It’s an exciting time when your little one starts school isn’t it? But it’s also one of trepidation. So, to help other parents, I’ve put together this short guide to help make starting school a little less daunting for you and your child:
- Encourage your child to talk about school and draw their school (like our little girl’s pre-school did – see the below work of art which she did back in the heady days before she started Reception!) Initially I thought they were sets of traffic lights because our daughter’s school was near to traffic lights (before we settled her into a new school due to a house move) but when I asked her, I was told they were ‘tables in the classroom’…!)
- Use positive language within your child’s earshot when talking to anyone about school. If they hear ‘negative’ words such as ‘scared’ or ‘worried’, they will soon pick on this and any excitement may easily be turned into anxiety.
- Make use of free pre-school or nursery sessions. At the time of writing, the government fund free hours. Walk into any reception class and you’re likely to see that it’s like a pre-school setting. The only noticeable difference at our daughter’s school was the uniform.
- Talking of which, get the uniform sorted out as soon as you can. Then wash it to make it smell like your own washing. A very good reason for doing this is because some pre-schools have ‘uniform days’ for the leavers before they break up for summer holidays. Even if they don’t have a ‘uniform day’, still get the uniform to give your child a chance to try it and get used to changing themselves. (They’ll need to be able to change for P.E.) Get them to ‘show it off’ to friends and family. You should consider buying the next size up to allow for growth between now and the school term. If you do all of this early on, you’re likely to have more stock to choose from (there will likely be offers on and the stock will deplete!) and that first day of school will be so much easier for everyone!…
- Make use of ‘new starter’ welcome days/sessions and ‘New Parent’s Evening’ sessions. If your child’s school invites you in for a welcome session, go! Book time off work, arrange childcare for younger siblings if necessary. Make this a time for your child. It really will help with those first days for you and your child. You will have peace of mind and be able to visualise the classroom, school hall, toilets etc. Your child will have less (if any) reservations about stepping foot into their school on the first day – and beyond.
- If you feel your child has needs that the school should be aware of, make an appointment with the Head Teacher and/or include a note with the registration paperwork. For example, your child may have had issues with toilet training/be not long toilet trained. Tell the school in a way that is official but discreet. Just not in front of your child or other parents.
- Finally… Relax! Enjoy this next milestone. If you’re relaxed and excited about it, your child is much more likely to be as well!
Go forth and conquer !
How did you/are you making starting school easier for you and your child? I’d love to know! Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere