As a teacher, I have experienced all types of children starting their first day of school, some eager to leave their parents at the door whilst others cling on to their parent’s hands, not wanting to let go. I’ve compiled my favourite tips and strategies to help you and your child have a smooth transition into school.
New School, new surroundings
Over the course of the summer holidays, any opportunity you have, make sure you take a look at your child’s new school. Tell them the school name and the name of their teacher and (if any) the friends that will be attending. Make it a natural part of the conversation, praising them when they’ve remembered their school name or teacher. Depending on how anxious your child is, I would advise on showing them the entrance to where they’ll be picked up and collected and by whom.
A good way of preparing children for the school morning routine is to dress them in their school uniform beforehand. Get them to look at themselves in the mirror, praise how smart they look and explain when they’ll be putting it on i.e. after breakfast. Getting them dressed in their PE kit will also enable them to become confident with dressing and undressing independently.
If you have a child that is anxious about starting school, there are some wonderful books that work as a great starter for discussion about life at school. Three of my favourites are: Stuff To Know When You Start School, Going To School and Topsy and Tim Start School.
An anxious Child
I have seen a lot of positive feedback on social media about the Interactive Worry Plaque, a great device which enables children to place their hand on the plaque, then visually see the their worries turn from ‘red’ to ‘green’. A while ago I read this article about The Hug Button, a Mum’s genius, yet simple idea to alleviate her son’s anxiety about starting school. Both are child centred approaches to supporting an anxious child.
Don’t forget the uniform!
I know it might sound obvious but it’s easy to do when you’re busy working or trying to keep the children entertained over the holidays. The weeks suddenly seem to pass and before you know it, it’s the last week and there’s nothing left except every size that you don’t want! Be quick, especially if you want to order that all important school logo jumper or cardigan from the uniform shop.
Label, label, label!!
Children will inevitably lose some form of clothing during their time at school, it’s easy to get things mixed up when everyone’s wearing the same clothes as you! If your child’s item of clothing is labelled (including their PE Kit) it’s more likely to be found. I use the good, old faithful black biro pen! This White Fabric Pen works a treat for PE clothing such as black pumps and tracksuit bottoms. To make the process of labelling quicker you could always try iron on or sticker labels.
Here to help
Lastly but not least, as a teacher who has worked in Early Years for over 10 years, I can say we truly want your child to have to best start to their school life.
If you have any questions about your child, whether it be about friendship groups, the progress they’re making, playground incidents and how much they’re eating at lunchtimes, my advice would be to ask at home time. Generally, this is a better time when teachers are available for a quick chat. Alternatively, you could arrange a time to speak by requesting a time in person or over the phone.
Wishing you and your little one all the very best for their first day of school.
Loretta Clarke, True Love Keepsakes - visit her shop here.
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