A few weeks before starting school
- Make an appointment with your optometrist for an eye exam. Eye exams are free for children under 18.
- Make a dentist appointment. Teeth exams are free from children under 10.
- Make a special grocery list and foresee buying juice boxes, snacks and meals to fill up the lunchboxes.
- Start freezing homemade meals that will help you when you're overloaded.
- At least a week before school starts, it is recommended to get into a school routine. Specific times for meals, homework (even if it’s to read a story or do reviewing exercises together) and sleep must be introduced.
- Sleep is an essential aspect of school success. A child who lacks sleep cannot concentrate to learn and understand new information.
- The morning routine is as important for you as it is for your kids. A good week of preparation will help you adjust the wake-up time and the routine’s order (get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, prepare your school bag, put on your coat, etc.).
- The day before going back to school, help your child plan his day. Help him choose his clothes, get his school bag ready and make a healthy lunch. This will also help your child learn to be organised.
Children who start school for the first time
- If your child still naps in the afternoon, you must reduce naptime until he doesn’t need it anymore. In kindergarten, children take short naps in the afternoon, but they are never very long. It's usually done easily, but can make a child grumpy at the end of the day. Put your child to bed earlier at night so he can recuperate lost hours of sleep.
- Talk to your family, neighbours and even the school about the school’s routine and prepare your child by talking to him about what’s to come.
- Try to have your child in contact with other children in the same grade and attending the same school. Knowing a few faces will reassure him.
- If possible, visit your child’s school and playground with him before the first day. Walk or drive to school and get an idea of the traveling distance, remind your child about the safety rules and reference points.
- Even if your child’s already been to school, it doesn’t mean that going back is easy for him… Keep an eye out for any signs of stress or anxiety and talk to him about his worries. Listen to him and be comprehensive. A child’s worries may seem childish to an adult, but remember that you were once his age!
- Even if you are being comprehensive, don’t add to it! Sometimes, when wanting to help, we do the opposite. Wait for your child's questions and answer honestly.
- Make your child understand that you don't expect him to be the best student in the class, but remind him that his efforts will be appreciated and recognised by all. No one excels in all subjects, not even yourself!
- Congratulate your child for his/her efforts, even if you haven’t received the grades yet.
It's important to talk about your child’s allergies directly with his teacher and the afterschool childcare educators, as well as the people responsible at lunchtime.
- Give them a detailed summary of your child’s allergies, restrictions and things to do if an allergic reaction occurs in school.
- Check if the school already has an intervention protocol with preventive measures and an emergency plan in case of an allergic reaction.
- Involve your child in this discussion; after all, he is the one concerned. Obviously, the younger the child, the less we can rely on him to be responsible, but the sooner you implicate him in managing his allergies, the sooner he will be able to do what is necessary for his safety.
If you are preparing your child’s entry into kindergarten, visit our Childcare section and read our special advices.
We also have many articles on school life.