7 Top Tips For Starting School
Starting school is a huge transition, for both you and your child.
Preparedness is found to be the key to ensuring success, with studies illustrating the benefits of students preparedness for school life. When this is a negative or difficult experience, students are found to be at a higher risk of learning difficulties throughout their schooling years and more likely not to graduate (Kern & Friedman, 2008).
From a positive standpoint, studies have shown that students who experience a positive beginning to school are found to be more relaxed, develop stronger relationships, improved learning and hold a stronger sense of belonging.
How can you ensure your family is ready for school? Here are seven tips to best prepare you.
1. Start the Conversation
First and foremost our conversations around starting school are an important step for painting the picture of what school will look like. Ask questions about how they're feeling and combat any fears they may have. Normalize their feelings and encourage positive thinking about all of the things they can look forward to at school.
2. Cover off the Practicalities
Explaining what school will be like on a normal day will help to better mentally prepare them for their new experience. What time will they start and finish school? Where is it located and what does it look like? Visit the school to introduce you and your child to their new learning environment.
Then you can make your way through the starting school checklist. It's great to involve your child where possible. This will include purchasing a uniform, backpack, lunchbox and all of the other practical necessities for school.
3. Set a New Routine
Get the foundations for the new school routine in place well before the first day. Set a bedtime and waking time. Establish what the school week will look like, and set your expectations for what your child will do before and after school on a given week. For example, homework will be completed before dinner. Or setting the rule for no technology until their homework is done.
4. Encourage Independence
The lead up to school is a great time to start handing over more responsibilities and tasks for your child. Like getting ready, dressed and packing their bag in the morning, or helping out around the house, cleaning up after themselves and making their beds. This newfound independence will help build their self-confidence and ability to take on more tasks when they're at school.
5. Read Together
Sharing books with your kids is a great way not only to expose them to reading and teach them different things, but also demonstrating your interest in literature will encourage theirs. As James Baldwin said, "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."
6. Boost their Social Confidence
Playdates are a great way to build your child's social confidence. They will learn to make new friends and start experiencing play with others, which will better prepare them for interacting with the new kids at school.
Observe your child's social interactions with peers and teach them any social skills that should be improved before starting school, such as using their pleases and thank yous, and sharing.
7. Slow Down While Adjusting
During this transition, try to pull back on extracurricular activities, for your child and yourself. Allow yourselves the time to slow down and adjust. This is a big change in both your, and your child's, life. No doubt you will be thinking about how you can spend your extra time, but try not to take on too much to start with.
It's an extremely exciting time for any family. We wish you and your family the happiest transition into school life!