By Sara (Owner of the online store- From Baby to Kids)
Starting school is an exciting time for both parents and children, but also a chance for children to become more independent and learn how to do new things. Preparation in the school holidays can help the transition for school become smoother and will help children feel more confident about being away from home and willing to embrace school enthusiastically.
As a teacher these are my 10 tips to help parents and children feel ready for school-
1. Talk positive:
Talk positive about school, the new teacher and what they will do at school. This will ease their nerves and make them feel more aware of what they might do at school. Also explain to them that you will be there to pick them up and that school is a safe place to be. Talking to your child about school rules, class expectations like putting your hand up, where they are allowed to play and what the school bell means will help your child adjust to the school routine quicker.
2. Independent on toilet:
Dress your child in their uniform and check that they are able to go to the toilet independently as often children will struggle with new zippers or buttons and will wet their pants. Keep practising until they feel confident they can do it by themselves. Pack a spare change of clothes or underwear so if they do have an accident, they have something to change into. Also get them to wear their new school shoes in at home so they feel comfortable for school time.
3. Children need to practise opening and closing their lunch box:
In the school holidays have lunch together using the lunch box and watch to see if they can open it by themselves. This is also a good opportunity to explain to your child what foods should be eaten at what time for example at recess they can have their yoghurt or fruit and at lunchtime they can have their sandwich and biscuit.
4. Recognise their belongings:
Young children are often unable to recognise their name so place stickers or a key ring on their school bag and lunch box to help them know it is theirs.
Hopefully your child had the chance to do transition with their teacher before they went on holidays. This can help your child if they have met the teacher and know where their classroom is. Sometimes this isn’t possible so on the first day of school it is a good idea to point out where the toilet is and show them how to get to it from their classroom.
6. Minimise extra activities:
Children will be very tired and emotional during their first few weeks. Try to make after school time quiet and cancel any extra curricular activities. Children can then come home and relax and recharge for the next day. Some children may also get so overtired that they become argumentative and may not want to help get themselves dressed or clean up their toys etc.
7. Get to know the teacher:
Building a relationship with the class teacher is important as it makes it easier for the teacher to contact you if there is a problem and also if your child sees that you have a positive relationship with the teacher this reinforces to them that the teacher is a person to trust and that school is a safe place.
8. Eat right:
Children who have a nutritious breakfast before they arrive at school are able to concentrate longer and are less restless. Having food in their tummy means they can focus on what is being taught rather than what they want to eat.
9. Label everything:
All items that are sent to school needs to be labelled. This includes all parts of the uniform, hat, shoes, lunch box, drink bottle, pencils etc, books, school bag and anything that gets sent to school like morning talk items.
10. Start routine early:
In the week before school goes back, it is a good idea to start getting into a routine where the children are going to bed at a reasonable time and then in the morning you can practise getting dressed, having breakfast, packing bags etc so that the children know what to expect on the first day. Children who arrive at school in a rush often feel disorganised and unsettled and take a while to feel ready for the day.
Being organised for the start of school helps prepare you and also the children. When they feel prepared it helps settle their nerves and makes them feel excited as they often have new things like a hat or pencils to use. Starting school is an exciting transition where the children become more independent and as parents and teachers we need to encourage this and help them to safe and secure at school.
Good luck with your child and I hope their start to school is a positive experience for all.
Sara is a Primary School teacher who has taught from Prep to Year Seven. She has completed her Masters of Education and now is enjoying being a mum to her two gorgeous children. Sara is the owner of the online store www.frombabytokids.com.au which stocks lunchboxes, drink bottles, wooden toys, capsule covers, organic sleeping bags and useful baby items. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/frombabytokids
What are your tips for smoothing the transition? Comment below.