By Laura Kiln
When children start school, they have a lot to get used to. They will be in a new setting, with more children and new rules and routines. Some children will manage this easily while others may need more help from parents and teachers.
There are things parents can do to help children feel confident and optimistic about starting school.
If you were able to attend the Transition to School programme, remind your child what they enjoyed on those visits.
I understand, due to Covid some schools didn’t get the chance for these. If so, check out information they may have sent you or look on their website for extra information.
Parents can also help children to build confidence and optimism by encouraging a habit of positive thinking.
Asking children to tell you about the good things that happen each day helps develop this healthy habit.
- Involve your child in preparing for school, e.g. shopping for their uniform, school bag and lunch box. Make sure they can manage their lunch box and school bag, teachers can’t open everyone’s lunch box, cut up apples, open yogurt pots etc, etc x 20 children!
- Plan for healthy lunches, snacks, and water to drink, there are lots of ideas on the internet of healthy lunch box ideas.
- Help your child master putting their shoes on themselves, and to use the toilet on their own.
- At least 2 weeks before school starts, establish the bedtime and morning routine that they have when they start school. Start moving their bedtime earlier if, they have been late to bed over the holidays.
Working with your school
It is important for parents and teachers to work together and communicate well.
I firmly believe that successful education is the partnership between School and home.
It can help if you:
- Read all the school notices and reply as soon as possible, check that school bag!
- Get involved in school activities
- Let the teacher know if there is something happening at home that may be affecting your child, or if they have health issues.
However, it’s not a good idea to just think you can talk to the teacher at the end of the day.
You need to make an appointment as teachers have bus duties, late room duties, and their own children to pick up from school.
Remember, if you are worried, give the teacher some notice and ask to see him or her. They will welcome the chance to chat, but like all of us, like to be prepared.
Children do best at school when their parents and teachers work together to support them.
The first few weeks
- They may be tired at the end of the day. Don’t plan too many after–school activities; make sure they have time to rest and for free play.
- They may be ‘starving’ after school. Take a healthy snack when you pick them up. Try giving them an early dinner as they may be too tired to eat later
- They may want to tell you all about their day as soon as they see you. Be available to listen. Some children may want to relax first.
- Encourage them to talk about good things that happen at school
- Make reading with them part of your daily routine. Bedtime stories are a great way to end the day.
Some children wet their underwear in the early days of school, maybe forgetting to use the toilet in break time. Pack spare underwear in the bottom of their bag, making sure your child knows it is there, and a plastic bag for the wet underwear.
If your child is stressed
Children can show stress by being tearful, not wanting to go to school, having tummy aches or headaches.
Help by encouraging them to talk about what’s worrying them, letting them know that you are confident they can manage. Asking what they think would help them.
If you show you are anxious, worried, about the start of School, you child will pick up those vibes!
If you are concerned about your child starting school, call Laura’s Place 02 4385 5587 to make an appointment. Laura’s Place – 449 Tumbi Rd, Wamberal NSW 2260 www.laurasplace.com.au
Laura Kiln PgDip (CBT) Child and Adolescence, Bsc (Hons), CMHN In 2006 Laura Kiln moved to the Central Coast from the UK where she worked in London at the Institute of Psychiatry and the National Specialist Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Laura has thirty years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families and is recognised internationally as an expert in the field of parenting. Having four children herself, she understands the demands and dramas of raising a family! Laura established Laura’s Place to help parents and children. She uses a variety of techniques, including behavioural therapy, workshops, groups and individual sessions, in a comfortable, relaxed environment where kids and/or their parents can discuss problems away from the stigma that can be attached to seeking help. Laura has a passionate belief that children’s difficult behaviour can be managed best by their parents, empowered by using specialist strategies. Laura believes that all children’s behaviour is like a language – they are trying to tell us “something”.
For more information or to make an appointment, call Laura’s Place 02 4385 5587 www.laurasplace.com.au