Family expert Dr Karen Phillip shares tips for helping children settle into new school year

CREATING a planner and labelling stationary, uniforms and shoes are among the top tips a family expert is giving to Redlands, Scenic Rim and Logan parents as children prepare to head back to school next week.

FIRST DAY: Parents will be dropping their children off at schools across the Redlands next week and a family expert says it is important to be prepared. Photo: supplied

FIRST DAY: Parents will be dropping their children off at schools across the Redlands next week and a family expert says it is important to be prepared. Photo: supplied

Showing new students around their school and shopping together for essential items were also on the list for making the transition smooth and enjoyable.

Dr Karen Phillip, a relationship and parenting expert, said it was important that parents walked their kids through what happens at break times before the first bell rings next week.

"Have a few trial lunch days where you pack the child a lunch box at home and ensure they eat correct little lunch first then big lunch, this is particularly important if all food is in one lunch box," she said.

Dr Phillip said parents should also ensure their children had a morning routine prepared to avoid unnecessary conflict on the first day.

"Set clear expectations and consequences so they understand and remember that children have no concept of time under about seven-years-old so telling them you have half an hour to get ready will mean nothing to them," she said.

Parents should also consider wearing dark sunglasses if they feel they will show emotion dropping their children off, as it will cause the student to feel anxious and think school is a scary place.

"Parents hugging their child emotionally and telling them how much they will miss their child will make the child sad and anxious," Dr Phillip said.

"(On the) first day, meet the teacher, show your child around, smile and go."

Dr Phillip said parents should spend the last few day of holidays going over the school equipment list and shopping with their child to avoid unnecessary stress at the last minute.

"Shop ahead to avoid last minute rushing," she said. "Getting their school uniform will allow the child to feel big.

"Ensure they are comfortable in their new uniform look, have them choose their lunch box and drink bottle or backpack. This allows them to have ownership of the school experience."

The run into the school year should also be used to prepare a schedule and label school items.

"If the child puts their item down and other children's items are the same, a child can become distressed thinking the other child has taken their item or it's lost," Dr Phillip said.

"Labelling all items will prevent this and assist the teacher to sort out correct belongings. Place their first name and first letter of surname at least.

"Get them involved in the planning. Even if they can't write yet, they can use a stamp or draw a picture or symbol.

"I like Frixion pens and stamps for this as they are erasable and so if plans change, they can be rubbed out to avoid any confusion."

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This story Expert shares tips for helping school children avoid first day blues first appeared on Redland City Bulletin.