3 simple tips for getting your child ready for their first year of school
Starting school is a huge milestone in any child’s life. But it can also give rise to worry and uncertainty if they don’t feel ready for the change. As a parent, navigating this time can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re unsure how to best support your little one with their transition.
Here are some simple ways to ease the back-to-school worries and help your child prepare for their first year of school.
Slowly introduce their new routine
The change in routine can be a major challenge for many children as they transition into primary school. Everything from sleeping schedules to meal times can be thrown up in the air once the school year begins. So it’s a great idea to ease your child into their new routine sooner rather than later.
If your child struggles with their bedtime routine, why not gradually put them to bed and wake them up in line with their new schedule? This will ensure they are used to the change by the time school begins.
It can also be useful to start serving breakfast, morning tea, and lunch at the same times they will be eating at school. As this will avoid low energy levels from missed meals throughout the day.
For children who show signs of separation anxiety, try spending small periods of time apart before the school year begins. This will allow your child to gradually adjust to periods of separation, making the transition to the classroom much easier.
Make room for mindfulness
Teaching your child some mindfulness and breathing exercises can also help them to manage their emotions and anxiety in the lead-up to the big day. And will prove useful in the classroom too.
The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique is a fun way to incorporate mindfulness into day-to-day activities. Ask your child to list five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. This is a great grounding technique and can be done together or as a solo exercise when they begin to feel overwhelmed.
Another technique is ‘box breathing’. This involves breathing in for four seconds, holding for four, breathing out for four, and holding for four.
Build skills to give them confidence
As with many things in life, preparation is key. Small skills like cutting, holding a pencil correctly and manipulating small objects can easily be taken for granted as adults. But they will make the world of difference in your child’s confidence levels when they finally reach the classroom.
Equally, independently opening a lunchbox, unwrapping a sandwich or opening a snack packet can help a child develop great independence and confidence in the playground. Learning to independently go to the toilet, clean themselves and wash their hands is another important set of tasks to get right before the big day.
Friendship skills shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Kindness and including others are also critical for fostering great social interactions and helping them to make lots of friends. At the same time, it’s also important to teach your child that they are ultimately their own boss and can make their own decisions. Getting that balance right is one of the most important lessons they’ll learn at school.
A child’s first few weeks of school can be difficult to navigate. But with the right support, they will quickly adjust to their new environment. Taking the time to understand what your child needs and how best you can help with the transition is crucial to starting the school year on the right foot.