STARTING SCHOOL

STARTING SCHOOL

TIPS:

STARTING SCHOOL FOR THE FIRST TIME

TIPS:

  • Take some trips to the school.  Your child will then become familiar with the area and the route.  This will desensitise him /her and allow the route to become familiar.
  • Starting school is “huge” for all.  So celebrate it.  Involve others too e.g. grand parents, god parents etc.
  • Organise some social outings /play dates with kids who are also starting school so that your child sees familiar faces on their first day.
  • On the first day, don’t hang around more than you need.  Sometimes this makes it more difficult to say goodbye.  Once your child seems settled, take the opportunity for a reassuring “goodbye…see you later” [be positively reassuring].
  • Visit the school grounds.  Get familiar with the tuck shop /canteen, toilets, class rooms, play ground etc.  This will then make the first day seem not as bad because they have been there before and been there during a calm state.
  • Remind your child where you will be exactly at pick up time.
  • Talk positively about school the days leading up to it (and months).
  • When school starts, make sure your child gets lots of rest [limit activities]

We all want our kids to love school.  Your attitude as a parent is an important influence.  So be a role model, remember you are your Childs first teacher.  Be respectful of all your child’s teachers throughout their schooling, as this will teach your child to respect teachers too.  Its not just about school.  Let your child develop interests surrounding school too.  But be careful not to overload them and burn them out.  Sometimes its the child who wants to do everything, but you need to say no to some things and explain why.

Homework routine is important.  A clear designated (uncluttered) area and preferably before play (so they aren’t too tired later).  Routines need to begin early.  It doesn’t have to be on their own desk, it can be the kitchen table. See what works for you and your family.  If somethings not working, rather than fighting and getting frustrated, evaluate it and make a change.

A note on friendships.  Quality friends are much more important than quantity.  We all know this, don’t be afraid that your child will not be popular.  Meaningful friendships go a long way and save a lot of heart ache.  

Keep lots of communications active.  Best done during activity time like playing or walking outside.  Kids don’t often like the confronting conversations.

And lastly watch your mood.  Moods can be contagious.

Hope this was helpful

Good luck, I too remember when my kids first started school.

Amanda Dounis

Positive Thinking Clinic

1/7 Magdalene Terrace, Wolli Creek, 2205

0458850850

positivethinkingclinic.com.au

As a parent of 2 children that have started school over the past 5 years & an early childhood Educator I think the biggest tip I can give to parents is not to wait until the week your child starts school to make changes to your child’s’ life’…and I say life because there is so many areas of their life that many parents expect their child to just switch to accommodate this new experience of going to school.

Here is a personal encounter of one parent’s experience:

Think about these things now, months before your child starts school, so you have ample time to not only prepare them for this transition to school but also yourself as a parent. Consider your child’s sleeping times, they need to be at school at a certain time every day, and school times are not flexible like childcare or preschool so get good bed time sleep habits, and waking them up at a similar time daily. Fuel their bodies with a good breakfast, but one that when they start school you will have time to make then. Many parents try to get their children to make food changes just as they start school, and then they worry that their child is not eating. Start good eating habits now. Make lunch boxes for the weekend now so you can see which items last all day not being in fridge, which items your child likes to eat and trial different types of foods so you have a variety to offer. 

Find out early what your schools lunch box policy is, and start to incorporate meals they are allowed to eat. It is not fair to your child who only eats peanut butter or nutella if the school has a nut free policy to then be expected to eat other fillings in sandwiches if they have only ever eaten the above. Start introducing them to other fillings now. 

Get them used to eating whole fruits like apples or pears as cutting these up and leaving in the lunch boxes, they can go soggy and brown, and we all know that children won’t eat soggy or brown food. And remember to allow your children to be independent in the home, get them to collect the stuff for their lunch boxes, fill up their water bottles, pack their own bags and their own hats, get them doing this now, before school starts so when they eventually start school they are independent little people that can care for their own belongings and can help around the house.

Sometimes we as parents try our hardest to give our  children everything, put them in more than one extracurricular activities because we fear they might miss out or we want to help them experience everything. Extracurricular activities are fine, but remember when they start school they do get tired by the end of the day, so adding in new extracurricular activities when school starts can not only make them feel exhausted, but also you too as a parent. 

