Starting school this September?
Starting school for the first time or even starting a new school can be a cause of anxiety in parents, let alone the kids.
We’ve put together a few common concerns and some tips on what to do to help you all through the next few weeks.
Are they ready?
With some kids being born right at the end of the summer they can sometimes seem so little when they start school.
Give them time at home to practice the things you think they will find difficult such as getting changed for PE and hanging up their coat and bag.
School lunch may need to be eaten more quickly than lunch at home and there will no doubt be plenty of chatting going on, so try using a timer to get them used munching in a certain amount of time. You can even make this into a game and carry it on on weekends to get them used to a set lunchtime more quickly.
All kids love to eat with their fingers (plenty of adults do too) and some children will find using a knife and fork unfamiliar but you can prepare them by investing in their own set to use at home. We love these ones from our friends at Nana’s Manners. They are designed to aid the development of fine motor skills, so not only will they find them easier to use it will also support them with learning to write by helping with that elusive 3-fingered grip.
If they are taking packed lunches make a game of trying them out at home first. Do they have time to eat everything you have packed? Do they need more or less than you have planned? Do they even like cheese & marmite sandwiches?
Try to find velcro shoes if they haven’t mastered laces yet - they are quicker anyway.
Make sure they know where the toilet is and that it’s ok to ask to go in the middle of a lesson.
Get them into the habit at home of flushing the toilet and washing their hands themselves, if you’ve always done it for them. Make it fun with our foam-tastic Scrub Up hand and face foam so it’s something to look forward to.
What can I expect in the first week?
Your kids might be exhausted so try not to make plans outside of school for a bit while your child settles in.
Don’t be surprised if they just want to come home and crash on the sofa either!
Plenty of sleep and good food will keep their energy levels up.
They might feel overwhelmed. Talk positively about school, as well as listening to and acknowledging any anxious feelings or fears they have.
Will my child make friends?
Leaving friends behind at nursery can feel daunting but they are all in the same boat in a brand new environment. The opportunity to make a group of new friends can be exciting too.
Try out some ‘making friends’ role play at home. Practice sharing and asking if others want to play too.
Remember that friendships take time to develop so don’t panic if they don’t make a ‘best friend’ in the first week of school.
What about the school run?
Testing enough to make the most patient of parents lose their cool. You are not alone if you find school run daunting. Preparation is the key here.
Use the next few days to try to practice some school-time routines.
Wake up on time, get dressed and fed as if you were leaving for school. This will help you figure out how much time your kids need in the morning to get school ready. Some are speedy, some LOVE to dawdle.
Get the school bag packed the night before-it’s never too early to get them into the habit of packing their own stuff.
Walk or drive your route to school a few times in preparation so they know where they are going and it feels familiar on the first day.
Don’t forget to talk about how much fun they will have at school and all the new things they will learn. You can even drag in older siblings to talk about their favourite things (with a thorough briefing to keep quiet about the bits they are not such big fans of).
Talk about any visits or settling in days they had and ask them to remember the things they enjoyed most
Give your child time and space to raise their own concerns and ask any questions too.
We wish all your kids the best of luck as they start out on a new and exciting adventure. As always if you have any tips to add to ours or want to share how your kids have enjoyed their first few days, we’d love to hear from you
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