If you’ve got a little one off to ‘big school’ this year then you’ll be itching to know if you’ve done everything you can to prepare them, the truth is, you’ve more than likely been preparing them without even thinking about it. But, if you’re like me, you’ll want a checklist to make sure you’ve done all you can to give them the best start to their schooling life, so we’ve put one together for you.
Here are 10 tips to help your school starter:
1. Have lots of little chats about their feelings
Starting big school is super exciting, though it can also be a little overwhelming and bring on anxiety, even in the most confident little children. Your best bet is to talk to your child about school, lots. Talk positively about how fun it’s going to be, how much they will learn and how many new friends they get to make. If you have lots of little positive conversations about big school, then your child will feel more and more comfortable with the idea. Bear in mind, there still could be tears, but your positivity will be in the back of their head and they will be nice and ready to take on being a big school kid.
2. Make sure they can dress themselves
It’s a big thing to be able to dress yourself, and some little ones are quicker at it than others. Being able to dress yourself is important at school, especially when it comes to going to the toilet, they will need to know how to do up their pants! Go shopping for their school shoes a few weeks before school starts so you have time to practice putting their shoes on – they do lots of little things without shoes at school, so it’s very important to practice this skill.
3. Make sure they get enough sleep
In the first few weeks of school children’s brains go into overload. They are exhausted. One of the best things you can do for your child in the lead up to and at the beginning of the school year, is to ensure your child is well rested. This is one tip you’ll thank us for later!
4. Schedule play dates
More often than not there are Facebook groups for your child’s year. Use these to your advantage and set up play dates if possible. Especially if your child doesn’t know anyone going to school with them. This is a great way to make new friends and help your child feel a little bit more confident arriving at school on their first day. If you cant find a Facebook group, try the local park near the school – you’ll be sure to meet someone along the way. Don’t fear if you aren’t able to meet any new friends before school starts, there will be plenty of other kids in the same situation and teachers are well trained to pair up little friends!
5. Read, read, read
This is such an important one. Read. As much and as often as you can with your child. The more you read with them, the better off they’ll be. There have been plenty of studies on the benefits of reading with your children. It’s a nice way to spend some quality time together too.
6. Practice opening lunchboxes
Not just the lunchbox, but it’s contents too. Quite often kids don’t eat lunch as they couldn’t get a container open. Open those little packets with them, open sandwich containers, open yoghurt squeeze packs – open it all. Don’t forget to teach your child to pop empty containers back into the lunchbox to help reduce lost items.
7. Taking turns
This one applies to every sense of the phrase. Be it taking turns playing games, taking turns using the toilet, taking turns using pencils right down to taking turns talking and listening. It’s so important to have these skills in the playground and the classroom.
8. Healthy eating
It’s so great when your child eats well, but not all of us have children that eat what we want them to eat. Spend some time in the lead up to starting school talking about yummy foods that help our brains and give us strength. School is a great time to work with your child towards making healthy choices. Ask them to help pack their own lunchbox and give them a few healthy options to choose from, have a picnic where they get to pick which delicious and nutritious foods to eat. Encourage them to try new foods – you never know what the person next to them will have in their lunchbox, they might see something they want to try and ask you for it – it happens, even to those of us with fussy eaters!
9. Practice counting, drawing and writing
Whilst not vital, it’s great for each child to know how to write their own name and count to 20. The more you practice these skills, the more confident your child will be using them in the classroom. Have drawing competitions with your kids to see if they can copy your picture, ask them to count how many letters in their name, write their name in rainbow colours, count the pegs in the basket, draw a love heart – anything to get them drawing and writing and counting.
10. Love them
This one is easy huh. Just love them. They are about to embark on a big new adventure, it’s exciting and new and overwhelming and shiny. It’s one of the biggest milestones you will go through with your child and the year ahead is going to amaze you. Be prepared for it to fly past, so soak it up Mumma! You’ve got a pretty wonderful little human on your hands and they will do a brilliant job.
Do you have a little one starting school this year? SHARE your thoughts with us in the comments.