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Mumsnet users share with Disney Junior how they prepare their child for their first day of school(216 Posts)
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The first day of primary school is an exciting milestone and also fairly nerve-wracking for both children and parents alike. Many questions may run through your mind, such as, ‘Will my child make new friends? Will they get along with others? What type of day are they having? Preparing your child for their first day of school, can be a great way to ensure a smooth transition. From giving them guidance on how to make friends, to practising the school routine and helping them get ready can provide them with confidence for their first day. Disney Junior, together with Vee, heroine of the Disney Junior series Vampirina would love to know your tips for preparing your child for their first day of school and how you encourage them to make new friends.
Here’s what Disney Junior have to say about Vampirina: “Vampirina (AKA Vee) and her family of vampires have moved to Pennsylvania to open the very first Scare B&B. Despite being new to the neighbourhood and a bit nervous, this little girl has no trouble making friends and having fun. Meanwhile her mum, Oxana does a fabulous job at juggling the roles of a full-time mum and owner of the spookiest B&B in town! Your little one can watch Vampirina every day at 17.30 on Disney Junior!”
Watch the video below: a guide to making friends; as told by 5 year olds:
Do you explain the importance of caring and looking out for others to help them make new friends? Perhaps you try get as much information from the new school as you can about what the first day will be like? Maybe you work on independence and being able to do little tasks by themselves such as tying their own shoes? Or do you try to meet up with others who are attending the school so your child knows a few familiar faces?
Whatever your tips are for preparing your child for their first day of school, share them on the thread below to be entered into a prize draw, where three lucky winners will win a £100 Disney Store voucher plus a Vampirina goody bag for back to school.
Thanks and good luck
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We practised getting dressed and eating with a knife and fork.
I got mine into the school routine a few days before; getting up, mealtimes etc. Actually, especially mealtimes because I have a hangry child . We also practised dressing and undressing for PE.
Practice gettin school uniform on and off and meet up with their new classmates in the summer if possible. Talk enthusiastically about school and not let them know you’re nervous. Give them lots of reassuring hugs and tell them they’re amazing.
We talked a lot about starting school and making new friends. Practising putting on the uniform was also great fun. Basically, make it sound as exciting as possible!
We are due to start in reception this September so have practiced holding a canteen tray with food & drink without dropping it! Also practised taking off and putting on PE clothes.
I talked about starting school (last year) for the best part of a year. Slowly slowly drip drip drip, presenting it as a done deal (so he knew it wasn’t optional) but making it part of our lives and something to be excited about. He started happily and has always loved school.
Reception help list:
The summer before my August born boy went to school we started practising on preparation – here is my list of helpful hints!
Velcro shoes – unless they can do laces up with no help and very quickly
Make sure you contact your school to find out how to obtain the uniform. Sometimes it has to be ordered via the school and when they close at the end of July its means you won’t have a uniform for September!!
Find out which days P.E is on and on those days don’t button up the polo shirt – with a jumper on over the top it won’t be noticed anyway!
If they have to wear proper shirts with lots of buttons that are really too difficult to do up quickly - unpick the buttons. Sew them on the "hole" side where they would end up if they were properly done up. Then get velcro and sew that onto the shirt - so when its put together it looks just like a proper done up shirt.
Or just do that to some of the buttons, so they get to practice them still (or just wear the Velcro shirt on PE days!!)
Personal care – ensure can wash hands, sort clothing out. My son couldn’t wipe his own bottom and so I ensured he got into a “routine” of doing one before bed so I knew he wouldn’t run into difficulties at school.
Put half a smiley face in each shoe so that when they are placed together the correct way round they form one big happy face – helps to get the shoes on the correct feet.
Practice with a lunchbox and different wrappings. I realised that I just hand my son a plate of food (as does nursery) and so he never had to undo anything!. He found a zipped lunch box easier than a velcro one. He found cling film to fidderly and so I get cheap food bags and put his sandwiches in them and wrap them over. He then puts all his left over’s in the bag so the lunch box comes back in a decent state!
Put a slit in the top of packets so they tear open easily or open them and fold them over and seal with a sticker (children can ALWAYS get a sticker off things!).
Fromage frais makes less mess than runny yogurt. Don’t forget to pack a spoon.
Sport top on bottles easier than screw tops or cartons (it all comes home in the lunch box so think of less spillage)
Label everything unless you don’t want it back. I got some really good stickers printed with just our surname on so all the family could use them for different things. They are dishwasher proof too. Marks and Spencers do socks that have the size in them and space to write a name – great if you have more than one child (but with different sized feet) in the same coloured socks (or is it just me who finds figuring out which socks belong to which family member a challenge!!).
