Parental Guide: Your Child's First Day of School
First Day of School Worries
We often think of children as the ones who fear the first day of school. The truth of the matter is that parents, more so mothers, at times, fear the first day as well. While some mothers can’t wait for their little ones to start school, for other mothers it is a heartbreaking reality.
You may find your eyes watering up as your child, who’s so excited, waves good-bye to you as he gets on the school bus. As those tears start the fall and the bus doors close, you think to yourself how fast the time flies. You may also wonder if your child will be alright or about his safety.
As a parent, what can you do to remedy those feelings of fear?
Prepare Your Child Ahead of Time
As a parent, we can sometimes allow our imaginations to get the best of us. A swarm of scary thoughts may flood our minds. To help alleviate your fears, training your child ahead of time to meet potential challenges can give you a measure of ease. Children who are prepared to face certain challenges often fair better than those who aren't prepared. This is very important because it could possibly save your child’s life.
Crime seems to be navigating progressively in the school system. Here’s a few skills you can teach your children to be successful:
Walking Home or Waiting for Bus
- Never talk to strangers
- Never get into a car with a stranger
- Never get into the car with someone not on your “safe” list
- If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, tell a trusted adult
- Don’t walk home alone if at all possible – walk in a group
- Always stay on the side walk
The above tips may seem petty to some. Simple as they may be, many children fail to do them and end up getting hurt. Take for instance waiting at the bus stop. Unfortunately, some parents cannot walk with or wait with their child for the bus stop. In situations where there aren’t any adults at a bus stop with young children, if a child hasn’t been taught how to properly wait for the bus, danger may lie ahead. Innocent horse play could cause a child to wonder in the street and get injured by a car. Drivers today aren’t the safest and they at times don’t pay attention to the road. Therefore, a child that is taught to be alert and aware of his surroundings can avoid such dangers.
Teacher and Student Relationships
Your child needs to know what is considered right and wrong when it comes to their interaction with their teacher and peers. While the school systems have thousands of teachers who take pride in what they do, there are those who overstep their boundaries. When this happens, a child needs to know when and how to speak up. Oftentimes, a child may think that because it’s their teacher that whatever they do is okay. This is not true! Kindergarten teachers have been in the news for alleged child abuse or molestation. Sadly, mistreatment happens, but a trained child will know to “tell” their parents and not view it as normal behavior.
Relationship with peers is another area that parents do well to discuss. Your child has to attend school with several other students, all with different backgrounds. Not every child will have the same values or moral standards as your family does. Therefore, lessons on what is appropriate and what is not acceptable will help your child to make good choices, even at a young age.
Public schools are full of germs. Every year I expect one of my children to come home with some kind of bug. I try to teach my children to exercise good hygiene skills even at school. Simple hand washing can cut down on spreading germs. I also try to stress the point of not sharing other kid’s items or wearing other kids clothing. Sharing food is another biggie. Sure, sharing is great, but it has its place. Taking opened food or food that another child has tested tasted can introduce germs. Teaching children to say “no thank you” can help remedy these challenges.
Other Things You Can Do as a Parent
- Stay involved in your child’s schooling activities
- Every day, engage your child in conversation about school to stay informed about what’s going on
- Communicate with your child’s teacher
- If you can’t wait or walk with your child to their bus stop, make arrangements for a “trusted” adult to do so