Balancing expectations key to battling first day nerves

5-year-old Evie O'Sullivan of Brassall will be starting her first day of Prep class next week when school goes back.
5-year-old Evie O'Sullivan of Brassall will be starting her first day of Prep class next week when school goes back. David Nielsen

STARTING school can often create anxiety and worry for all involved, but research shows there are certain things you can do to ensure the first day of school goes ahead as pain-free as possible.

Families across the country will next week take the first steps onto the school grounds with their little preppies and Brassal mum Amy O'Sullivan will be joining them along with daughter Evie.

Mrs O'Sullivan said while Evie was extremely excited, she expected her own experience of her daughter's first day will be a mix of emotions.

"Evie's very excited as she's got friends she knows in her class, so she feels confident which is all that matters," she said.

"I expect she'll be quite tired and exhausted in the first few weeks, but her kindy has been really good at preparing her by simulating mini classrooms so she knows what the class room will be all about which has helped both her and me.

"I'm just sad because it's my first child and she's my baby and it's the unknown when you've never done school before that scares me.

"It's also just the little things like how do I get her to school on time, plus get the other kids to daycare on time before work- it's going to be a big change for all of us."

Dr Crystal McMullen is a USQ senior lecturer (School of Psychology and Counselling) and clinical psychologist with an interest in working with children and families, in particular, anxiety.

Dr McMullen said there were a few simple tricks parents could do to ensure a smooth transition into school life.

"It may seem basic, but one of the biggest things parents can do to help their children get ready for school is to involve them as much and as early as possible in the whole lead up," she said.

"Things like bringing them along to pick their own lunch boxes, driving past the school and just talking about school on a regular basis helps get children more psychologically ready.

"It's also important to not make a massive deal out of it and to provide a balanced view of school as some kids can get disheartened when they realise school isn't always fun every single day."

Topics:  anxiety families first school day ipswich school usq

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