Monday 13 August 2018

Helping Kids Get Ready For Starting School.

It doesn't seem that long ago I was getting James ready for his very first day at school. I'm not sure who was more nervous (I'm pretty sure it was me!) but he actually took it all in his stride and absolutely loved it!

Starting school can seem like such a big jump especially for those parents doing it for the first time with their children. Our children just seem so small to be starting at school and as parents we will always see them as our babies. The idea of handing them off to a school for them to be there the best part of the day 5 days a week can be a scary experience for parents and kids.

So as a mummy who has already been through this experience, come out the other side and doing it again this September I wanted to share some of my tips for helping both parents and kids get prepared for that big first day at school. I also asked some others bloggers to share their top tips too!

- Do take up any opportunity to visit the school! Once your child's place has been confirmed and you have accepted their place at the school you will usually get some information from your chosen school. For us this included "play days" which were the opportunity for your children to go into the school on set dates/times and meet the teachers/other children and get familiar with the school and classroom. All schools will of course do this differently and some may offer "open days" instead. I would definitely advise to go along to whatever they offer as it will help you all get used to the school and the teachers and it won't seem so daunting on that big first day if you are familiar with the surroundings and staff.

- Julie from Pondering Parenthood gives us a great tip from a teachers perspective -  As a teacher, I beg you, put their name in EVERYTHING! Even shoes. (Especially shoes!) If it has a name in it, your chance of getting it back increases from about 50% to 90%. It makes life so much easier when you pick up the inevitable pile of sweatshirts at the end of the day and you can just pop them back on pegs/in trays.

- Meet up with other mums and children who will be starting at your child's new school at the same time. I found that after the school places were announced a few Facebook groups popped up for new starters at my sons school. It was a collection of parents all with children starting in reception at the same time. It was a fantastic way to get familiar with the other parents and children who would be at the school gates. It also was a great place to try and arrange meet ups, even just a trip to the park so that the children could meet up too. Arranging meet ups with the parents and kids was so helpful as it meant children recognised other children when they head into school on that first, making it much less daunting too if there are familiar faces. 

- Laura from Edinburgh with kids has a great tip for the weeks leading up the that big first day - Go to fun places in the weeks leading up to school that require some element of being quiet and paying attention - think a living history event or maybe a show. I think if children haven't been to nursery the concept of having to be quiet and concentrating can be a big shock!

- Get your children involved when picking out things for school. I found taking my little ones along to pick out their uniform got them excited about trying it on and wearing it. I also took them along to pick out their own lunch boxes, water bottles and backpack etc. It meant they were excited to use them and had something they loved to take along to school with them. 

- Veronica from My Parenting Journey says get prepared! - Do preparations for school the night before so you can focus on getting your child ready for school not just physically but mentally.

- My final tip is to get yourself a good calendar and pin/magnet board. There are so many term dates, in-service days, school trips, parties, non uniform days and information/letters you will get and need to remember once your child starts school. Having somewhere to write and store all the information that you can easily read and access every day can be a life saver! At the start of the school year most school websites will have the term dates and in-service dates available to view so fill these in straight away! Then add other dates and information as and when you get it. I found having my calendar next to the door handy as it meant I could glance as it before we left for school each morning and make sure there was nothing I needed to remember. Nobody wants to be that mum that sends their child into school in their uniform because your forgot world book day or rushing around last minute to sort childcare when an in-service day springs up on you.

It doesn't get easier the second time round, you still feel just as nervous as the first child whether its your 2nd, 3rd or 6th time doing it. There will most definitely be tears from many of the parents at the gate so bring tissues! Oh and you will spend all day worried, nervous and counting down the minutes until pcik up time, when your child will come skipping out of school full of smiles and you will wonder what you were so worried about all along.

Good luck for all this with children starting a starting school for the first time, moving to a new school or starting a secondary/junior school this September.


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