18 things to know while preparing your child for school

18 things to know while preparing your child for school

1.Encourage Independence

While preparing your child for school it’s important to know Children learn from their successes as well as their missteps, so don’t rush to rescue your child in every challenging situation this will encourage them and reduce the dependency on parents. “Socially adept children learn from parents who have confidence in their child’s ability to soothe themselves in a difficult situation and make appropriate choices when allowed to or, at the very least, learn and grow from their mistakes.”

Encouraging your child to become independent with basic self-care skills, such as hand washing, nose wiping, opening lunch containers, manipulating simple clothing fasteners, zipping a backpack, and covering his mouth when coughing or sneezing. Teach your little one how to undress at night and have him pick out his outfit for the following day. If he wants to dress himself in the morning, keep in mind that he may need some assistance.

2.Visit the school together

While preparing your child for school it’s important to visit the school together and ask to be shown the places that are really important to your child and their settling in process i.e. the toilets, where to get snacks, the self-registration area, the coat racks etc. Your child needs reassurance about the more immediate and fundamentally important areas at this stage! Trust me; knowing where the toilets and sinks are has been the number one concern of most children

3.Plan more social activities

All preschool children have to get along with other kids, so one of the things you should ensure doing while preparing your child for school is to ensure your child spends much time in a group with other children, then activities such as sharing, taking turns, and playing cooperatively can be very difficult.

Help your child get used to being part of a group by arranging playmates with one or two peers or enrolling him in music or tumbling class.

4.Prime for Potty Training

“Potty training is a complex issue,” Before selecting a preschool, ask about the potty training policy. If independent toileting is required, carefully consider if your child is developmentally ready to be potty trained. If she’s not, don’t force it. But if your child is able to keep her diaper dry for an hour, and then she’s likely ready to begin training. “Preschools should be willing to assist a parent in the toilet training process,”

5.Give him a sense of what to expect

Resist the temptation to say things like “It’ll be the most fun you’ve ever had,” or “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” and never belittle your child’s fears or concerns. Instead, help calm his fears with information.

Talk to him about what to expect when he gets to school — where he’ll be going, what he’ll be doing, and who will be in class with him. You can also read stories about starting school. Some good ones to try are Going to School, by Anne Civardi and Stephen Cartwright, Preschool Day Hooray! By Linda Leopold Strauss.

6.Meet the Teacher

If possible, meet the teacher together and encourage your child to say hello and share a few personal information. Let your child share a special toy or talk about how they love swimming or supporting a particular football team. Ask simple questions about the school day and what sorts of things your child will be doing in the settling in period.

7.In-still Organization

Teach your child how to be organized. Work with him on ways to keep his clothes, toys, and gear organized in his room. Using inexpensive and colorful baskets or bins, and storing similar items together would be helpful.

After a play session, tell your little one it’s time to clean up and show him where each item belongs. Make it fun by singing a cleanup song until the area is tidy. Once your child knows the routine, have him clean up on his own. Be sure to praise him if he does a good job.

8.Develop Social Skills

Social readiness, not academic readiness, should be a priority,. “Going to preschool is about socialization. When thinking about preschool, consider these questions: Can your child be away from you? Is she moving out of diapers? Is she talking about school?”

Start teaching manners early, so that your child knows how to the appropriate words at the time to starts preschool. Greeting others, using table manners, following directions, not interrupting, and saying please, thank you, and excuse me are ways your child shows respect and consideration for others. Your child’s teacher will be impressed.

9.Encourage Emotional Readiness

Julie Nelson, a professor of early childhood education and a former preschool teacher, believes that emotional readiness is an important social skill for preschool. It’s necessary, she says, to “help children identify and process emotions in a healthy manner. When a child exhibits a strong emotion, it is usually best not to judge, undermine, or devalue with such phrases as ‘don’t act like a baby,’ or ‘you drive me crazy with your tantrums.’ A preschooler has difficulty understanding and putting labels on feelings and can feel out of control in these situations.  Find out why experiencing certain feelings or how to deal with those feelings. Parents can help by allowing the child to express their emotions in a safe situation and labelling the specific emotion by saying, ‘Oh, you are cranky because you are so tired.’ Let the child know you will be ready to talk when they are calm,” she says. Learning to manage and express emotions in a healthy manner is not only important for preschool; it’s also an essential life skill.

