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6 ways to get your child ready for starting school

There are only a few months left before your child will start “big school” and research by PACEY has shown that 71% of parents were anxious about their child starting school.  I hope that this blog will give you some tips as to how you can make this big step worry free.

  1. Help your child to be independent with their self care.  At school children will need to go to the toilet and wash their hands independently.  As a parent you will be used to helping them with this process but they now need to do it by themselves.  Dressing children in clothes that they can undo by themselves will help.  Encourage them to use toilet paper properly (they do not need to use the whole roll!) and to flush the toilet when they have finished.  Also if they don’t make it to the toilet in time then reassure them that it is ok to have accidents.  As a teacher in a Foundation stage unit we are quite used to changing children when they are wet.  Handwashing is so important at school to help prevent your child catching any sickness bugs. Most schools will have soap dispensers but the taps will probably be different from home.  Children can spend ages trying to turn a tap on when it is one that you push.  Point out the differences when you go out to restaurants, friends’ houses etc. Taps can confuse adults too!
  2. Encourage your child to dress and undress themselves.  Your child will need to get changed for PE lessons and so it will help them if they can put their clothes on and off by themselves.  To make shoes easier to put on then use ones with Velcro straps.  This avoids your child having to ask an adult to help them tie up their laces when they come undone.  I have yet to find a 4 year old who can tie their own shoe laces.
  3. Teach them the flip trick for putting on a coat.  Chldren often find it difficult to put their own coat on and get tangled up in the sleeves.  The flip trick can help with this issue.  Put your child’s coat upside down on a table in front of them.  They then put their hands in the armholes and flip the coat over their head!  Unfortunately, there is no easy trick for putting on gloves.
  4. Get into a school routine.  As the new term approaches try and get your child into a routine of getting up and going to bed at the times you will need to do for school.  If your child still has naps then this is the time to try and phase them out.  Often the Reception class will have a quiet area where the children can go if they want some time to themselves.  Completing a whole school day can be very tiring and I have had children who fall asleep during storytime.  It is amazing though how quickly they will adapt to the new routines.
  5. Encourage your child to eat fruit.  A fruit snack is provided free every day at school and can be anything from apples, pears or bananas to sugar snaps and tomatoes.  This is often the only snack they will have before they have lunch so it is good if they like and try a variety of different fruits.  Unfortunately there is not the time to cut all of the fruit up so the teacher will be unable to remove stalks and peel and cut up apples .  Let them have the chance to eat them whole.
  6. Put name labels on everything! Jumpers, cardigans and even trousers are some of the items of clothing that children have managed to lose at school.  Whilst they are encouraged to hang jumpers on their pegs when they take them off they often still end up in a pile on the floor.  Label everything even if it is only in pen as this will save a lot of time looking for lost jumpers and spending money on buying new ones.

These tips will help your child adjust and feel comfortable in their first days at school.  Antoher important part of school readiness is introducing early maths, literacy and coordination skills.  See our collections below which provide a head start to school.

Illustration by artbycloe