The transition from daycare/preschool or home to primary school is a big change for children, and is understandably filled with excitement, nerves and anxiety.
However, in the months leading up to the start of the new school year there are many things you can do to make your child feel more comfortable as they start their primary school journey.
Primary schools offer a series of orientation days, which are a great way for your child (and you) to familiarise yourselves with new surroundings and teachers, and is also a great opportunity to meet other families. If possible, try to organise some play dates with other children who will be starting school alongside your child. This will make the children feel so much more comfortable starting school with a friend or two.
An activity to share with your child is looking through the school website. This can start great conversations, from discussing the school uniform, sporting activities, learning languages to visiting the library.
The school uniform creates much excitement! I recommend letting your child try their uniform on so they know how it feels and looks. It is also important that they can do the buttons/zips by themselves.
No doubt shopping for new school and sports shoes will also be an exciting time. Allow your child to wear them before starting school to ensure they are comfortable and they can run/jump/hop in them. Over the year they will spend many hours in their school shoes so you want them to be comfortable and supportive for their growing feet.
Some daycares/preschools may offer experiences such as lunch box or uniform week. Lunch box week, or even going on a picnic with your child’s lunch box filled, is a great learning experience as you can discuss a typical lunch time at school, making sure they do not eat all their food during recess and ensuring they can open their lunch box and food packaging on their own.
It is important to have positive discussions with your child about starting school and allow them to talk about any apprehension they may have. It can be a very emotional time and children often have difficulties expressing their feelings, so make sure they are given extra cuddles. Try talking about how they feel as best you can.
Expect a settling in period when school first starts as they will experience a big change to a structured day in a classroom, and no doubt when Friday comes around you will have an extra tired child on your hands.
Enjoy this next chapter of your child’s life and make sure you have some tissues for yourself on their first day. I know I’ll have mine... ❐

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