Starting school can be a challenging time for some kids and a breeze for others. Each child is entirely individual but there are some things you can do to help your little one get ready for school that will also help you. We are not saying there won’t be tears at the school gate on drop off day, but at least you will both be as prepared as you can for this next big step in your child’s life…
- Wind back the clock
Summer holidays mean long balmy nights and playing outside until the sun starts to set. Start to wind this back by reinforcing a scaling bedtime and making an effort to revert to a routine so your little one will feel settled, rested and into the groove ready for school.
- Start eating a packed lunch
To get your little one used to having a set lunch each day it’s a great idea to start giving their lunch in their school lunchbox at home the week before school starts.
Getting them involved in shopping for their lunchbox and food to go in it is a good way to encourage them to eat what’s inside. Talk to them about what they would like in their lunch and start with things they are familiar with. Once they have got the hang of it introduce one new thing at a time to try.
There is so much lunchbox inspiration available on Instagram and Pinterest. We are not trying to encourage you to compete with picture perfect lunches but taking just one idea can help. We love lunch ideas from Dad George at School lunch Box as they are quick and effective.
- Trial containers
Whole Kids are huge fans of bento style lunchboxes with compartments so that your little one can have everything in one box yet have variety. Take a look around and see what’s available and talk to other Mums about what works for them. The main thing for practicality is that the box is leak proof, smash proof and returnable. There are great companies out there that can personalise your lunchbox so when it gets lost (because it will), it’s more likely to come back to you. Also consider an insulated bag that will help protect the box and keep everything cool.
- Label everything!
Like we mentioned with the lunchbox – you have to expect that everything will get lost. Label everything from school uniform to pencil case, to sunscreen. If you haven’t already looked there is a whole world of personalisation labels to explore! Gone are the days of texter scribbled labels (although that still works) now you can choose form beautiful designs and even better you can iron on or peel and seal and you are done.
- Make sure they are familiar with recognising their own name
It’s great to have a stylish name label but you need to make sure your little one is comfortable with recognising their own name. Spend some time with them and help them to spell out and recognise the letters that make up their name. Help them to pick their name from others that are similarly spelt or are made up of common letters.
Failing this make sure they are familiar with the colours and patterns on their stuff. If they have new bags etc use them in the days before school so they can become more familiar.
- Take the uniform for a test drive (zips, buttons, shoes, pockets)
Get your child to try on their uniform a few times before starting school so they can feel confident to independently get dressed and put their own things away.
Practice together how buttons, zips and ties work. Think about the things they will do throughout the day that might be challenging for them like getting a pencil out of a pencil case, putting their hat on the right way around, closing their lunchbox and putting it in their bag and putting their shoes back on.
- Gauge how they are feeling and allow them time to start to think about their new experience
Without pressure, talk to your new starter about what they expect the experience to be like and how they are feeling about different aspects of school. Start this process early and give your child plenty of time to process.
Try sharing your own experience of school or recount what it was like when an older brother or sister started kindy, day care or school. Tell them what your day was like how your introduced yourself to make friends and how your teachers were. Feeling that they are not alone and that they are armed with some tips to break the ice with their peers is important.
- Being toilet independent
Make sure the independent toilet test has been passed and your child is comfortable and confident to go to the toilet completely on their own. Be sure to use positive reinforcement at home to encourage good hygiene and toilet etiquette. Most importantly tell them what they need to do if they do need the toilet during class.
- Do the school walk
Do the school walk, bike or drive at least once and take a look round the school once you get there so everything is a little more familiar. Point out the class room, where recess will be and where you will go in on the first day.
- Give them a special keyring for their backpack as a memento
Buy them a special treat that you can give them on their first day to mark the occasion and make them feel special. Bag keying’s are super popular right now and help in the bag finding department too!
Good luck to you both!