Helping your child prepare for starting school

First 5 Forever Cloud White

Starting school is major milestone in a little one’s life. Although this is an exciting time it can also cause some anxiety, not just for the child but for parents as well.

As your child’s first teacher you can play a role in helping them start school excited and ready to learn. Now is the right time to be having conversations with your child and introducing your child to the new words and experiences school will bring.

Familiarity with things like teachers, uniforms and packed lunches and the words around them will make it easier for your child to express how they’re feeling and where they need assistance.

Here are some tips to help your child prepare for their big first day:

  • Talk with your child about what will happen on the first day of school. Children need routines and like to know what’s going to happen.
  • If you know their teacher’s name, talk about them so the name becomes familiar.
  • If you drive past the school make a point of saying: “There’s your school, it’s going to be so exciting when you start.”
  • Pack a lunch box and have a picnic in the back yard. Talk about what’s for lunch and discuss what options are available. Let your child unpack their own lunch. This will give you a guide to how they will cope eating a packed lunch at school. Try and use easy to open containers or make a small snip in packets so they can open them themselves.
  • Get your child to try on their uniform and name the items as you go. Especially if there’s something new – like the word “uniform!”
  • Talk and listen to your child about their feelings.You might even like to give some simple strategies for how you overcome nerves like taking some slow deep breaths.
  • Share books about starting school.
  • You might like to share some funny stories about your school years.

Even if you are feeling a little sad or nervous, try to focus on the excitement. of all the amazing things your child is going to do and learn. As Dr Seuss says:

“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!”

Books about the first day of school:

  • First Day by Andrew Daddo
  • Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
  • I am Absolutely Too Small for School (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child
  • Goodbye Brings Hello by Dianne White

References

  • Seuss, Dr. (1990). Oh, the Places You’ll Go!. New York, NY: Random House.

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