Preparing your little one for school
Your little one’s first day at school can be very exciting, but it can also be daunting, for you and for them!
It's normal for children to be tearful and clingy to begin with, and it might be that they are feeling a little anxious about starting somewhere new. We have created some tips to help you prepare them and support them emotionally when that time rolls around.
Visit the school
Going to a new place with people you don’t know can be an overwhelming process. If you are able to, arrange a visit to the school and bring your little one along. It is also a great opportunity for your little one to meet their class teacher and establish a positive relationship with them.
Familiarisation with the environment is a positive way to help them settle in to a place that they will be able to recognise when they arrive.
Talk about going to school
Prepare them for all of the new and exciting opportunities that await them by discussing clubs and activities with them and encouraging them to explore what is available. If you have an older child who also attends school, ask them to talk to your little one about how exciting school can be - they might already be doing this without you knowing!
Reading books about going to school is a great way to introduce children to what to expect:
'Starting School' by Janet and Allan Ahlberg is a popular story. From first-day nerves to finding your peg, this reassuring tale for children and parents is full of fun and adventure.
‘Topsy and Tim Start School’ by Jean Adamson and Belinda Worsley reassuringly shares what to expect in the classroom, playground, and even the canteen! It is a fun, engaging, and colourful book to look at and read through with your child.
Group of young children building
Some schools can make home visits if you believe your child might benefit from it. Your child's teacher will visit your home and meet with you to get to know your family and will do so in a comfortable environment for your child.
Practice the morning routine
It is likely that the morning routine will be a little different. Why not practise getting up early, getting into their uniform, eating breakfast, and leaving the house?
If possible, get together with other parents. You may want to chat about your own feelings and anxieties with other parents who may be feeling the same.
Why not arrange a playdate with a child in your child's class? This is a fantastic way for your child to meet someone who will be known to them, learn and develop social skills, and possibly start a friendship!
Practicing social skills such as turn-taking, inviting others to join in their play, and displaying empathy will also benefit them when they start school.
If your child struggles to socialise with others, showing them images of the school and the class teacher(s) with whom they will be spending a lot of time will help them become familiar with new faces.
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