Starting ‘big’ school is an exciting time for you and your child, but it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming too. Here are some tips to help make the transition to big school a little easier for both you and your child!
Having a positive attitude to school, teachers and learning is one of the best things you can do to help your child feel comfortable about starting school. If you are feeling a little anxious, try not to let your child know – they will likely feel more anxious about it too. Talk to your child about the great things they will do at school, like making new friends, learning new things and playing in the playground. Let your child know that you are proud that they are growing up and going to big school.
Keep a routine
The first few weeks of school are likely to be exhausting for your child, so try to stick to a regular morning and evening routine – keep the same mealtimes, playtime and bedtime. This will help your child to settle in to school faster, as well as ensuring they are well rested and have the energy to learn.
Keep doing the same things
Did you read to your child at bedtime every night before they started school? Great, keep doing it! Did you play counting games when you went for a walk? Keep doing that too! Continuing these familiar activities keeps some consistency in their changing lives, and supports your child’s transition into school. It also shows your child that you want to keep helping them learn, even though they have started school now.
Most kids are keen to talk about school, so it’s easy to show your interest in what they are doing. Ask about different areas – what they are learning, their teachers, other kids, special activities, what’s coming up. Don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t seem to know very much about things that you think are important, such as when a particular event is happening – it takes a long time to develop planning and organisation skills! If the school talk doesn’t flow, see our articles How was school today? Good. and School talk – digging deeper.
Encourage independence and responsibility
Starting school is a good time for your child to take more responsibility and increase their independence. School-related tasks are an easy starting point as there are no patterns to break, so look for things that could be your child’s responsibility. Here are a few ideas:
- packing their food and water bottle into their schoolbag
- putting their things in the right place when they arrive at the classroom each morning – eg hat, lunchbox, reading bag
- unpacking their schoolbag when they get home
- giving you any school notes
- making sure their reading homework gets signed off (they’ll probably enjoy bossing you around!).