Starting School Top Tips
It is that wonderful time of year as summer draws to a close and a new school year starts. For children who are starting school for the first time this can be especially exciting but also a little daunting. Actually for parents it can cause the same mixture of emotions. I well remember a little tear after leaving our eldest at school for the first time.
- Practice makes perfect
This goes for the journey to school and for getting dressed. It can be really tempting to help young ones get dressed for school but it is a really important skill for them to master. As well as getting dressed by themselves (including buttons!) encourage them to fold their clothes tidily. You may just be slightly more likely for them to bring their own clothes home but it is also an important lesson for them to learn about personal responsibility for their belongings.
- Spread love not germs
Encourage your child to wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Talk to them about why this is important to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, Autumn often spells the return of frequent stomach upsets in young children, the best way to prevent this is good hand washing. Also especially girls may not be the best at bottom wiping, it’s quite common for us to see young girls who have some irritation after a few weeks of less than perfect bottom wiping at school.
- Sharing is caring
Encourage your child to share how they are feeling about their school, friends and teachers. It is really important to establish the idea that they can share with you any worries or concerns they have. When I ask my daughter what she did at school I don’t usually get a very informative response, “Did you have French today?” “Maybe.” Try asking some specifics like, “Did anyone do anything nice for you today?” “What the best/worst part of your day today?” “Did anyone make you laugh today?” It is also good to remind them that their teacher should also be a person of trust that they can share problems with whilst they are at school.
- Sleep is King
It is amazing just how tiring starting school can be for children. Even children who may have been used to a long day in daycare the school environment is so stimulating and they are learning so much it really uses up a lot of energy. If your child is not a good sleeper it is well worth trying again to get them into good habits. Also for the first term I would recommend not signing up for too many after school activities so they don’t get too overtired. Playdates can be a good way for them to build relationships with classmates and help them feel more secure at school.
It is wonderful how great children are at adapting and by the end of their first year you will be amazed at how much they have grown in every way.
Dr. Lucy Hooper