Getting Children Ready to Start School

You’ve got your child’s primary school place sorted, all the forms are filled, and now it’s time to get your child ready. When getting your child ready to start ‘big school’, academic preparation is less important than developing social skills and emotional competence – your child will have years of academic lessons ahead of them. If you follow a routine and help make your child feel more comfortable about starting school, when the time comes for them to put on their uniform, the process will be easier for everyone. There are a few tips and tricks you can follow to help get your children ready for school.

Encourage Independence

When children start in Reception, they are expected to know the basics of looking after themselves. Before the term begins, encourage your child to dress themselves, fastening zips and buttons, and practicing taking their coats off and on. Also, start to teach your children how to correctly eat with a knife, fork and spoon, and enforce table manners and the etiquette of eating with others as they will be doing during lunchtime at school.

Ensuring your child can go to the toilet themselves is another important skill for your child to have. Teach them about the toilets they should use, and practicalities such as locking toilet doors. All infants are bound to have accidents during their first months at school but help them feel more confident about using the bathroom on their own, creating one less thing for them to feel nervous about.

Develop Speaking and Listening Skills

As much as concentration skills are taught and developed over the first years of education, it is important to get your children used to speaking and listening and having those vital communication skills. Encourage discussions at home, perhaps over dinner, letting everyone speak their turn without being interrupted. Practice such as this will help get your child ready to actively listen to their teacher and their peers, a transferable skill that is vital throughout their lives.

Enable Socialising Spaces

If your child has been to pre-school or nursery, they will already have begun to develop their socialising skills, having previously formed friendships in their early years. Continue encouraging them to do so, by visiting playgroups and other social activities. If your child hasn’t been to a nursery, don’t worry as there are lots of playgroups around that can get your child used to being with people of their own age.

Along with this, it is important to encourage your child to play nicely, by sharing and listening to each other. If your child has siblings encourage sharing between them, helping them get prepared for the sharing and group environment of primary school.

Teach Them to Recognise their Name

One of the first things children are taught in school is to read and write their own name. Don’t worry if your child can’t write it before they start school, but it is helpful if they have an understanding of the word and can spell it out loud – it might prevent jumpers getting lost in a locker room!

Stay Positive

Help remove your child’s fear of the unknown by talking about school in a positive way. Children may soon pick up on your attitude and become exited and possibly less apprehensive about starting something new. With this, encourage positive behaviour by rewarding your child when they do something they should do in school, such as taking turns or following rules. Through positive reinforcement, children can pick up good habits that will put them on the right path for succeeding in school.

Establish a Routine

Start your school day routines a couple of weeks before school starts to get your children ready for the transition. Start getting your child used to a sleeping pattern and getting up and dressed early in the morning. Establishing a routine prior to term starting will get everyone used to the timings of the day, whilst also ensuring your child will be getting enough sleep so they can be at their most productive during school hours.

It is also important to help your children understand that school will be something they go to every week, Monday – Friday. All schools start their new students on different timetables, some schools run half-days for the first term, while others have children with summer birthdays starting a few weeks later. Whatever your school does, getting your child used to a routine and being away from you for the day will make starting at school a whole lot easier.

Starting school is a daunting and nerve-wracking time for both children (and parents!), but if you help get your child ready to take this milestone next step, they are sure to fall into a school routine happily.
For more information on getting your children ready to start school, feel free to call us on 0114 258 2283 or email .