Its hard trying to fit in exhausted child, home work, preparing dinner, getting dinner into the family, bath and family time all by a good bed time. You yourself might start to feel like your day is a constant rush, so take a step back and look what is good for you all. My biggest advice is not to compare yourself to other parents when your child starts school. There may be days when you have it all together, breakfast on time, clean uniforms, the kids remember their hats and you get to school 10 min before the bell, and there might be days were your rushing out the door, kids in a crinkled school uniform, lunch box left on the table, shoelaces un tied and getting to kiss and ride drop off just as the bell goes to get them through the gate and then you finally realise the forgotten lunch, so you drive back home to pick it up. Those days might happen, maybe even more than once……but it’s ok….at the end of the day everyone is safe and were they are supposed to be, just remember tomorrow will be a new day. Get ready for this exciting new adventure, with lots of learning along the way.

Following is what one centre does for their kids to help prepare for school:

As the preschool educators of our service we find when preparing children for school to not overwhelm them with rote learning methods, rather we educate the children through play and intentional teaching. We find that the best way to prepare the children for school is through having many discussions regarding the transition process that they will be going through. We also teach the children to further their sense of independence as we encourage them to do things on their own and learn basic classroom rules i.e. two lines and holding hands, belongings in our bags, marking our role in the morning, expressing our needs verbally.

We encourage parents to be involved throughout this process and take their child to visit as many schools for an orientation or tour visit. We also contribute to this by taking the children for excursions to our local school. The children become involved in a classroom play with the kinder children as they begin to understand the concept of what big school is like. To prepare the children we also encourage them to bring in a lunch box for 2 weeks where they are challenged to open zip lock bags, foil and cling wrapped sandwiches, containers, juice poppers and any other packaged snacks they bring to care.

We continue to focus on each child’s individual learning abilities and work closely with the families in order to prepare their children for school.

From a local child care centre: Rainbow Cottage Sans Souci

As a early childhood educator attending meetings with our local school prior to our children attending kindergarten the following year the teachers and assistant principle have made a very clear point into not rushing the child to go to school prior to being 5 years old or very close too.  I strongly agree with this personally and professionally as the children don’t seem to be ready socially and emotionally for this stage in their life.  Although each child should be considered individually.

I have had some families who their child turns 5 in March/April question themselves thinking should they or shouldn’t they send their child to school throughout the year.  Based on what they see in their child they too are uncertain and wanting to make the right decision.  The families who have decided to keep their child back for another year were then quite confident to say yes he/she is definitely ready now and I am glad I kept them back that extra year.  Starting school then becomes a much easier transition for the child

Many families I have spoken to after there child has completed their first term at school say that actually wished they had kept their child back another year not that their child is unhappy more that they are taking a little more time in grasping the school routine therefore needing some external assistance to catch up.

The following is from a parent and early child teacher 

That first day of school!

Make sure they can use their school bag, lunch box and drink bottle.

Do lots of activities in the lead-up to starting school, so they get used to the idea that they won’t be with you all day, every day.

Encourage your child to go to the toilet at school, and explain that they may have a little accident if they try to ‘hold it in’.  

Pack a spare set of underpants and socks in your child’s schoolbag in case there is an accident, which is not uncommon among school starters.

Take advantage of any resources the school offers, including orientation.

Try to hide any anxiety you might have – be positive and enthusiastic.

Find out about healthy eating policies the school might have. 

Check whether there are any food restrictions. Some schools have a nut-free policy, for example.

Find out if there’s a uniform shop or second-hand uniform shop.

If your school doesn’t have a uniform, find out what the dress code is.

Check what day your child has sport, and if they have to wear different clothing or shoes.

Label your child’s belongings so they are easier to identify and harder to lose. If every child has the same school bag at your school, add a ribbon or a keychain or something else to help your Prep find their bag.

Investigate how correspondence works – if the school has a newsletter, blog or social media page for communication. 

Ensure your child is getting a good night’s sleep – it’s best if they have a solid bedtime routine in place before starting Prep.

A good, healthy diet at home is very important.

These tips I found so rewarding to help my daughter start her adventure into starting the next chapter in her life. 

Erin Zervos

(Super Mum)

I hope this blog was helpful

Amanda Dounis

Psychotherapist

Positive Thinking Clinic

1/7 Magdalene Terrace

Wolli Creek, 2205

0458 850 850

amanda@positivethinkingclinic.com.au

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