12 Tips For Starting 'Big School' In September

School days have changed so much over the years. My eight-year-old collects Blu Tac from her classroom walls on the sly and thinks it’s the coolest thing ever while I spent yard playing with conkers, Tamagotchis and yo-yos.

School days have changed so much over the years. My eight-year-old collects Blu Tac from her classroom walls on the sly and thinks it’s the coolest thing ever while I spent yard playing with conkers, Tamagotchis and yo-yos. She gets to choose her lunch from an online menu while I had rotten, soggy ham and cheese sambos with warm milk. They’ve even introduced school tracksuits since I went to school, no more sweating under your long sleeved shirts. Oh, how times have certainly changed.
I’m no expert in schooling (or parenting), in fact, I’ve been asked to stay behind at collection ‘for a word’ to many time to count but if you have a kid starting school this September here are some tips that might help prepare and with those first few days, weeks and months.
  • Help your child improve early literacy and learning skills. Encourage your child to find letters of the alphabet in unexpected places and around the home. Count fruit, match colours and read to your child as often as you can. If you haven’t already go to join the library, now is a perfect time and it’s FREE!
  • Learning to hold and control a pencil is one of the most important skills for a junior infant encourage them to scribble, draw and free-write. Help them recognise their own name, being able to write it will be a huge benefit too.
  • Visit the school with your child to see his/her new classroom and were possible meet his/her new teacher before school officially starts.
  • Teach your child to use the toilet independently. Children pick up so many bugs especially in their first year in school. It may be inevitable to avoid but you can teach them to wash their hand properly.
  • Label everything. And I mean everything. There will be twenty-something four-to-five-year-olds, some with similar or same names. There will be less chance of your child’s belongings going home with the wrong student as young children often misplace their items. Write their name on the inside of their shoes too. I also pop a character keyring on the zip of my little one’s school coat, she finds it much to distinguish at home time and if he/she takes it off in the schoolyard.
  • If your child cannot tie his/her shoelaces, velcro runner/shoes are highly recommended. Children don’t tend to approach teachers to tie their shoelaces, often leading to trips and falls. Elasticated waists and shoulder strapped school bags are a big advantage too.
  • Make sure they can open their own lunches and drinks. Avoid Capri Suns, yoghurt Frubes and teach them to open their fruit or half peel it in the morning to make it easier for them.
  • Try to relax and do not to fuss upon arrival of your child’s classroom. Help your child find a seat and hang up their coat. Encourage your child to interact with other students.
  • Separation anxiety is very common for both parents and children. It can be a very traumatic saying goodbye to your child. If your child becomes distressed, do not overstay in the classroom. Most children are laughing and playing shortly after parents leave. Rest assured if your child is not settling well the teacher will contact you.
  • If your child does become emotional on the first day of school, tell your child you will be going and that you will be back to pick them up at the end of the school day. Do not hang around the classroom door or peek in windows; it will only upset your child more. Also, bring tissues.
  • Don’t expect a detailed account of how your child is settling in the first few weeks. If there are any concerns, the teacher will let you know. If you have any apprehensions or worries, make an appointment to discuss these with your child’s teacher.
  • It is vital to be on time at the end of school day. It can be very stressful for some children if you are late.
Written by Kellie Kearney staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.mylittlebabog.com.

Kellie Kearney

Kellie Kearney is a Dublin mammy of five kids aged newborn right up to nine. She loves coffee, cloth nappies, travel and sharing her every day true to life family moments on Instagram.

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