7 Ways To Prepare Your Child For The New School Year
The summer holidays are coming to an end and the first day back at school is nearing. You may have mixed feelings about this in your household – you may have loved having your children home but are also happy for them to be back at school for a while. Your children may have loved the holidays and feel anxious about going back. Or they may have become bored and are really excited to go back. Whatever the atmosphere, the reality is that it is nearly time for school again – time to get prepared!
In this post I am sharing 7 tips to prepare your child for the new school year.
1) Discuss What School Will Be Like
Your child may be starting a new school. If this is the case, find out as much as you can about the school so you can can explain to your child what to expect. Things like the layout of the school building, the teacher’s name, names of other children in the same class, what lunch break will be like, what food they will eat are all great to prepare the child for what to expect.
Your child may be staying at the same school but going up a year. In this case they will be familiar with the school but it is a good idea to share expectations of what the next year brings. For example, you may say that in year 4 there will be more homework and extra classes in science. Reassure them that you are there to help and so is their teacher.
2) Make A Visit
If the school has an open day for children to see the school and their new classroom, do take the opportunity to go along. It will allow the child to experience their new environment in safe way with you by their side. This will avoid any surprises on their first day and make them feel more secure.
If there is no open day, ask if you can pop by anyway – many schools will allow this. If not, then at least walk to the school and take a good look from the outside and explain to your child what to expect while you are there.
3) Practice Goodbyes
Goodbyes can be difficult for children, especially if they are young or if they feel insecure with a new school and new teacher. Again, the best way to prepare for this is to explain what will happen at school e.g. I will bring you to your teacher Mrs Smith now and you will learn lots of new things in Maths, then you will have lunch, play with the other children and in the afternoon you will have an art lesson. I can’t wait to see what you paint in art class – you can show me when we see each other again at 3pm. This reassures them that they will have a packed day and will see you again at a specific time, which eases their minds.
You can develop a little special goodbye, just between you and your child – this creates a ritual that is shared between you and is consistent, which helps the child to know that you are there for them.
4) Let Your Child Pick Out School Resources
Get your child excited about going to school by asking them to pick their own school resources and equipment – whether from what you have in your home, or from the shops. This gets them involved in the process and thinking about what is to come. Giving them this kind of responsibility helps them to feel like they are important.
5) Establish Regular Sleeping Patterns
Over the summer, many children get used to going to sleep later than normal. It is a good idea to ease them back into an earlier sleeping timetable a couple of weeks before returning to school. Sleep is very important for children and teenagers – they will need 9 to 11 hours a night to function well during the day. This means by the time September comes, they will be used to getting to sleep earlier.
If they are finding it difficult to fall asleep, create bedtime rituals, like a warm bath and reading in bed for half an hour.
6) Be Early For Pick Up
For the first week or so, be a few minutes early for pick up. If your child has been anxious about starting school, they will be keen to see you right away and if they do not see your face, they may feel insecure.
Once they realise you are there for them, they will feel much more comfortable.
7) The Night Before
The night before the first day, ask your child to lay out their clothes for the morning and help you to pack their lunch. Get them off to sleep early, so that the morning routine will not be rushed.
Those are 7 of my tips to prepare your child for the new school year. Do you have any others? Please do write a comment below – I would love to hear them.
If you would like to get regular updates from me and hear about upcoming events and courses, please sign up here.