Starting school tips

When you child starts school they are leaving the comfort of home and entering the big wide world, possibly for the first time. Parenting Consultant, Lorna Clark, explains 5 important skills which will make it much easier for your child to adjust and settle into school life.

First day at school skills

Practical skills to prepare your child for primary school

  1. Going to the toilet
  2. Putting on their shoes
  3. Writing and recognising their name
  4. Getting dressed
  5. Table manners

1. Going to the toilet

Most children starting school are clean and dry, by day if not at night, but this is only part of the toilet training story. They also need to be able to wipe their bottom, sort their clothes out and wash their hands. Take the time now to show them how to do it for themselves, including how much loo roll or soap to use. It is also important that boys know what a urinal is for. A summer outing is a good opportunity for Dad to take his son into a public loo and show him.

2. Putting on their shoes

It doesn’t take long for you to help one child on with her shoes but imagine helping a whole class and it soon becomes a problem. Make sure your child knows how to tell which shoe goes on which foot and how to do them up, even Velcro needs to be pulled tight. If your child is already confident in putting on their shoes it is still a good idea to give them some practice with any new school shoes. This is particularly important with plimsolls or slippers, since right and left can look similar.

3. Writing and recognising their name

Children don’t need to be able to read or write before they start school but it does make life easier if they can recognise their own name. The child can then find a peg or tray and recognise labels in all that new school uniform. However, do avoid teaching your child to write their name in block capitals. As names are so rarely written in capitals they may spend many months, or even years, trying to break the habit.

4. Getting dressed

At school your child will need to get changed for a PE or games lesson, and get back into school uniform afterwards. Encourage them to get dressed independently from now on and it will be a well-practiced skill in September. If you have a choice when buying uniform do bear easy dressing in mind, elasticated trousers or skirts avoid the need for buttons and zips. As well as putting clothes on and off, show your child how to leave things in a neat pile so that they can find them again later.

5. Table manners

Children at school will be expected to sit at the lunch table and, if they have a hot meal, eat with a knife and fork. Many children struggle to stay at the table after they have finished eating. If you normally eat and run now is a good time to encourage sitting and talking for five minutes after each meal. Your child might well enjoy the attention and before long you will value an opportunity to find out about their busy day.

Useful Links:

Directgov, Overcoming fear of first day at primary school

Photograph:

Dave Smith @ Flickr

More on starting school

Starting school hints for mums
You are braver than you think
Best starting school books
Etsy baby does back to school

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