Updated: Jun 25, 2021
For some children, it will be their first-ever day of primary school this September, and many may have not been able to meet teachers or have a visit to the school due to the current pandemic. They may not have had the opportunity to have what we have come to know as a fairly 'normal' transition into primary school. This does not mean, however, that they will not be able to settle into their school quickly and there is a lot we can do at home to help get them 'school ready.'
What can we do to help prepare our children for starting primary school? There are things we can practice and work on with them to help them get physically ready for 'big' school and there are also some things we can do to support their emotional readiness for the changes to come in September. Read on for some fun practical tips and tricks to help get little ones ready and also some helpful pointers to support them emotionally prepare.
PRACTICAL TIPS AND TRICKS
Putting on socks!
A great way to make practicing putting on socks a bit fun is to get them to try with elastic hair bands, how many can they take on and off? The action and skill needed is the same and helps them practice in a fun way!
Putting on a coat!
Put it on like batman! Pop the hood on first like batman, this automatically means the arms in the correct positions for them to slip each arm in, then pop the hood off. A simple but easy way for them to remember!
Wiping their bottom!
To practice reaching those hard to reach places, have a little fun by popping some small stickers all over their shorts, then let them reach around to see how many stickers they can rescue!
Putting on shoes!
Cutting a sticker in half and placing half on each shoe helps them visually see which shoe goes on which foot.
Velcro is also a must for school shoes. Laces are very tricky and buckles can prove difficult too for little fingers so buying velcro shoes will really help them independently be able to get their shoes on and off.
Washing their hands!
Hygiene is a real priority in schools now and they will do lots of handwashing practice with the children. If you draw a little picture on the palm of each of their hands and ask them to make sure they are so good at washing their hands at school that when you pick them up you would love to see the pictures have disappeared from each palm.
Correct pencil grip!
Teaching them to correctly hold a pencil will be a really helpful skill for them to learn. Placing the pencil in front of them, ask them to turn it so the tip of the pencil is facing them, then ask them to pinch the pencil and then flip it over. This helps ensure the pencil grip is correct. Another great way to ensure they don't grip the pencil with their full palm is to give them broken crayons to use. It is tricky to hold a broken small crayon incorrectly!
Using utensils correctly!
Learning this skill can be fun if you use some brightly coloured playdough or kinetic sand to help them practice.
HELPING THEM FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT SCHOOL
Talk to them about their school and answer any questions they have as best you can. Use positive language when talking about school but listen to and respond to their concerns as best you can.
Late nights, a lack of a routine, lie-ins have all crept in during lockdown for many families, mine included, but don't leave reestablishing a routine until the day before school starts. Start reestablishing a routine a few weeks before their first day. Start doing a bath and story before bed and start getting them into bed a little earlier. Make sure when they are up in the morning they have breakfast. Starting these routines before school will be one less thing they need to get used to when school does start.
Get the school uniform out and ready the night before, it saves the mad dash to find the missing item in the morning.
Use a calendar or diary to write all school dates and information in.
Sort the packed lunch the night before and pop it in the fridge.
Pop a pair of socks and spare pants at the bottom of their sports bag. Schools always have spares if they have an accident but nice for children to know they have their own spares just in case.
Pop an emergency £1 coin in their school bag. No matter how organised you are, there will always be a cake sale, year 6 charity event, lunchtime activity or something you miss the memo for so having a spare £1 coin will always come in handy at some point!
If you know other parents of children starting at the same school, club your uniform order together to save money on delivery costs.
Schools often have second-hand uniform sales or school's PTA social media pages often run one so it's worth checking out.
Uniform on last rule! Breakfast and teeth before uniform saves spillages on a clean uniform.
FINAL THINGS TO REMEMBER
Every school and every child is different. Different schools will choose to do things differently and that depends on a huge range of factors that each school needs to take into consideration, covid and non-covid related. So try not comparing what your child's school is doing with another school. Every school is different. Also, every child is different, so try not to compare what your child can and can not do with other children. Every child is unique, special, and amazing, and you are your childs biggest champion, comfort, and friend so believe in your child and don't compare them to others.
Your child starting school will be a time that is filled with pride, happiness, excitement, worry, concern, anxiety, sadness and it is important to remember you are not alone with all of those feelings. Speak to other parents/carers if you need some support, it will be likely they will be feeling the same way and schools are always there for support too if needed.