How to make starting school easier

With my son and his friends starting school this year, I am now starting to fully understanding the excitement and anxiety of beginning Prep, from both a student and parent’s perspective. The thought of wearing a ‘big boy/girl’ uniform, the prospect of meeting new friends and being taught how to read, write and count is very exciting. However, the anticipation can be difficult. Where are the toilets? How will they manage being part of the youngest group at the school? How will he/she cope with such long days? Here are a few tips that can help your child settle into school.

1. Build independence. Help your child to be able to manage the toilet, their lunchbox and clothes by themselves. Although Prep teachers understand that little children may need help, it is important to remember that your child is part of a class. Building independence also builds confidence – An important factor when starting school.

2. Talk to your child about what might happen during the day, this way your child will know a bit more about what to expect. For example: I will drop you off in your class room. You will do some activities like drawing and reading stories, then you will have something to eat and play outside for a little bit. At the end of the day I will pick you up from your classroom. You don’t need to find me. I will come and get you.

3. Become familiar with the school. Find out where the library is, where the toilets are and where the Preps usually play. Talk to your child’s teacher. Children take the lead from their parents. If you are comfortable and familiar with the school, they will feel better about the situation too.

4. Talk to your child about their day. Ask open ended questions like, “what was the best thing that happened today?” or “what did you play when you went outside?”. With these types of questions children will more likely give you a meaningful answer.

5. Make sure your child has plenty of sleep and is eating properly. We are far more resilient when we aren’t tired and are well fed. Once home from school, allow them some quite or wind down time. For some children, they may need to have an afternoon nap.

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