Why the first day of school is also tough on parents

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

A lot has been written about the struggle of the first day of school for students and whether it might be pre-school, Grade 1, Grade 8 or even first year, the change always brings about a new sort of excitement and anxiety.

And as a parent, you are a part of this journey with your child, so it is completely normal to be feeling these emotions along with your child. That tug of the heartstrings as they run away from you to join their class, the signalling that there will be a change in routine, or even worse when the waterworks are turned on and you have to leave them.

So, what is the cause of parents going through first day blues? It falls within the word transition, which is defined as “the process or period of changing from one state or condition to another.” And while the transition for the child is into a space that is unknown, oftentimes for a parent, what they struggle with is the fear of the known.

For many parents, the first day of school can seem like a flashback to their own experiences – the challenges that they faced and the memories that they have of it. Memories such as struggling academically, feeling left out, being bullied, and many adults’ immediate thought is that they want to prevent their child from going through the same experiences.

Even for those who have predominantly good memories of school it is easy to notice what potentially could go wrong in your child’s schooling career. It is difficult knowing that your child will enter into one of their most vulnerable times of life without you there to guide them.

Julie Binderman, a psychologist told the Washington Post that for many parents the first day of school signals a realisation that their child is growing up, that you are no longer solely in charge of moulding them. Each first day brings about a new change in the child’s life and parents have to come to grips with the fact that with each milestone they are needed less by their child.

Binderman said that it is even more difficult for those who get too wrapped up in their ‘parent’ identity because when their child needs them less they find it difficult to cope with this loss of something that they see as their most identifying factor. However, she said these feelings are completely normal and in order to work through it, one must acknowledge that it’s there and be content with feeling those emotions.

However it is important to quell your anxiety as your child will probably pick up on your fears, so here are some tips to make sure that each new term goes by fluidly: Make sure you know your child’s teacher as well as their procedure for when the children are crying for their parents; learn the school’s schedule so you can make an easy transition from home to school; always make sure to say goodbye to your child as leaving without saying goodbye risks breaking your child’s trust; once you’ve said goodbye don’t linger and express your ease in leaving. Also make time to mingle with other parents, it will help to create a network of people that are perhaps feeling like you.

Tip: Make sure to pack in a healthy, nutritious lunch for your child, and practice eating out of a lunchbox and throwing refuse in the bin. Being nourished is important to make sure that your child is happy and healthy each day at school. Danone has a range of delicious lunch box options to make sure that your child stays happy and healthy at school, and you are rest assured that they are eating their correct nutrients.

Danone’s “One Health. One Planet” vision has the company calling for 1 Million South African moms to sign the Pledge for Healthy Change to make sure that their families are living healthy and nutritious lives.

The pledge is simple:

1. Eat breakfast every day.

2. Eat more vegetables and fruit every day.

3. Have milk, maas or yoghurt every day.

4. Drink more water every day.

5. Move more every day.

Once moms sign the pledge, they will be supported with tips, the ability to connect with other moms and to get nutrition advice from experts through live chats. Check out the pledge and begin living a healthy family life here

This post is sponsored by Danone produced by BrandStudio.24 for Parent24.  


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