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When your child starts school for the first time it can be daunting for both the child and you as the parent. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do at home for an easy transition.

Starting school is an amazing time in any child’s life but one that can also be fraught with nerves for both the mini schoolie and their parents. Begin Bright centres on the Gold Coast have enjoyed watching hundreds, if not thousands, of eager and excited children transition their way through the ranks of early learning up to ‘big’ school.

In a special feature for haven readers, Begin Bright centre owners at Burleigh, Tugun, Sorrento and Worongary have come together to share their expert tips on transitioning kids to school.

DEVELOP YOUR CHILD’S INDEPENDENCE
Make sure your child can take care of their own personal hygiene. Demonstrate and encourage your child to blow their nose, go to the toilet, wash their hands and use plenty of praise.

RECOGNISE THEIR BELONGINGS
Have your child take ownership of their belongings. Have them put items away where they belong.

EATING AND DRINKING WITHOUT HELP
Use separate containers for a picnic meal and have your child practice using their own container, removing wrappers and selecting items to eat.

CONCENTRATION
Start with a simple task (eg. colouring-in sheets, painting, puzzles). Have your child stay with it for 5 mins, building up to 15 mins.

FOLLOWING 2-OR 3-STEP DIRECTIONS
Eg. “Go and get your red jumper, then put it in your bag”. Be sure your child is listening to your instructions by making sure there is eye contact. Some children may need to repeat the instructions in order to process what is being asked.

TAKING TURNS
Children can be impatient and may need plenty of practice with waiting for their turn. Taking-turn activities include board games, playing cards, team sports, lining up in a queue etc.

ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO ASK AND ANSWER QUESTIONS
Ask open-ended questions that allow your child to answer with his own interpretation. This allows for quality interaction and shows how we are all learners.

INSTIL A LOVE OF READING
Read to your child everyday. Allow your child to select a book of his/her own choice, then look and discuss the illustrations. Model reading as a parent. Have your child retell a story you have read and watch how he/she holds the book, turns the pages etc.

PROPER PENCIL GRIP
Demonstrate how to hold a pencil by placing the pencil in his/her hand correctly.

SCISSOR SKILLS
Show your child how to hold child-safe scissors, making sure the fingers are correctly placed and the thumb is facing up. Start with straight lines. Cutting play dough helps small fingers maneuver the scissors.

RECOGNISE AND WRITE THEIR NAME
Have your child’s name displayed in various places so they become familiar with how it is written. Cut letters out and glue them on paper to make their name, or string letter beads to make a necklace.

LETTERS AND NUMBERS
Practice oral counting up to 20 by clapping hands with each number.

As a parent you are your child’s first teacher and children learn so much from copying and listening to you. By starting now to encourage a love of learning, your child will be better prepared for school.

Visit www.beginbright.com.au

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.