Small icepack for the summer.
Some foods are not allowed in lunches so check with the school.
Before my (very young and clumsy)son had school dinners I brought a tray plate (from boots) that the food gets put directly on as that is what they use in school so he could practice carrying it to the table without dropping it. (was terrified he would drop it at school and everyone would laugh).
If they are a very small or slow eater don’t give them too much otherwise they will spend their whole lunch break eating and not outside playing. Some schools insist they eat everything. Just take a snack for on the way home if they are hungry.
Elasticated skirts and trousers to make it easier to get on/off.
If there is a 'school' coat, and it's not compulsory DON'T BUY ONE. If 30 children all have an identical coat it's a nightmare to sort them out.
Show your child how to hang their coat on a peg, using the loop. Otherwise the coat will live on a muddy cloakroom floor.
Tie something distinctive on your child's bookbag and PE bag, so they can recognise their own among many identical ones - a keyring or something is ideal
Putting his clothes back on when they are inside out and back-to-front (ie as they'll be after he's taken them off after PE). My DS could dress himself so it never occurred to me that his clothes were always presented in a nice "sanitised" manner
Some children found the sheer noise and busy environment very stressful when they first start school and I wasn't prepared for that with my son who found lunchtimes in the hall with a hundred or so other children all chattering, clanking cutlery, scraping chairs and clinking plates really intimidating and scary.
Not much you can do (unless you have a massive home and a hundred children to invite round) but by going to busy places with him beforehand and telling him that school might get noisy sometimes but it's nothing to be worried about he will at least be able to remember your words when faced with increased hustle and bustle.
My son was sometimes a bit nervous about going in and “being alone” all day without me, so I filled his pocket with “kisses” and told him to reach in for one if he felt a bit sad. At nearly 7yrs he still asked for them when going somewhere new (eg Beavers for the first time)
Teach your child to stuff their hat/scarf/gloves into the sleeve of their coat when they hang their coat up - stops them from getting lost and reminds dc to put them back on when they go out to play as they automatically find them when they put their coat back on!
A top tip I was given was that school shirts come in packs of three so you buy 2 packs, that gives you 6 shirts, one for every day of the week, plus 1 you put aside for the school christmas show, prize giving or whatever.
If you are a working parent, as soon as you find out your allocated school you MUST sort childcare. Childminders and after school clubs get booked up very quickly. The school office may have a list of childcare establishments.
I sewed back the bottom bit of the material away from the zip on my DS's coat when he started Reception (to make it easier to do up).
If they wear proper shirts (as opposed to polo shirts), don't bother with long sleeved ones - the cuffs will get so grubby you'll only get one day's wear out of them. Short sleeves are better!
School uniform does go missing – be it misplaced or stolen. If you don’t need to get logo’d uniform then don’t as this is what tends to go easily. Also make your uniform more distinctive so when the children leave school you will be able to spot a piece of your Childs clothing on another child. Eg put a small key ring on the zipper of the school coat/jacket. Will make it easier to pull up as well.
Write in permanent ink inside the collar or sleeve – any where it can be easily seen and can not be cut out (like labels). Sew a small colour co-ordinated flower/star/circle (whatever is appropriate) on the collar – again is small but distinctive.
Phase out any after-lunch naps - they don't get this at school and it will be much harder for those who are still used to this.
Buy a nit comb and tie long hair back.
Find out where the lost box is you will be a regular
If any allergies check epi pens write in dates they need to be replaced and have a treat box at school for when children hand out cakes on their birthdays.
Checking the school bag for letters party invites daily and dealing with stuff as soon as possible such as writing the dates down and getting stuff organised for it.
Keep unsuitable xmas and birthday presents for the various donations that the school ask for throughout the year (i.e summer and xmas fetes).
I also think it's good to ask the child themselves if there is anything they are worrying about - with DS he wanted to know the "routine" was so he could mentally tick it off during the day, so I found this out and let him know. He was also worried that no one would play with him so I suggested friend making strategies e.g. saying "My name is X, what's your name, do you want to play with me?"
We enjoyed sharing a range of books about starting school - this enabled them to ask questions whilst feeling safe. We also walked past the school regularly and discussed positive things about starting school e.g that’s the field where you’ll play and have lots of fun with your friends.
More practically, we practised dressing, tray carrying etc.
We have made sure dd is able to use the toilet, do her own coat and shoes etc.
