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A Great Start to Starting School
Your child starting school is a big deal. They are embarking on a long journey of formal learning at a new place, with new kids, day in day out. It’s exciting and a little scary too for everyone involved. Not least the teacher who has 30 sets of parents and 30 kids to deal with!
So what can we do to help our kids get off to a great start?
Some of the key ways we can support our children when starting school are to help them be prepared and positive and give them the time and TLC they need.
There are lots of things we can do to help our children prepare for this new challenge. Getting them used to getting up at the time they will have to rise for school will establish a good routine. It can be a shock to their system if they aren’t used to it!
Trying on school uniforms in advance and getting comfy in their school shoes means that this will also feel familiar on the day. Practising dressing and undressing independently for PE is also helpful. Where possible meeting a few new kids from their class, learning to say their teachers name and learning to do up their own coats will all help take the edge of their nerves.
Talking positively about school, not just to your kids, but around your kids will also help them feel really good about it.
For example if you are not too sure about their new teacher, or you didn’t like school yourself, do keep this away from little ears. It’s amazing what kids can pick up, even when you think they aren’t listening and how much it can worry them.
Your child may have a fair few anxieties during their first few weeks at school. Whilst it is important to listen to these and allay their fears, it is also important to encourage them to tell you the positives. Rather than asking the very open ‘how was today?’ try asking them instead to tell you ‘the BEST thing that happened today.’ This will help them focus in on what’s going well.
Some children seem to adapt to change smoothly and quickly, for others the process can be a lot bumpier and take a bit longer. Go with your child’s pace – they are after all an individual with a huge new challenge ahead. Try not to compare their settling in with others.
If they need lots of cuddles and reassurance at the start please don’t worry. Give it all some time. Speak to their teacher if you are concerned and let them know if you have tears at home and anxieties that aren’t passing. Teachers are equally keen to want your child to settle in and you communicating with them is really useful.
What your child needs most from you when starting school is your time and your patience so do try and free up extra time during this period, and take lots of deep breaths. A whole new journey is just beginning – for all of you.