10.Cultivate Communication Skills

Talking and listening are extremely valuable for school success, and parents have countless opportunities to develop their child’s language skills. “Whether it’s discussing what’s in a room, talking about daily routines, or chatting about what’s for dinner, parents can help expand a child’s vocabulary by introducing new words and expressions. Teachable moments come from the child’s own observations or from things they’re interested in because children are so excited and curious to learn more. It can be hard when parents are working, but teachable moments can be just a few minutes or even a few seconds. The trick is to be aware that the things that we see and do as we go through our days may seem mundane to us, but to our children they are wonders,” says Rebecca Palacios, Ph.D., Senior Curriculum Advisor for ABCmouse.com

11.Starting School books

Borrow lots of Starting School books from the libraries or friends and read them every day over the summer break, picking out the fun and exciting activities that are going on in each one and using them as starting points for conversations. If your child seems worried about starting school then use books to draw out these fears and reassure them. Most fears are related to not knowing what is going to happen and where things are, and these can be talked though thoroughly to the best of your knowledge.

12. Daily routines

Daily routines can help children understand what they need to do, when to do it each day and why it’s important

To help prepare your child for school, get them into a routine which includes:

  • Going to bed early
  • Waking up at a certain time—leave plenty of time to get ready
  • Having a healthy breakfast—needed for energy and concentration
  • Preparing and eating lunch
  • Making time for physical activities.

13.Hand Washing

Explain the importance of hand washing and teach them how to do it properly, using soap, washing both sides of their hands and in-between their fingers, before drying. In the first year of school there are lots of new bugs that go around and kids pick these up so easily from each other due to close contact and poor hygiene, which is inevitable to some degree but this really helps them out.

14.Talking to other children

Encourage them to talk to other children by looking at their eyes and smiling, asking what their names are and introducing themselves. 99% of all children’s worries in the first week are that they don’t have any friends yet, and we need to give them the skills to independently get to know each other. Most kids are fantastic at playing with new people anyway, but there are some who are not as gifted in this area and can be very shy to start with.

15.Take all concerns and need to grown ups

Encourage them to take all concerns and needs to a grown up and not be worried to speak up about anything. Children get upset about lost coats, a missing drawing, a child who knocked them over accidentally etc and teachers can and will resolve these problems for them if they let them know.

16.Practice listening skills

Preschool teachers often encourage their busy young pupils to sit still and listen. You can help your child prepare for this request by occasionally asking him to sit quietly and close his eyes, and then ask him to tell you all the different sounds he hears. Talk about what’s making the sounds and where the sounds are coming from.

In preschool, children also learn to listen and follow directions that involve more than one step. Start asking your child to do a series of things, such as take his shoes to his room and put them in the closet. Or go to the bathroom and wash his hands and then come and help you set the dinner table.

17.Nurture the artist in residence

Creating art — whether it’s finger-painting or molding clay — helps preschoolers develop the visual and fine motor skills they need to write. Keep paper, paints, crayons, and other art supplies on hand and encourage your child to create whenever he wants.

Doing simple mazes and connect-the-dot pictures will also help your child develop beginning writing skills.

18.Come up with a good-bye ritual

If this is the first time your child will be away from you, he may worry that you’re not coming back, or that you’ll get lost and won’t be able to find your way back to the school to pick him up at the end of the day.

Invent a special parting ritual — such as a high-five, or saying something like, “I’ll be back to get you soon, long before we see the moon” — that you do each time you drop him off.

During the first few days, allow extra time to get him ready and out the door in the morning, too. The more calm things are at home, the easier the separation will be.

About the Author Greensprings School

We have over 30 years of promoting lifelong learning in an open and caring atmosphere that motivates students to be confident and responsible global citizens.

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