SEE: 5 tips to help your child in Grade R or Grade 1 make new friends at school

Label it!

School days can be a time of many misplaced and lost belongings. Save yourself this drama and inconvenience by labelling all your child’s stuff. Iron-on labels are great for clothing, and permanent marker is ideal for stationery, lunchboxes and the like.

Wardrobe back-up.

In all the excitement and activity, accidents happen. Include an extra set of clothes to minimise embarrassment and to ensure that – if there’s a hiccup – your child can get back in action as quickly as possible.

Document the occasion.

It’ll be over before you know it, so make sure you take heaps of photos of you and your little one getting ready and heading off to school. Getting them to pose in their new school uniform will also help your child  feel special, confident and proud to have reached this important milestone.

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