This is how you can you help your child get over the first day at school nerves

Tomorrow sees thousands of youngsters across the North East get their first taste of a new school.

Children across the country are preparing for their first day at school
Children across the country are preparing for their first day at school

Whether it’s the an introduction to reception class or making the transition from primary to secondary, it’s a nervous time for parents as well as children.

Now teaching and psychology experts from the University of Sunderland are offering carers and teachers a helping hand to minimise the first day nerves.

Dr Amy Pearson, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, said: “Dealing with changes in environment, fitting in and making new friends can be really stressful. Research shows that having good support from family, friends and teachers can help children to feel more comfortable with the transition to a new school or class, as well as having time to engage in fun activities - an after school club or some time reading their favourite book.

Dr Amy Pearson, Senior Lecturer in Psychology

“Building a child's self-esteem can also help them to deal with changes, supporting them with new goals and helping them to achieve them.

“One way is to help them develop their ability to 'bounce back' when faced with a challenge. Strong support from parents, family and teachers helps a child to develop their problem solving skills and feel like they can meet their own goals.”

Joshua Haustead, four, is this week making the move from St Mary’s Childcare at the university to primary school in Whitburn.

Dad Paul Haustead: “With Joshua already attending St Mary’s Childcare Centre, having seen him on his visit to the school and his generally outgoing personality I can’t foresee Joshua having any problems making the transition from nursery to primary school. He seems very excited about his first day at school.”


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Joshua Haustead, four, is getting ready to start primary school

Mikeala Morgans, Principal Lecturer in initial teacher training at the University of Sunderland, said: “Starting school for the first time can cause excitement and uncertainty.

“It is seen by parents and children as big step up from nursery. Some children feel absolutely ready and excited for the change and others can feel overwhelmed and in need of more support.

“Reception teachers are experts in their craft and know exactly how to nurture children and support parents in these early stages in their primary school careers.”


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Mikeala added: “Despite all the hard work schools do to prepare pupils for the transition to secondary school, the move can feel daunting.

“The set-up of secondary schools can differ to that of primary schools and that causes uncertainty for some and excitement for others.

“As a parent who has gone through this, I was concerned about how my child would cope and he had lots of questions about what secondary school would be like. However, the excitement of the variety of the day, having lots of different teachers and being able to engage with new subjects soon took over from any anxiety he had.

“Secondary staff are very good at managing this transition and the pastoral systems in place support pupils and their parents with the adjustment needed for successful transition into Key Stage 3.”