School open days: Settle nerves with the right support

The right choice: Speak with prospective schools at enrolment time and start talking to your child about attending. Photo: Shuuterstock

The right choice: Speak with prospective schools at enrolment time and start talking to your child about attending. Photo: Shuuterstock

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Preparing for a new school can be a daunting time. For most students it occurs naturally with the move from primary to secondary school, while for others it might be accompanied by the move to a new suburb or town.

As if this change isn’t monumental enough in a young life, having to adjust to a new school and form new friendships can just amplify the scariness of the situation.

However with the right support at home and school, nerves of both new students and their parents can be kept to a minimum.

Give your child time. Don't pressure them to enjoy it straight away.

Kathy Walker

Parenting expert and education consultant Kathy Walker says the emotions you might watch your children experience in the lead up to their first day will depend on their age.

“Generally, whilst all children may feel some nervousness and apprehension, the younger you are, the easiest it is,” she says.

“This is because you haven't developed true friendship early in your life and are less aware of implications. It also depends on how parents handle it. Usually being positive but not over-talking helps.”

Kathy says if your child, no matter what age, is nervous you should acknowledge their emotions and not try and jolly them out of it.

“Reassure (them) that starting something new can feel strange and can lead to feeling nervous but may also bring exciting and new things,” she says.

Ensure the transition is as smooth as possible by keeping channels of communication open and allowing your child to express early emotions that may not all be positive at first.

“Give your child time,” she advises. “Don't pressure them to enjoy it straight away.”