Starting “Big School” for the first time is a big event for you and your child.
Here are some suggestions to help the process be as stress-free as possible – we need a bit of a break this year!
1: Get your school uniform early, and let them wear it – and practice getting dressed independently
Sure, it seems like a special treat to save up for that first day of school, but if they can practice getting dressed and undressed – pulling up socks, jumpers on and off, doing buttons back up, they will be so much more confident when they are on their own at school.
It is an awesome confidence booster for your child to be able to dress and undress themselves whilst at school, particularly jumpers and shoelaces – imagine the swelling of pride they will have if they can tie their own shoelaces, even if only on sports day.
If your daughter wears a dress to school, consider sHEROes girls school undies keep your daughter covered, comfortable and confident even when she is wearing a dress.
2: Order labels for EVERYTHING!
The school uniform you would think – they won’t ever take this off at school – you will be surprised the reasons that come up, and sometimes they will get changed at school! – I like TinyMe.com.au (or a trusty permanent pen)
Even label the insides of shoes!
3: Getting enough sleep
All children need lots of sleep for their brain to be ready to learn (hopefully you can get them to around 10 to 12 hours). They will be SUPER TIRED the first few weeks – maybe even the first two terms. It is an enormous adjustment for our tiny humans, not only physically but socially and mentally draining for them – so much for them to take in those first few weeks. Try to get into the habit if you aren’t already of a strict as you can manage bedtime – however that works in your family.
4: Healthy eating
Healthy lunches and snacks help with concentration and learning. Also simple opening and closing o lunchboxes for little fingers will make them feel capable. Let them practice using their lunch box, or checkout what the canteen has on offer and how that might arrive. A couple of muesli bars in their school bag for emergency are a good idea in case lunch drops in the dirt. It does happen!
5: Regular Playgrounds and Movement
Part of the brain is used which can help kids concentrate – triple benefit! Endorphin’s, calms excess energy AND helps them concentrate! Let them burn up as much energy and start early in encouraging daily exercise.
6: Going to the bathroom and sanitising
To ensure your child is confident using the bathroom at school make sure they know the drill – remember to wipe, flush and wash their hands every time. Again, being able to fix their own clothing here is an enormous confidence booster. I recommend a spare pair of underwear (and socks) in their schoolbag in case of accidents.
A small bottle of their own sanitiser is a good reminder – the school and the teachers will be reminding them to keep their hands clean and will supply – but it gives the kids a bit of independence to have their own? Sometimes the bathrooms run out of soap too. It is gross but does happen – just takes a kid to go in and mess around with the dispenser.
My daughter gets very dry lips, so I send her with a lip balm too. And most weeks, I put it through the wash in the pocket of her school dress, so one that won’t leak is great ? I find the little screw-top jars the hardiest.
7: Learning to make friends and pretend play
Imaginative play is a big part of school. Roleplay stimulates your child’s imagination, enhances social development, and encourages friendship through cooperation, listening and turn-taking. This can vary from chasing dragons to Mum’s and Dad’s – often a funny one to overhear ?
Friendship problems are rare in infants’ school, tending to start later as kids mature. One less this to freak out about hopefully!
8: Reading and writing practice
Knowing how to confidently write and read their own name is a great skill for your child to have mastered before they start school. Additionally – how to open a book, pointing to the title of the story, the letters, words and pictures so they feel at ease and know what to expect in the classroom. Most kids are well experienced with this, but it doesn’t hurt to let them practice another role play game here where they pretend to be the teacher and read the book for you ?
9: Classroom crafts
Make sure your child has lots of chances to play with the things she will be using in school, like scissors, pencils and paint. This way your child will feel sure and capable using them at school.
10: Look after yourself
It’s a big experience for you too! Your baby is growing up and for some of us this will be the first time you have spent so much time independently for years! Let yourself enjoy all the feels, even the sad ones, and if you can, take a few days to adjust yourself. No reaction is right or wrong. You’ll find your tribe amongst the other parents too, just as for the kids, it might take a little while to adjust, and find the right fit, but you will work out your path as you go, and settle into this new stage.
Oh, and in the afternoons, be prepared for picking up wiped out, exhausted, non-responsive kids from school who can’t remember a single thing they did that day. And the meltdowns that come with that. ?
Best Wishes to you and your gorgeous child on the exciting transition to big school!!!!