The time has finally arrived, we thought that it never would after lockdown followed by summer holidays.
It can be a day of combined relief and anxiety, so lets look at the ways that you can help your little person to have the best start. You want your child to have a good experience and feel positive about starting school. Be positive and upbeat when you talk about them starting school; chat about the new things they’ll get to do, see and the friends that they will meet there. Let your child know that you love them and that you will miss them but keep the conversation light.
Small steps towards greater independence
September might seem a long way away, but now is the time to start gradually helping your child to be more self-sufficient so they will feel more secure and confident about starting school. Don’t worry about whether they know their ABCs and Numbers, rather have a practice at things like good toilet etiquette and hygiene, buttoning up their coat and putting their shoes on.
Sewing in their name tags and ensuring they can recognise their own labelled belongings will be an important skill from the very first day. Maybe take the time to venture out on a shopping trip to pick up some supplies that they can select themselves, not only fun but also adding to their sense of security.
Praise your child when they learn a new skill
Gradually increase the opportunities your child has to:
- Get dressed and undressed on their own
- Take their coat on and off and hang it up
- Go to the toilet on their own and wash their hands
- Put on their shoes and socks
- Find their tissue and blow their nose
- Pack up and take out their pencil case and books from school bag
A smile, a kind word or a gentle touch is just right for encouraging and supporting your child.
Reading every day is the best thing you can do
The golden rule for all parents is to read to your child every day. This is so important and often starts from your child’s earliest days, through pre-school and into school until they don’t need you to read to them anymore. It is the most useful way to get your child ready for school as there are countless benefits, and just listening and keeping still to hear the story as well as awakening their imagination is crucial to all learning. They’ll naturally pick up literary and numeracy skills through reading – no pushing is needed, just go to their own pace.
Responsibility and nice manners
Being in charge and taking care of their school bag and contents as well as clothing is an important lesson. Give them responsibility for packing the reader book that goes home daily and back to school with your child. You can practice this in your role play so they know exactly what to do when they are given this task at school.
The best way to teach your child to say please and thank you and to treat others with respect is to lead by example. When you talk to them, to your family, friends and people in shops or restaurants having nice manners yourself is the best way to get your child effortlessly copying your behaviour. Resist the urge to correct or tell them off too much, as it makes politeness into a chastisement, rather than a natural part of their behaviour.
First day at school
Your Little One’s first day at school is a big deal to you but play it cool Mama’s and Papa’s. They’ve had a really huge day filled with new experiences but they are more likely to need to crash out in front of kids TV than thrill you with their tales of school.