Starting school is a big deal. Your child has spent many of their early years at home surrounded by the love and support of their parents, siblings and extended family. They may have gone to childcare so are used to being away from you but school brings a whole other level of newness (if that’s a word?).
Here are 5 tips for getting your child ready to start school!
Involve your child in conversations about starting school. Do this in the weeks leading up to the first day. Be positive, tell them they are starting school and there are lots of other children who are starting too. Let them know that everyone will be in the same position. Try some pretend play in the summer to give them a glimpse of what school might be like. If you know who their teacher is, ensure you mention them regularly and let your child know if they do have any problems they can speak to their teacher.
This can be difficult for children with additional needs (we will cover this in another blog) but it’s a good idea to practise things your child may need before going to school. Practise things like getting dressed, hanging up your coat and bag and using a knife and fork. Most schools will expect a child to go in and hang their own coat and bag, get changed for PE and use a knife and fork at lunchtime. Please don’t worry if you’re child can’t do this speak to the school and ask for some help and support.
Prepare everything the night before! Lay out those uniforms, pack the bags, make the lunches. You don’t know how the first day will go so being prepared is key. Get up a little earlier than you plan and set off earlier too. If you get to school a little earlier it gives you the opportunity to meet other parents and your children to meet other kids before they go in.
Your child will be feeling a mix of emotions on their first day. Tell them they look smart in their uniform and how proud you are of them. Positivity breeds positivity and your child can sense your emotions. Which leads me on to my final tip …
You are going to be an emotional wreck! You’re going to have to keep this hidden and put on your best smiley happy face. Once your child has gone into school you’ll probably feel a who rush of emotions, so keep a packet of tissues in your pocket for that journey home.
The first day at school is an emotional experience. You’ll feel proud, scared, happy and even free … you won’t know what to do with yourself! In the blink of an eye, it will be half term and you’ll be settled into a routine. If you or your child have any problems it is important to raise these with the school. You won’t be the first or the last and the sooner you start to get help and support if your child needs it then better it is for your child.
We hope that these 5 tips for getting your child ready to start school have been helpful. If you need any more help why not consider joining our free Sensory Support Group!