With September just round the corner. If you have a little one that is about to start school for the first time you will no doubt be feeling a whole mix of emotions. So will your little one.
What can you do then over the next few weeks to help prepare them for the huge milestone they are about to reach? Here are our top tips.
Kids love to read, and more importantly be read to and there are some fantastic books available that create a positive impression of school. We love I am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child (featuring favourite characters Charlie and Lola).
Not only are such books fun, but they are also a great way of starting a conversation about the start of school. What is your child most looking forward to, and what are they worried about? You will probably find any concerns they have focus on things you may find silly – or obvious – such as will they be able to go to the toilet, or how will they know where to sit.
Discuss your first day at school and the things you loved doing. By all means admit you are were nervous, but don’t introduce any concerns or worries that your child has not considered yet. Children are very receptive to other people’s emotions, and you may run the risk of making a perfectly happy child anxious about things they had never even thought of.
The summer holidays can be a great opportunity to walk or drive to the new school. Help your child familiarise themselves with the route to school, and point out any fun or exciting things they might see along the way.
What can they see at the school which appeals to them? Are they looking forward to playing on the slide, or going in to the field to play football? Is there are a shop you can stop in on the way home to pick up a bag of sweets or a new comic for them?
The more familiar they are with the whole routine of starting school, the better when the time comes.
What should your child know?
Every school is different in terms of what they expect children to be able to do or understand, however, for the most part schools are hopeful that children will:
- Go to the toilet independently (or at least recognise when they need the toilet so they can ask to be taken)
- Put their coats on/off and change independently (or with a minimum of support)
- Recognise their written name so they can find their peg and tray etc
- Eat independently
- Understand sharing, being quiet and listening
If your child needs support in any of these areas then August is the perfect month to work on them. However, don’t lose sleep if you think your child is going to be behind, they almost certainly won’t be, and the teachers are there to help further what you have started when the time comes.
For the most part children adapt very quickly to the start of school, it’s us parents that have the real problems.