Preparing your Child for a New School Year
The summer holidays can seem to last forever, but all too soon, September will roll around and another school year will begin. It can take a while for children to adjust to the new routine after a long summer, especially if they’re getting used to a different school. Here are some steps that parents can take to help children get ready for the new school year ahead.
Talk about their worries
Some children adjust to change more easily than others. If your child is worried about what’s in store in the new school year, let them talk about what’s on their mind. Some worries can easily be put to rest, while others can seem less scary once you’ve talked about them. Many children have concerns about school life that may seem minor to a parent, such as where the nearest toilets are to their classroom, or what they’ll have for lunch. Openly discussing these beforehand will help to put their mind at ease.
Familiarise them with the changes
It’s always easier to do something different if you’ve had the chance to get used to the idea first. Make sure your child has visited their new classroom and met their new teacher, so they can visualise what’s going to happen when they go back. Concentrate on the positives – perhaps there’s a new school club or extracurricular activity they can take part in, now that they’re a year older.
Socialise with school friends
If your child already has friends from school, organise some dates for them to get together over the summer. If they’re starting somewhere new, see if you can arrange a meet-up with some future classmates, so that there’s at least one familiar face when they arrive in the classroom. Chatting to other parents is also a great opportunity to discuss any worries or concerns you may have yourself about the forthcoming school year.
What if my child is starting school?
Moving up to a new class can be hard enough, but starting school for the first time can be a daunting prospect. Here are some tips to prepare your child (and yourself!)
- Don’t worry about their reading or number skills – the school will take care of that! Instead, focus on practical skills. Make sure they can get dressed, go to the toilet, wash their hands and use cutlery by themselves. Also, get them used to sharing and playing with others.
- Towards the end of the holidays, take them shopping. The ritual of buying a new uniform and choosing a swimming towel, rucksack and water bottle can help to build excitement about starting school.
- Play ‘schools’ with them. Let them role play being a teacher and a pupil, exploring the idea of learning with others in a classroom.
- Find out all you need to know about the school and the admissions process, so you’re confident in the new routine. Going to an open morning will help you get familiar with your child’s new surroundings and ask any questions you may have.
- ·Be positive, and they’ll follow your lead. Your child’s first day at school is a big milestone, but let them know they’re ready for it and everything will be okay.