As a parent, it is exciting to see your little one go to school for the first time, but it can also be daunting they set off for adventure in promising new territory. As parents, we can ease our child’s transition into primary school, and alleviate any anxieties by preparing ahead of time.
When getting ready for kindergarten or primary school, emotional, academic, and routine preparations are key to a smoother transition. We’ve collated our top tips to help you prepare your child for their first day.
Familiarise your child with the school environment
Children that are introduced to aspects of big school early on, often demonstrate more confidence as they approach their new daily routines, social playgrounds, and structured learning environments.
Ways that you can make primary school more familiar might include:
- Enrol your child in a preschool so that they can be introduced to classroom manners and academic fundamentals (maths, reading and writing) in a fun-loving social environment
- Visit, or point out the school (when driving or strolling past) to paint the picture that school will be fun. This may include attending the orientation day together, or even visiting the school playgrounds on the weekend (where open to the public)
- Set up a meeting between your child and their future teachers to let them know that their teachers are there to help them.
- Explain basic manners that will help them at school; for example, tucking your chair away, raising your hand when asking a question, and more. You may choose to role-model these behaviours at home, or even role-play what a school day might look like.
Make practical preparations for school
Once your child is ready for school, start making practical preparations for school, such as:
- Let your child try on the new uniform and shoes so that they are comfortable and excited. This will also encourage self-dressing including how to tie their shoes on their own.
- Together with your child, choose bags and other personal items such as lunch boxes, water bottles that are easy to use and comfortable.
- Collect all necessary stationery items in a pencil case.
- Carefully label all your child’s belongings with their name.
Managing big feelings
Before school starts, your child may be simultaneously anxious and excited. Below are some tips for managing the aura of mixed emotions.
- Invite them to talk about their feelings and remind them that they are supported and loved.
- Build their anticipation and ease fears, by regularly talking about the exciting aspects of school.
- Read books about going to school together to affirm the fun things to expect.
- For preschool children that will attend the same local primary school, organise a play date with your child’s friends to remind them of the fun that they will have with old, and new, friends!
What’s next? Your child’s first few weeks of school
While your initial preparations for school may be over, the following first few weeks of school are still essential to building your child’s sense of routine and security. Consistency in routines, relaxed early academic expectations and active listening can make all the difference to your little one’s transition period.
Ways you can add to their first few weeks might include:
- Punctual pick-up and drop-off times to remind your little one that they are safe and that a loved one will be waiting for them after school.
- Patiently listen to what your child tells you about their day and their friends after school.
- Don’t force academic progress right away. It may take some time for children to settle in and adjust to new routines including homework. Learning will occur naturally in your little one’s own time.
Whether you’re a first-time primary school parent, or if came here in need of a how to get ready for school refresher, rest assured that your child will flourish into independence. Their first day of kindergarten is one of many exciting milestones in their schooling journey.