I have also been encouraging her to ask for help politely "excuse me could i have help please" for when she is feeling overwhelmed in the class of 30 other children.
Mine already goes to the nursery attached to the school, so he knows some of his classmates and the teacher. I think the hardest thing will be having to go every day and how tired he’ll be. Planning a quiet autumn with lots of rest after school and at weekends, getting out in nature as much as possible! After the Christmas break we might start inviting friends to play at ours after school.
We talked lots about school, what to expect and about making friends - telling people your name, asking if they want to play / be friends etc...
Must be daunting for the little ones!
Luckily my DC had children in their class they already knew plus we had a few play dates in the holidays leading up to the new term so friendships & familiar faces were there from day one which helped.
We made sure that she could get dressed and undressed, use the toilet and wipe her bottom, recognise her name, and know to ask for help.
She went to the preschool one morning a week on my day off, so she could get used to the school building, bell , staff etc.
We've been practising getting dressed and undressed for when they get changed for P.E. Also, have been practising going to and using the toilet alone, washing hands etc.
I've tried to build the excitement by letting DC choose their own school shoes, lunch bag, water bottle etc.
Talking about it so they know what's coming and getting them to pick their own stationary
My Son was desperate to go. Meeting up with other children who were going too helped. Nursery were a big helping hand and the school did open days which we attended
We talked about it for a long time before it actually happened. It was hardest for my eldest, but the other 3 were already so used to the routine and school, it seemed like a natural and comfortable move for them.
As a parent it's key to not show Amy worry and tonne as prepared as possible. Get them excited about settling in sessions and remember any names they mention or you know help them when they start doing half or whole days.
Working up to the first full day, get them involved in all the preparations, picking a new bag, pencil case, water bottle, putting stickers on property and clothes. Help them learn the basic tasks they need to be independent and tell them to ask for help if they get stuck or are unsure of anything. Let them know it's okay to be nervous when you do something new or different, by be reassuring a clear on when and where you will pick them up, then be on time so they do not worry!
Send them off with a big kiss and cuddle, then scurry away before you cry 😭. We all do it!
We have First Day Supper. The child with the biggest First Day, eg the one starting or changing school, gets to choose what we have for supper that night. Absolutely anything, as long as it is proper food. They have to decide the menu by the Sunday before school starts.
We've had 12 FDSs so far, including Chinese takeaway, roast dinner, hotdogs; we've had a formal meal with tablecloth and clean plates for every course; we've had every course on the table at once, and people eating it in any order (hotdogs, potato salad, trifle, tea and biscuits).
The dc love this. It's become a ritual for every September. If nobody has a big first day then they decide the menu together.
I think this ritual has always helped for their first day. Perhaps because they know exactly how this day of unknowns will end, and it will be a good ending.
We played “pretend” school. Used his cuddly toys as pupils.
Show your child where they will be going to school before they actually start. If there is an Open Morning for the new beginners, make sure your child attends if at all possible.
Help them with dressing/undressing. Make sure they can fasten/unfasten their shoes.
Help them to recognise their name.
That they can wipe their own bottom! Open any lunchbox or water bottle. Wave them off with a big smile and not let them see you cry!
Buy them a lot of overpriced Disney products in fear of them being bullied for not having overpriced Disney stuff that Disney spends a lot of money marketing to them in order to make kids who don't have it feel left out
Don't use school as a threat.. I found myself accidentally doing it!! i.e - 'You won't be able to do that when you go to school you know' - LO had a welcome pack after his induction day in school which I read thoroughly & it gently advised against such talk, it was only then I realised I had been doing it - oops!!
Talk about your own (fun!) school experiences, play schools at home if they show an interest - don't go at it both barrels though, they'll come up with their own questions - let them lead the conversation & don't overload them with info.
Prepare in advance, hit the supermarkets early for cheap, good quality uniform basics & only buy the minimum with the school logo on to keep costs down. Our whole uniform was Asda & just the sweater had the logo on which saved us LOADS!
lots of open and relaxed chatting about it. Don't show my own worries so that my daughter didn't feel worried. reassure them that lots of people to help if she needs anything.
I think the best preparation is preschool. The transition from preschool to reception is really quite gentle.
I am also letting DD try on her school uniform regularly and we have had some meet ups with other children from her school.
Her brother has done the best job though. He made a Lego classroom and his Lego man is the teacher and her Lego people are the children. Just listening to them play I realised how many little ways he was preparing her for school - eg telling her friends they can’t sit together always, explaining what lesson they were doing. Play is such an excellent tool!
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