Talk and listen – talk to your child about starting school – what do they think it will be like? What are they looking forward to? Your child will probably have had at least one taster session at school during the summer term so ask them what they liked about that. Use this time to be positive and excited about school and allay any worries they may have. Don’t force your child to talk about school but be ready to listen to what they have to say and any concerns they may have about going.
Read, read and read – if there is only one thing you do to help your child’s education then make it reading to them. Sharing books and stories is such an important part of early years’ education and really helps children throughout school. It helps with their ability to understand words, use their imagination and develop their speech. See our article on early years reading for more information and ideas.
Stories about starting school – find some books about starting school and read them together. You don’t need to buy them your local library is likely to have some. There are some great picture books about starting school, some of which will have your child’s favourite characters in.
School uniform – let your child practise putting on and taking off their school clothes and folding them neatly in a pile. They will need to get themselves changed for PE so if they can do this independently it will be a great help. Label EVERYTHING and show your child where their name is so they will be able to find their things if misplaced. See our article on buying school uniform for more tips.
Toilet habits – teach your child to go to the toilet by themselves, wipe properly, flush and wash their hands. This is a life skill they will need to do independently at school so if they can’t do it, then start practising now.
Eat independently – if your child will be having school dinners make sure they can use cutlery. If they are having packed lunch then make sure they can open their lunch box and any other boxes or packets.
Get into a routine – the week before school starts get into the school routine – not too late to bed and up early enough for the school run. Having a good bedtime routine will make sure they are not too tired for school. Explain to your child how the mornings will work once they start school and what will happen at the end of the school day.
Before and after school care – if your child is going to before or after-school clubs or is being dropped off or picked up by someone other than you then talk to them about this so they understand why and what will happen.
Be positive – even if you didn’t enjoy school don’t let this rub off on your child. Be positive about starting school
Every child is different and starts school with differing abilities – the most important thing is that your child is happy to go to school and enjoys their time there.