Is your little one about to start primary school this September?
It can be an exciting time for pre-schoolers, who have outgrown the nursery environment and are about to take that next step to ‘big school.’
For parents, it can be a little daunting to see their ‘baby’ about to enter the education system. And of course, not all children look or feel as though they are ready to make the transition.
So how can you ensure that the move from nursery and home to Reception is as smooth and happy as possible?
We take a closer look.
1. Talk enthusiastically about the new school
It may sound simple but it can really help your child if you have already spent time preparing them for the transition.
So as soon as you have confirmation of which school they are due to attend, you can thread this into conversations with your child, discussing the name of the school, their teacher and their new classroom.
Reassure them that there is nothing to worry about and that it is perfectly normal to feel both excited and a little nervous about this time.
2. Try out the school run in advance
It can help to normalise the transition from nursery or home to school if you have already practised the school run.
This can get them used to the journey, long before they have to start it for real.
And wandering along the route, at your own pace, during the summer holidays is likely to be much less stressful than the daily school run dash, come September!
3. Try on the school uniform
Whilst you obviously need to be cautious about buying this too early, in case of yet another growth spurt, it can help to try on the uniform, as part of the preparation process for starting a new school.
Our top tip is to aim for shoes with good toe protection and Velcro for easy access.
And make sure your child can fasten and unfasten buttons and zips – helpful for when they are rushing to the loo or changing for PE!
4. Now wash your hands
Toilet training can a tough time for any parent and as we all know, children develop at different stages.
Make sure your child is used to washing their hands properly after using the toilet, as well as before eating. It is a habit that will greatly reduce the risk of contamination and illness.
5. Focus on the fun
Avoid comparing your child’s progress with other children about to start school.
No child needs to be able to read or write before they start reception and many will only be just learning to recognise their name in written form.
Instead, focus your child’s thoughts on the fun things they will do and learn in reception. Because much of what they learn during their first year will be achieved through play.
6. Encourage them to make friends and become more independent
A child who can already share with others and understand the concept of taking turns will inevitably find it easier to make friends.
And whilst sitting still does not come easily to most children, it is a skill that Reception will encourage, as part of ‘circle time’ in order to get children to listen and focus.
So any practise in any of these areas, as well as for example, taking coats off, blowing their own nose and listening to instructions, will stand your child in good stead for their first term at school.
7. Expect them to be tired
The first few days at school are tough for everyone, not least your little one. And a change to their routine can sometimes bring about additional anxiety and upset.
So it can help to plan ahead for this, along with the fact that they are likely to be shattered once they start full time in Reception.
Picking them up from school with a healthy snack, a big hug and perhaps something nice to look forward to after school can make all the difference.
And a regular bed time routine can be especially useful in the first few weeks of the new term.
8. Take some time for you
Once you have dropped your child off for the first day at school, expect to feel a little overwhelmed by the enormity of those nursery days being over and the reality that your child is growing up.
You may be rushing off to work yourself but it is worth taking the time to acknowledge this seismic shift.
And maybe booking yourself in for a massage or lunch with friends, to mark this landmark achievement!