Starting school can bring lots of excitement, anticipation and sometimes anxiety for children. It's almost time to gear up again and get ready for the new school year, so here are our top tips for a great start to school!
We all know how much children love routine. Together with your child, plan and discuss how morning routines need to work – breakfast, pack lunches, getting dressed, cleaning teeth etc.
Evening routines should be the same, un-pack bags, afternoon tea, after school activities, homework, dinner, bathing, play/quiet time all need to be scheduled into afternoons.
It's helpful for schedules to be displayed for all the family to see, on the fridge and in your child’s, bedroom are great places. Often kids will respond well to rewards, so starting new routines can work better with an incentive for completing the tasks. Maybe create a sticker chart, your child can add a sticker each time they have completed the task. A sticker chart is a great visual way for kids to stay on track and keep their routine.
Uniform, jumpers, hats, bags and school supplies are expensive and so often the 'lost property box' is full by the second week of term. To avoid the frustration of losing school items, labelling them is the key!
Many companies create back to school label packs that can be ordered online and delivered to your door in only a few days.
Labelling everything will help your child's items find their way back if they go astray, making it easier for the teacher and your child.
Get organised early
Being organised is the key to starting school off right. If you start at the beginning of the year, it will become much easier for you. Being aware of notes, library day, sports day, excursions and school special events mean a lot to your child. They don't want to be the child who 'forgot'.
Weekly planners are an excellent way to keep track of those special days as well as popping them on your phone’s calendar.
Keeping a magnetic clip on the fridge and a folder for notes in their bag is a great idea. Join your schools Facebook page and keep an eye out for the newsletter so you can keep up to date with what’s happening.
Connect with other parents, it's great to know your child's friends' parents, and you’ll be able to catch up if you miss anything.
Lunches can be the "thorn in our side". Apply the KIS method (Keep It Simple). Often 'eating time' runs out so quickly, and nobody wants to sit and keep eating when they could be playing! A simple sandwich, drink and a snack such as fruit are perfect for that busy child who just wants to play. Involving your child in making their lunch can help as well and helps build their independence. There are many ideas online for fussy eaters, but make sure that your child can open any packets or containers and practice before they start.
Homework starts early, even in the first year, but it should not be a stressful task ('but it’s like pulling hen’s teeth' I can hear you say).
Setting aside an allocated amount of time for homework and following its completion comes playtime, TV or something your child sees as fun, will often assist in getting the job done.
Generally, homework should revise concepts that your child has already learnt in class. If you are getting frustrated with a homework task, then imagine how your child is feeling! Talk to their teacher about this.
Learning to read takes practise, and there is plenty of evidence to show that children who read with their parents are stronger readers in the later years. Reading together can also be an excellent time for you to connect after the long day at school. Visit our blog for some tips on how to support your child’s reading at home.
If you think your child might need extra support – trust your instinct, early intervention is key to avoiding problems in later years. Begin Bright programmes can help support children's learning right through primary school, whether they need extra help to get back on track or more of a challenge.
Open communication with your child's teacher about them starting school is vital. During the first week back at school, introduce yourself to the teacher and make them aware of anything they need to know for your child’s learning. This could be simple things like my child wears glasses and needs to be seated towards the front of the room, or if your child has a medical condition or allergy.
Talking to your child about their day and showing that you are interested will often assist in any issues being brought to your attention early.
If the communication between parent, child and teacher is open and supportive, this will ensure a happy year of schooling ahead.
Reassure children that they are safe at school but remind children of the importance of staying healthy. Getting lots of sleep, eating healthy foods, making sure they wash their hands or use sanitiser, wear a face mask (if necessary) and following their school's guidelines will help to keep them healthy. Make sure they know they can talk to you or their teacher about any concerns or worries that they have.
Remember the best teacher is YOU! A parent can easily influence their child's attitude towards anything. A positive parental outlook will often result in a positive and confident child, who is excited about starting school as they have your support every step of the way – leading to happy, smart and confident school years ahead and a lifelong love of learning.