Top Tips For Making Starting School Easier

We are coming up to the time of year when not only are millions of kids up and down the country looking forward to breaking up for the long summer holidays but many kids – and their parents – are beginning to get ready to start their very first term in school. It can be a confusing time – lots of excitement from both of you about growing up and moving onto the next stage of their lives, but lots of anxiety over new routines and how they will cope. Here we look at some ways you can make the transition a little easier for all of you:

Meet the teacher

Most schools have a settling in session and opportunities for both you and your child to meet their teacher. This gives you the chance to tell him or her a little more about your child – any quirks they have, or any particular interests they have. Lots of schools now offer a home-visit to allow the teacher to see the child in their own home setting, which is fantastic. It is definitely worth taking them up on this if it is offered. They are not coming to check out your home; they want to get to know your child in a more relaxed environment!

Talk about new routines

One of the biggest challenges for your child, particularly if they have not been in any childcare before is getting used to routines.  Not knowing if and where they need to go to the toilet, for example, can be a massive point of worry and stress for a child, so talk to them about it. Look at how they might sit on the carpet at school and how waiting their turn to speak or putting their hand up is needed.

Shop early, but not too early!

When you go to buy their school uniform, don’t go too early – you can pretty much guarantee that they will have a growth spurt and nothing will fit by the time it comes to September! However, don’t leave it too late either – it will be a rush to get everything, and things get sold out very quickly. Some schools insist on jumpers or cardigans with logos, so make sure that you don’t need to pre-order those. T-shirts, skirts, and trousers can be picked up relatively cheaply in supermarkets.  You’ll want a few spares as well – they will come home filthy most days!

Label, label, label

If there is one thing that every primary school teacher will tell you, it is the importance of labelling everything – imagine trying to work out which sweatshirt belongs to which child when you have thirty of them, all identical! Name labels are not expensive to buy and will save you an awful lot of stress and money throughout the year!

Teach them to get dressed by themselves

Children will do P.E at least once a week. For the first few weeks, while they are settling in, they may not be expected to get changed, but certainly, by the end of the year, they will be changing into their P.E kit – usually t-shirt, shorts, and pumps. Teach them which way around their clothes go, which shoe goes on which foot, how to do up buttons and zips and pull their jumpers over their heads. Try to avoid any clothes with fiddly fastenings – press studs and poppers are usually the easiest for younger children.

Teach them to recognize their own names

One of the most important things you can do with your child in terms of academic activities is to make sure they can recognise their own names, so they will know where their coat and bag pegs are and can recognise their individual personal items. Write their name out and type it out, then stick those up for them to see or let them play with them. Ask them to find their name amongst lots of other words. Make sure however you do it, it is fun and enjoyable.

Teach them the importance of personal hygiene

Explain the importance of hand washing and teach them how to do it properly after using the toilet and before eating. In the first year of school, there are lots of new bugs and illnesses that go around and children pick these up so quickly from each other due to close contact and poor hygiene, which is inevitable to some degree but this really helps them to avoid them as much as possible.

Help them to make new friends

Encourage them to talk to other children by making eye contact and smiling, asking what their names are and introducing themselves. Most of the children’s worries in the first week are that they don’t have any friends yet, and we need to give them the skills to get to know each other independently. Most kids are fantastic at playing with new people and making new friends anyway, but some are a little shy to start and may need some extra encouragement and help.

Talk to adults

Children can get upset over what we see as trivial things – misplacing a coat, being bumped into, not being able to find a pencil, etc. Encourage them to go to a teacher or another grown up with any concerns or issues that they have and not to be worried about speaking up about anything.

Early nights

Your child will be exhausted for the first few weeks, so it is essential that they have plenty of sleep. Implement earlier bedtimes a few weeks before they start at school and get them up at the time they would need to when they start school. This helps their bodies and their brain become acclimatized to it and start getting them into the right routine.

Above all, don’t worry about it. There will be days where things don’t quite go to plan, and there will more than likely be tears from one or both of you, but within a few weeks, your child will be skipping into school with a smile on their face.

 

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