Health tips

Starting school involves big changes. Your child is moving from the familiar environments of home, preschool or childcare and into ‘big school’. It’s a different place, with new teachers, new friends and new rules.

Your life changes too. You’ll probably pack about 200 lunches this year, wash their uniforms constantly and keep track of endless school notices. You’ll also see your child gaining new skills and blossoming as they grow.

While the first year of school certainly presents some challenges, a little preparation can help children build independence and adapt to their new environment.

Emotional skills

Your child may be both excited and nervous about starting school. Read a few picture books about starting school together and use the stories as conversation prompts to help your child talk about their feelings. Sometimes you’ll be able to offer advice or reassurance and other times it’s enough just to listen and encourage.

Building independence

Children need to do most things for themselves at school. If there’s anything you’re still doing for them that they need to do themselves, such as dressing, putting their shoes on, or going to the toilet, then now’s the time to teach them. Involve your child in the transition process by taking them with you to buy school supplies, uniforms, or to choose a new lunchbox. Lunchboxes can be tricky, so choose one that your child can open independently. Then have a few picnics in the garden to practice using it.

Adapting to a new environment

Most schools will hold orientation days, allowing your child to meet their teacher and classmates. You could also walk or ride to school with them a few times to get them used to the journey. Point out your child’s classroom and talk about anything your child brings up.

Supporting their health

Your child will be exposed to many new children and bacteria this year. Check that they know how to wash their hands properly with soap to prevent the spread of germs. Make sure their dental checks and immunisations are up to date. And get them to bed on time as they can get very tired in early weeks of school.

If your child needs to take antibiotics during the year, you could also consider giving them Life-Space Probiotic Powder for Children. This can help to maintain healthy gut microbes following the use of antibiotics and may help to encourage good bacterial diversity, which supports a healthy microbiome. The microbiome is the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live on and inside the human body. It’s constantly evolving and plays an important role in our everyday and digestive health.

For you

Staying organised really helps. Put school term dates and holidays in your calendar now and think about how you’ll keep track of school notices and important dates during the year.

A good first day actually starts the night before. Help your child pack their bag tonight so their first morning is relaxed. Get to school in good time and give them a big, confident smile when it’s time to go.

Then, allow yourself space to deal with your feelings. It can be a bittersweet moment as pride in your child’s growing independence mingles with a sense of loss. Plan something nice for yourself for that first morning. Before you know it, it’ll be time to collect your child and find out how their first day went.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.