Compiled by parents, teachers and professional organisations, helping you prepare for what is a milestone in both their life and yours:
In the preceding weeks
- Talk to your child about school so they know what to expect. Include stories from your school days and read them story books about school. Ensure everything you say is positive.
- Help your child develop the skills they need to be independent e.g. dressing themselves, taking themselves to the toilet
- Involve your child in the preparations e.g. take them to buy their uniform
- Get your child’s eyes tested. Problems with eyesight can seriously affect a child’s learning and development. Eye tests are free on the NHS for children. (see an article in issue 7 page 24)
- Label absolutely everything. All clothes (including socks, tights and shoes), bags, coat, lunch box etc. You’ll be surprised how many children have identical items!
- Ensure your child knows other children that will be in their class. It will make settling in so much easier. Arrange a play day (this really helped my son)
- Don’t register your child for too many extracurricular classes initially. Wait and see how they settle in – a full day at school followed by a class in the evening may be too much for them.
- The night before talk your child through what will happen the next day to help prepare them, this can even be practiced and make it fun
- Make sure everything they need to wear or take is ready and waiting
- Ensure your child has an early night. They’ve got a big day ahead in the morning!
On the day
- Make sure you’re all up and about in plenty of time. If you’re rushing to get ready it will make the morning more stressful for all
- Take a photo of your child in their school uniform. You’ll all enjoy looking back at the photos in years to come!
- Try not to cry in front of your child. Seeing you upset will upset them and make them feel more anxious.
- If your child is clingy and won’t leave you, tell them about the dull activities you have planned for the day! Teachers are well trained at this
- Give your child lots of attention when they come home and even plan a treat for them
The first few weeks
- Have patience. Your child’s behaviour may be different as they settle in and adapt.
- Allow them time to unwind when they get home and spend some quality time with them each day, even if it’s just watching TV.
- Show an interest in what they’ve done that day and encourage them to talk to you.
- Try and establish a routine for morning and after school to make the time less stressful.
- Check their school bag every night for any letters from school, homework or even party invitations!
- Always read letters from school straight away and add any important dates or things to remember to your diary. As the term progresses you’ll find there’s more and more to remember and do!
- Try to get to know other Mums, chat to them at the school gates. This will make the whole experience more pleasurable all round!