We’re half way through the school year and for those of you with preppies starting in 2019, here are some tips to work on and get your child school ready.

Starting school can be quite emotional and overwhelming for children and parents alike.  Know that you can help reduce these feelings, by talking to your child, being positive, organised and relaxed about it. Here are 5 ways you can help prepare your child for school:

1. Chatting about school. In the lead up to the first day of school, discuss some of the fun things they may do, and the new people they will meet (children and grown ups).  Let them know it’s ok to be a bit scared/nervous, but reassure them that you will be back after they have had a play and learnt some new things.  Be positive and reassuring.  Smile about it.

2. Recognising their name. At home, a great way to do this, is to write their name on a piece of paper, along with their photo, and place it on the wall/fridge.  I also like to write ‘Mummy’ (with my photo), ‘Daddy’ (with Daddy’s photo), and any other other siblings, (with their photo) also.  This helps to teach your child that everyone’s names look different, and helps to show them the ‘look’ of their own name.  You will be very surprised how quickly they pick these up.

3. Asking for help. Every child is different, and some are very shy, so it is difficult for them to talk to another grown up.  When our children go to school, we want (and need) them to be able to ask for help from their teachers.  You can help your child with this by talking to them about it, and practicing it!  Get them to use their ‘big voice’ to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ at the shops.  Discuss with your child why it’s important that they use a big voice, and be brave to ask for help/ask questions.  We want them to know it’s ok to do so, and that their teacher is someone they can trust.

4. Correct pencil grip. This is a very tricky habit to break, so we want to teach our children to hold their pencil correctly from the start.  It is also important to ensure you work on their fine motor skills; threading, play dough, cutting, weaving, pasting etc.  These small muscles in the hands and fingers are required not only for holding a pencil and writing, but also for self-help skills such as doing up their buttons, putting on their shoes and socks and using a knife and fork.

5. Routine. One of the biggest changes when our little ones start school, is the five day a week routine.  Many children go to Pre-school/Kindy/Daycare, but school is much more formal, and getting your child used to routine will help them transition.  You can do this by implementing some routines at home. Have a dinner/night time routine; Set the table, eat dinner, put their dishes in the kitchen, quiet play, have a bath, clean their teeth, toilet and in bed for a story.  Also, get your child into the routine of tidying away their toys once they have finished playing with them.

Starting school is a big step for our little ones, and often a big step for mums and dads too!  So enjoy this special time and smile!

Kirsty Gibbs

Kirsty Gibbs  

Kirsty began her career as a teacher in 2006. Since then she has worked in all areas of education from the early years to high school. She lives on the Gold Coast with her husband and two young daughters. Kirsty is the founder of Learning Blocks, the learning hub for parents and children. She specialises in early childhood education and runs classes and workshops for both parents and children aged 3-13. Kirsty has most recently developed educational resources and guides for parents to use at home with their children // www.learningblockscentre.com.au