Starting school is a big step for the whole family and children and their parents can often feel apprehensive about what this new stage will be like.
Helpful tips for preparing your young child to start school:
If you are preparing your child to start school, here are some helpful tips to consider:
- Playgroup: Does your school run a playgroup you could attend to help your child become more familiar with the setting?
- Will you have the opportunity to visit the classroom ahead of time?
If so, perhaps you could encourage your child to use the toilets there and practise unpacking his bag, sitting in the classroom and familiarising himself with the environment. It’s helpful if you can also start to familiarise yourselves with the daily routine while you’re there.
- Will you have a chance to meet your child’s teacher in advance?
A critical step to settling your child into school is encouraging a secure bond between your child and his teacher. If you have a chance to meet your child’s teacher ahead of time, consider taking a photo of your child and his teacher together. Then you can put this photo on your fridge to help your child’s teacher become a familiar face in your home.
- Does your child know anyone else starting school at the same time?
You’ll set him up for success if your child knows some friendly faces from the start.
- Role play some of the potentially challenging social situations at home, for example, going to the teacher with a problem, joining in with a group who are playing together, responding appropriately when another child acts unkindly etc;
- Read books about starting school.
- Practise all the little things that your child will now need to be able to do independently, such as tying his shoelaces, opening packets of food from his lunchbox and refilling his water bottle.
- Practice saying goodbyes. Practising your goodbyes is particularly important if your little one hasn’t attended childcare or preschool before.
For advice about the key competencies for school readiness, here is a helpful article.