You and your little one can ace the first day without tears, with just a little preparation. Here’s our Time Out Kids checklist to take the pain out of planning.
Most things you will need to know will be on the school website, so it’s time to add it to your browser’s favourites bar and remember to check it regularly. You need to find out everything from the do’s and don’ts of your new school’s pick-up and drop-off points, to the protocol for birthday celebrations and dealing with sick days.
What’s the nursery or school’s policy? Are meals provided or will you need to pack a daily lunch box? If you are going to be packing it, remember it’s not like it was in our day. Nowadays, it’s all about healthy eating, being considerate of those with allergies and staying culturally aware. Armed with just a little info, you’ll avoid any likely dining faux pas. Think also about where the snack box is likely to be stored before the meal – will it go in the fridge at nursery? If not, think about using a thermal bag or popping an ice pack in to keep snacks cool.
With weather that rarely deviates from scorchio, little ones need to be able to rehydrate throughout the day. Get a water bottle before the first day and teach them how to open it, drink from it and refill it.
Ask any parent and they all have their own tale of woe filled with lost shirts and mystery socks. Reduce the chaos before you start, by labelling everything you intend to send to school. Depending on the age and the place you choose, kids are going to need: several uniforms, sleepwear, swimwear, gym kit and a full change of clothes and wipes for any little accidents. And if you ever hope to see any of it again, bag it and tag it, too.
With all the shopping, it can be easy to forget to mentally prepare kids for the big day. Talk to them, try some books, websites or DVDs that cover the issue in a fun and kid-friendly way. Although you might be tempted to shy away from fears or worries, address them head on, ensuring a happier first day all round.
Check the website or ask the nursery if you are expected to bring any books, bags, pens, etc. Taking kids shopping for these can also really help as they feel invested and included in the process and (hopefully) more likely to enjoy it, too.
Have you thought about your school route? Planning on using the bus? Then you need to book it – get the monitor’s phone number and find out the timings. If you’re getting there under your own steam, plan a route and remember to factor in rush hour traffic.
The big day
• Make sure both of you get an early night
• Ensure they’ve had a hearty and healthy breakfast
• Be early for both drop-off and pick-up
• Ensure you have the right day!
• Let your child help decide what they will have for a snack/lunchbox
Whether you complete an online application or go in person, pre-schools and nurseries require a slew of documents before they’ll accept you. You'll need copies of:
• Your child’s birth certificate
• Passport, residency visa and Emirates ID copies (for your child)
• Passport, residency visa and Emirates ID copies (for parents)
• Several copies of a recent passport sized photo of your child
• Your child’s immunisation record
• Any previous school/nursery reports