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

Back to school
Back to school

All across South Africa, kids are preparing for the Big Day.

Yes, it’s back to school time again! 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 – so here are a few tips on surviving the first-day, enjoying it to the max, and keeping the tears to a minimum. 

Big it up!

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.

Did you know? In the Back to School sales, 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!

Also read: These local parents compared 8 retailers to find the most affordable stationery 

Rehearse the day

Visit the school ahead of time and drive the same route you will follow on that epic morning.

Practice 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

Establish a new bedtime that leaves you ample time to get ready in the morning.

Bath, breakfast, brushing teeth: ensure the new schedule is clear and regular to help your child feel confident and at ease. 

Also read: "But mum, you have a message': Girl interrupts mom during live TV bulletin

Start the day right

A stable morning routine and a healthy balanced breakfast are key to sustained concentration through the school day, so make sure the kids eat up. 

Did you know? The number of 1KG Jungle Oats sold at Game is equal in weight to 15 times that of the Apollo 11 shuttle that landed on the moon!

Pack a good lunch

Breakfast does however wear off, and kids need a healthy lunch to sustain them through the rest of the day’s activities.

Did you know? If packed end-to-end, the loaves of bread sold at Game would cover the distance from Johannesburg to Pretoria more than 13 times!

Baby, don’t cry

Sometimes the start of school can be more traumatic for the parents than for the kids (beyond the overwhelming costs of stationary and uniforms!). Stay upbeat and keep your child in an optimistic frame of mind. 

Also see: These 104 schools have achieved a 100% pass rate since 2015

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 that 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 to feel special, confident and proud to have reached this important milestone - just be cautious if sharing on social media and don't reveal any details of your kids whereabouts. 

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!

Compiled for Parent24 by Game

How are you preparing your kids for back-to-school? Let us know! 

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