So the new school year is about to start. While you are busily making sure the books are labelled, the clothes still fit and the lunch box is ready, take a moment to help prepare your child for the new challenges of starting school for the year.
Here are our top seven things to do with your child to prepare for starting school this year.
- Include your child in the back to school planning. From involving them in the lunch box choice to ensuring they know where their pencils are in their pencil case. Involving your child helps them to know where to find their ‘stuff’ at school. Your back to school planning also includes talking about what their weeks will look like. Will different people pick them up some days? Will they go to before or after school care? What after school activities are they doing? Ensure that they know these things before the year starts. You can even put it on a calendar or write it on a whiteboard.
- Include conversations about school in everyday life. It is these times that your child is most likely to mention anything that may be worrying them for the next school year. Not focusing on it allows them to just casually talk about things. Respond to concerns with gentle conversation. This gives your child a space to discuss concerns without it becoming a big thing. If your child is particularly anxious see our tips on helping your child manage their anxiety.
- Use their teachers name when talking about school. You child should know their teachers name by now (most schools give that information out at the end of the year in preparation for the next school year). Using their name helps you child become more familiar with the name, and helps them remember it for day 1! You can also talk about the children in their class by name.
- Clear your calendar to ensure you get to their classroom in the first week. While it is great to be able to be there to drop your child at school it is not always possible. Try and introduce yourself to your child’s teacher in the first week. This will not be an in-depth conversation, just a meet and greet! if you really cannot get out of work, perhaps try an introductory email. Meeting their teacher starts the relationship between parent and teacher which is vital to your child’s success and happiness at school.
- Start getting your child back into routine. Holiday routines often include late nights and lazy mornings, these are great but gradually bring your child back into routine so that they are able to get up and going on the first day. Gradually work the bedtimes earlier and get up in the morning, even if it is just to have breakfast and play at home. This way when they day comes and they are starting school their body is used to getting up.
- Set up times for your children to play with children who will be in their new class. While this is not essential and can be difficult to arrange it helps your child to feel at ease when they go into class.
- Have a few more days of fun before the year begins. School can be filled with fun, but the routine does make it hard to fit in big activities. Take the chance to enjoy a few more experiences before starting school.
If this is your child’s first year at school, also look at our specific post on preparing your child to start school for the first time.