Are you getting your child ready for school? Don’t miss this guest post from daddy blogger and primary school teacher, Daddy Daydream with essential tips on getting your child – and yourself – ready for the Big Day!
Starting school is an incredibly exciting yet undeniably daunting time for parents. As a primary school teacher myself I get to see first hand how the first few days of school play out for the children, parents and staff every September. I know that after birth, crawling, wobbly first steps and first words there is no bigger stage in a child’s development than starting school. Everyone wants those first few days at school to go as well as possible. To achieve the most successful start to school for your children, there’s a lot that you can do to get your little ones, and yourself, ready for the big next step.
Talk about it
The easiest way to get everyone ready for starting school is to discuss it as a family. Make sure that you and your child know what your child’s class teacher will be called – children feel a lot more secure with unknowns when they already know who they will be with. Some schools may have photos of staff on their website, consider exploring the school’s website together and encourage your child to learn some names of key members of staff; their class teacher, the teaching assistant in their class and the head teacher is a great place to start.
Following any initial trips that may have already taken place into school, your child and you will hopefully know some of the fantastic things that they can look forward to playing with in their future classroom.
Read the paperwork
Schools will undoubtedly have sent you a bundle of information for you to sift through. Make sure that you do take the time to read all of this and make a note of any important information such as upcoming dates of events (harvest festival, parents evenings etc.). And, very importantly, make sure that you have a clear understanding of when school is due to start, both the date school reopens after the summer and what hours your child will be doing when they start back.
Every year we have a few children turn up at school for a teacher education day and have an awkward conversation with a deeply embarrassed parent who has failed to read their letters correctly.
When starting in a reception class it is very normal for children to do half days for a period of time at the start of the school year. Every school has a different policy about how long children do half days, or if they do them at all. Again, make sure you’ve done your reading so that you know exactly what hours your child will be doing those first few weeks.
Unfortunately getting ready to start at school can be costly. Top of your list should be the uniform, PE kit and book bag. These are the basics but you may have extra wishes from the school such as a swimming kit etc.
To ensure that you purchase everything that you need, yet again, check the paperwork from the school. It may also help if you know someone already with a child at school to find out where the best place to get uniform from.
Read lots with your child
The best way to get your child ready for school is to make sure that you read together every single day. This will help them to learn a particular key skill that you may not consider they’ll need for school; sitting still for a prolonged period of time.
Sharing a story is a great way of getting children ready for sitting and listening, a skill that they will be needing a lot from now on. Join a local library and let them choose books that they are interested in reading. This may include books that they just want to sit and look at, this is perfectly acceptable. A joy of books is important to develop so don’t agonise over books that you deem suitable for them at this age.
Lots of parents want to give their children the very best start at school and it’s important to be ready to support your child and the school by working with them at home, but it’s important to keep a balance and remember that school is school and home is home,
Don’t talk about it too much
The last thing to bear in mind when preparing for starting school is to try not to discuss it too much as this could build up anxiety in your child. Ensure that conversations about school come up naturally. It’s all too easy to be consumed with thoughts about starting school, both for you and your child.
Starting school is a huge step for children, but the start of a great adventure for them. Enjoy the rest of the summer and best of luck with that first day!
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COMPETITION TIME! WIN GREAT BOOKS FOR SCHOOL!
This competition has now closed. Thanks to everyone for their tips, they were great to read! The winners have now been chosen and notified. Congratulations to: Amy Tidd, @LTabstar and Hannah Venables!