Starting school hard for kids, parents

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
Six year old Alix Pepper is looking forward to starting year one at Mt Lockyer Primary School.
Camera IconSix year old Alix Pepper is looking forward to starting year one at Mt Lockyer Primary School. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Monday will mark a special new start for many parents and children.

Nationally renowned educator and parenting expert Maggie Dent said the first day at school was an exciting time but could also be very stressful.

“It’s a new beginning and a new transition, so we need to normalise that there will be a heightened sense of anxiety for both the little ones and their parents,” Ms Dent said.

“It doesn’t matter how many kids you’ve had, you’re still worried if they’re going to be OK.”

The former Albany woman and mother of four said it was important to remember that it would take time for a new environment to feel familiar and safe.

“Some of our children will transition beautifully and just bounce on in — I call them roosters — but there will also be some sensitive children, more like lambs who will take a lot more time to adjust and are more likely to suffer from anxiety,” she said.

“That absolutely does not mean that there is anything wrong with your child, or that you’re a lousy parent.

“It’s really important to recognise that there is just temperament and biological and genetic differences that mean every child’s experience is a unique one.”

Dannielle Jones with daughters three year old Samantha and six year old Alix Pepper are looking forward to starting school at Mt Lockyer Primary.
Camera IconDannielle Jones with daughters three year old Samantha and six year old Alix Pepper are looking forward to starting school at Mt Lockyer Primary. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Albany mother of two Danielle Jones will be sending her children for their first day of kindergarten and primary school on Monday.

“It will be hard sending my baby off to kindy at the same time as the older one goes to school for the first time,” she said.

“(I’m) not really sure what I’ll do with myself now to be honest.

“But they’re both really looking forward to it and Lockyer is a great school, so I’m excited for them.”

Six-year-old Alix said she was a little nervous but she was looking forward to meeting her teacher and being able to play at the adventure playground.

Ms Dent said familiarising children with their bag and uniform, making sure they know how to open their lunch box and opting for non-lace-up shoes are other ways to take pressure off children.

“Another tip of mine is don’t transition them to an object, transition them to a person, so if possible let the teacher know if you can leave your child with them, rather than just leaving the child at a jigsaw puzzle,” she said.

“And lastly, make sure you make a quick loving exit and just go — lingering just escalates everything.”

Ms Dent will be in Albany on February 6 to present a parenting seminar based on her book.

For more information visit: https://www.maggiedent.com/events/9-things-albany-wa/.

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