The HABA countdown for a successful school start

The first day of school as a new student is something very special: The children's eyes are bright, the school bag is new and colorful, and the parents proudly observe how grown up their little ones are as they head off with their filled school cones. It seems like just yesterday that they were born, but all of a sudden they're marching off with their big school bag and making all sorts of new discoveries. So that the magic of the first day of school remains, and school continues to be fun, HABA invites you to the pre-school countdown: We take you with us step-by-step, and show when you can make which preparations for school.

6 to 12 months before: Pre-school training to get in the mood

Many kindergartens offer children pre-school training in the final year. Enquire what pre-school exercises are planned for your child. Then you will have enough time to intensify the pre-school training at home, with educational games, drawing, pre-school books and writing exercises. Always good: Lots of movement outside and exercises with the figure eight. The figure eight combines the movement elements of a circle and a loop, and activates the connection between the two halves of the brain – the ideal basis to support reading comprehension and relaxed writing. Most important: Take the time and play with your child a lot, to train patience and concentration, as well as to stimulate their imagination.

2 to 6 months before: Well equipped for school

School is even more fun when you have the right gear. Let your child contribute to the selection of their school bag, gym bag, water bottle and lunchbox. If your child loves stories about sailors, then they are sure to like a bag with a pirate ship on it. Nature-loving children are more drawn toward school bags and writing utensils with animal or flower motifs. It’s important that your child feels comfortable with the things it will use at school. The school usually lists the things that need to be in the school bag: Books, pens, brushes, paint box, wax crayons, modelling clay and much more – there is a huge selection! Teachers are therefore happy to provide more information about which learning and painting utensils they recommend for their class. Just ask!

1 to 4 weeks before: Which school cone? And what should go in it?

What would the first day of school be without a school cone? The new students proudly carry their school cone into the classroom, and can hardly wait to finally open it and see what's inside. School cones can be bought or homemade. If you make the school cone yourself, ideally with the child, then the anticipation of school is even more pronounced, and it also reduces the possibility that another new student will arrive in the classroom with the same school cone. Once the first day of school is over and the school cone can finally be opened after an endless wait, the children are very happy: All the small hidden gifts finally emerge. Here are a few gift ideas for the first day at school: Children's tableware such as lunchbox and water bottle, soft toys or lucky charms with a carabineer to attach, hair bands or hair clips, skipping rope, puzzle or coloring book, pens, a card game or a CD, books for beginner readers and naturally snacks such as alphabet biscuits to sweeten the first day of school.

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1 to 2 weeks before: Practice the way to school

Shortly before the first day of school it is recommended to walk the route to school with the child, or drive the route of the bus. Where are potential hazards? Where does your child need to pay special attention? Practice the most important traffic rules with your child. The way to school is especially fun if it can be walked with other children. Ask other parents in your neighborhood whether the children can walk to school together. Walking groups and car pools offer more safety, and reduce the fear of school thanks to shared discussions and experiences. If your child needs to go to school alone, there are courses which give them an opportunity to practice dealing with strangers and learn to behave confidently. If you equip your child with clothing that is appropriate for dawn and dusk lighting, for example reflectors in the school bag and a bright yellow safety vest in fall and winter, then your child can be seen easily by all road users.

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Getting into the school routine: Pack the lunchbox

If you add up the weight of the school bag, which already weighs over 1 kilogram, with the learning utensils and books, then it's clear that parents need to calculate cleverly when it comes to the lunchbox and water bottle. Best are smaller water bottles which the child can then refill with water at school. The lunchbox should also not add unnecessary weight to the school bag, and should be filled with healthy food which keeps the child full for longer. If your child isn't a big breakfast eater then a substantial, healthy lunch with wholegrain bread, cheese, lean sausage, fresh fruit and crunchy vegetables (preferably already cut into pieces), is even more important.

1 year later: Return to the stationary department

For preschool children the first day of school can't come fast enough. But a year later things look different when you return to the stationary department and meet all the other parents, and the hunt for books with the right markings starts once again. Woe betides you if you get a cover in the wrong color, because you'll have to take it off the next day! But don't get too wound up by the chaos of the first week of school and the school routine: With every day at school your child is getting smarter and more independent. Shared school excursions and new friends enrich the school day of your child, and in no time at all your clumsy new student will become a confident teenager!