Getting your child emotionally and physically ready to start prep begins before those first weeks of the new year in most families, and there are lots of positive things you can do to help your child prepare in the lead up.
You and your child will be embarking on whole new routines, social circles and adventures so what are REAL ways you can help the transition?
- Encourage your child to practice using pencils, scissors and other common classroom tools whilst sitting at a small table for short periods of time
- Try to meet other children and parents going to the same school and arrange outings and playdates in the Christmas holidays before school starts.
- Take your child to the school grounds to play on at least one occasion before school starts. Most schools have orientation days so make the most of them, but also try to take a visit when it’s a bit quieter showing them some of the important places and things like the offfice, toilets and drinking fountains
- Do a pretend drop off and pick up if you’ll be doing that in the early days of school, and show them where you’ll wait for them
- Let them wear their school uniform, shoes and socks on at least a couple of occasions- more if they want to- so they get used to them and you get to start hemming or buying new ones because they’ve gotten BIG! This also includes trying out new lunchboxes and drink bottles and unwrapping things if that’s new to them
- Discuss what a school day will be like and who they could speak to at school if they need any support or assistance. This is especially important for kids who might be more anxious as it gives them tools to solve their concerns. Invite your child to give some ideas to help them gain a sense of control.
In the weeks and days leading up to school beginning what are other things you can do to physically help the transition?
- If they will be getting themselves ready, arrange with them where clothes will be and what they need to do. Set up new Picture routines if needed
- Start practicing your “school night” routine with the desired bedtime, and waking up time, at least a week or two before school starts to help being well rested for bigger school days, and also to aid the “getting-ready-for-school morning chaos” that may ensue in your household
- Organise your own morning routine if changes will need to be made.
- Make sure they know who’ll be dropping off, or walking them, or what getting to school and pick up will normally be like.
- If they will be going to after school care, do visits and make them comfortable with that routine too. Most after school care programs offer vacation care also so you can organise to visit in the school holidays to meet the staff and familiarise yourself and your child with the designated areas and activities.
Helping your child get used to the “known” elements of their school day, as well as the things that might change in their every-day routine are good positive ways to ease any anxiety they might be feeling.
Read more: The first day of Prep- How to smooth the way