Starting School - What Every Parent Needs to Know.
My goodness, is it here already? The year your little one starts school is a huge milestone for both of you. Whether you’re clinging tearfully on to your child’s coat tails, or flinging them away with smile, starting school is a big adjustment for everyone involved. Kindness and more kindness is what’s needed.
After all, it’s a whole new world for your little one. They’re suddenly having to take their coat off and find the peg with their name on it. They’re having to learn and remember where to put their lunchbox. Where do they have to sit? Are they sitting next to someone they know? Who do they need to ask if they need the toilet? Yes, starting school can be a big thing for your child, and here’s how we can help things go as smoothly as they can.
Patience. If your little one is acting a little clingy, remember that they are feeling more uncomfortable than you are. Cuddle them, reassure them. Telling them the events of the day until they see you again might help.
Praise them for all the things they manage to do; they got their coat on, they found their shoes. It all helps to foster a good feeling within themselves.
Be prepared. Make sure things go off to a smooth start by planning ahead the night before. School bag, PE kit, coat, lunchbox.
Practise. Making sure your child can take their shoes and coat off, and put them on again, is a skill they’ll need to learn as early as they can. Teachers will obviously be on hand to help, but the sooner your child can grasp these skills, the more confident they’ll feel when they’re at school. Easy fastening shoes and coats will help them achieve this.
Be excited for them. It’s an exciting day, after all! Talk about all the great things they will be doing, like reading, playing in the playground, making friends, eating from their new lunchbox. Keep this excitement going as they walk into their new class. The minute they see you look worried or sad they’ll wonder what’s wrong and all the good you’ve confidence you’ve instilled up till now will quickly unravel. So stay calm and smiling even if inside you feel anything but. Act like it’s ok, and they’ll follow suit.
Have something nice for them to do when the day is over. They can be thinking about it all day and it might help to keep them going if they start missing you. A new book perhaps, or some paints. A play in the park. Make it something you know they’ll enjoy.
Don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t seem their usual self once you’ve got home. Perhaps they’re a little quiet or they might be full of energy. They’ve had an emotionally busy day and they may be feeling drained. Some time to decompress is probably all they need, a chance to let out everything they’ve been keeping inside for the day. Once your child has got used to the school day, this shouldn’t be much of an issue anymore. If they do seem withdrawn or unhappy for any length of time, speak to them about it. There might be a problem at school that they don’t know how to talk to you about.
The day your child starts school can be an emotional time for both of you, so while you’re showing kindness and patience to your little one, show a little to yourself too!
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