Imagine being told you have to start spending your weekdays in an unfamiliar place with people you don’t know. Scary stuff, right? Well, that’s what starting school can feel like for our children!
So to help smooth their transition and ease any anxieties, we’ve listed our top 10 tips to prepare your children for school:
1. Engage in lots of different activities
Your child will be involved in lots of different activities once they start school. So they will need to learn how to transition from one task to another.
By engaging in various activities at home (reading, playing, snacking), you can practice moving from one task to another whilst stimulating their brains in preparation for school.
2. Encourage independence
Although your child will have the help and support of their teachers, they won’t receive the undivided attention they’ve previously had at home. So it’s always a good idea to encourage them to become a bit more independent before starting school. You can start with simple tasks like putting their coat on or tidying away their toys.
3. Arrange play dates
Recognising a familiar face on the first day of school can really reduce your child’s anxiety. So, try acquainting them with the other children attending their school! Sparking friendships before term starts can make the whole transition much easier.
4. Take time apart
If your child is used to spending all their time at home, the thought of starting school may be even scarier. So instead of throwing them in the deep end, try scheduling some time apart. Afternoons spent with friends or family will help them adjust to spending time away from you and their usual environment.
5. Practise putting on their school uniform
For many children, the first day of school will be the first time they wear their uniforms. But it doesn’t have to be!
Allowing your child to practise putting on their uniform will help eliminate unnecessary stress on their first day.
6. Visit their school
Taking your child to visit their school is a great way to get them excited about this new adventure.
Most schools offer official open days, but if not, you can always call up and ask to take a look around. That way, you both have the opportunity to familiarise yourselves with this exciting new environment.
7. Create a morning routine
A consistent morning routine can be a great comfort to your child – especially when they’re going through so much change. So try and ensure each morning looks the same during the run-up to starting school.
8. Tackle toilet training
Not every child will be fully toilet trained by the time school starts – and that’s okay! However, it is a helpful skill to have. So try and tackle toilet training before term starts. It will encourage your child to become more independent whilst also teaching them valuable lessons like how to wash their hands.
9. Talk about it
Change is scary – no matter how old you are. So make sure you’re talking to your child about starting school. Answering their questions can simultaneously ease their anxieties and encourage excitement!
10. Take care of yourself
Your child isn’t the only one going through a transitional period. So make sure you’re taking care of yourself too!
Try using this time to focus on other positive outlets like work or hobbies. And don’t forget to talk to other parents. They’re going through the exact same thing, so you may find comfort in their solidarity.
Embrace the next chapter
Although change is scary, it’s also the start of a brand new adventure! So try your best to embrace the change and enjoy all the new experiences school can offer you and your child.