First Day of School – How to Prepare Your Child
The first day at school is a big step in any child’s life. It’s equally as important for parents as your child is entering a new chapter. This chapter is a huge step however. You were able to be quite hands on before school but once they start, you have to step back a little and rely on their independence a little bit more.
Providing your child with some basic skills in the months leading up to starting school will ensure they are equipped with the changes that are to come. These skills aren’t only academic though. There are many every day skills they need to have for the moments you aren’t around to help them. Plus, if your child has the skills listed below, the easier it is for their teachers too. The more confident your child is in the every day aspects of starting school, the smoother those first weeks will be. I’ve put together some of my top tips for preparing your child for their first day at school.
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Your child needs to know how to get dressed and undressed by themselves. They will need to change at least once a week for physical education. Make sure your child has clothes that are relatively easy to get into and out of. As you know, you won’t be there to help them. So being able to do this themselves will only help to build their confidence in the classroom.
Have a good think about the clothing they will wear and how easy it will be for them. It’s easy to overlook this when you’re with them every time they get dressed. This won’t be the case once they’re at school.
Will your child be wearing tights? If so, practice putting these on in the weeks leading up to school as they can be very fiddly! Buttons holes on shirts can also be very fiddly and sometimes the holes are a bit stiff. You can help to loosen these by simply doing the button up a few times. You can even stretch the hole very slightly if necessary. Make sure your child knows the locations of any hidden zips and buttons. Then have them practice getting dressed until they can easily to do this by themselves.
Recognising Their Name
This blog post isn’t about the academics of school readiness but recognising their name before their first day at school will help them a lot. They will be able to identify their tray. They will easily identify their name in their clothes or shoes. This will help if any clothes, shoes or other items get mixed up with another child’s – as long as you’ve labelled all of their belongings! If you haven’t, I strongly recommend doing this. There are many name labels out there such as these.
Going to the Bathroom Themselves
Can they use the toilet, wipe themselves properly and wash their hands with soap? In a pre-school setting, staff might help with this but at school, your child is on their own.
It’s essential that they can not only use the toilet when they need to wee, but that they can also use it for a number two. They also need to know how to wipe correctly so they are clean and comfortable for the rest of the day.
Do they know how to wash their hands correctly once they’ve used the toilet? There are so many germs and bugs in school settings, if you can avoid your child picking up everything, then it’s a bonus!
Looking After Their Belongings
This tip will simply save you having to buy more school items than you need to! It’s inevitable that there will be a few lost items along the way however. Teach your child that it’s important to look after their clothes and other school belongings so they don’t get lost or damaged so often.
Can your child follow basic instructions? Is it time to sit on the carpet, or get something from their tray? Giving you child some responsibilities at home can help with this. You can boost their confidence in this area by delegating a task such as setting the table for dinner each day. Games are another great way to to encourage them gaining an understanding of following new rules. This game in particular is aimed at promoting listening skills.
Opening Lunch Packaging
Whilst packed lunch packaging can seem obvious to adults, they can sometimes be stressful for little kids. Make sure they know how to open the lunch box and all the little packaging and containers inside before their first day at school. It’s common for young children to go to school with packaging that they have no idea how to open. It might be easier to have a set of mini containers within their lunch box that you put all their food in so they don’t have to worry about packaging. That way, they will be good to go, once they’ve figured out the containers.
Asking for Help
Above all, your child will likely come across some challenges in the first few weeks but make sure they know that they can always ask for help. This seems really obvious but children can be a little afraid of asking for something they need help with, especially if no one else is asking. Having a conversation about this to install the confidence they need usually helps. Providing your child with the necessary skills above will help not only your child on their first day at school but will also help you to see how ready their are for this next chapter!