Getting your child ready emotionally to start 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 friends. It's exciting and a little scary too for everyone involved. So, what can we do to help your 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, giving them the time and emotional support 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, learning to say their teachers name and learning to do up their own coats will all take the edge off their nerves.
Talking positively about school not just to your child, but around them too, will help them feel good about it. If you didn't like school yourself, do keep this away from little ears. It's amazing what kids can pick up and how much it can worry them, even when you don't think they're listening.
Your child may have some anxieties during their first 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 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 to others.
If they need lots of cuddles and reassurance at the start, please don't worry. Give it some time. Speak to their teacher if you are concerned and let them know it 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. Take a lot of deep breaths, a whole new journey is just beginning - for all of you.
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