School applications are in and, as many parents wait anxiously to see if their child receives their first choice reception place, you may also be thinking about how to ensure your child is ready to start school.
Starting reception is a big step for children and parents alike, but there are some things you can do to help your child be as prepared as possible for the transition.
Encourage self reliance
Ensure your child is confident carrying out certain tasks such as putting on shoes, changing into and out of their PE kit, hand-washing and eating with a knife and fork. Getting your child used to doing these things without your help will make the school’s expectations of them seem less daunting.
Talk and read about school
Ask your child what they are looking forward to and what scares them about starting school, so you can try and relieve any fears. Many school produce a booklet about the school for the new reception class, so try to read this together as often as possible.
There are plenty of great books about starting school including:
Charlie Chick Goes To School by Nick Denchfield
I’m Going To School by Chris Dickason
I’m Absolutely Too Small For School (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child
Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean Adamson
Explore the new school
You can look at the school’s website together to help your child become familiar with their new environment. If the school holds any fetes or other events, go along with your child so they can experience the school with you.
Phase out naps
If your child still has afternoon naps, now may be a good time to start phasing them out to ensure that they won’t struggle with tiredness in September.
Try and establish friendships with other new starters
There may be a Facebook or What’s App groups for the parents of new starters – but if there isn’t, why not create one? Try to arrange playdates with other children from the reception class so your child already has a few friends when he or she starts. This may help quell nerves on the first day.
Try on the uniform
School uniform is often very exciting for new starters and makes them feel very grown up! Let them try on their uniform a few times before the big day to help them get used to the look and feel of it.
Have a practise school run
Help establish the school run routine, by practising the route to see how long it takes. Being well prepared for the walk or drive will help you both feel less anxious on the first day of school and beyond.
Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.