The beginning of something new generally holds lots of excitement from children and family members however, the new experience also often carries with it some level of healthy anxiety or apprehension. Children often have family members and other adults speaking in excited tones about starting school. However, starting preschool or school can be quite daunting for young children, no matter how excited they are. Sometimes, children about to start school often make comments such as, "I would rather go back to preschool"!
To assist your family and particularly the child who is about to start this new venture here are some simple points that you may find helpful.
- Time moves slowly for young children and they have a limited concept of time. Whilst it is okay to talk about school or preschool, don't over talk it and make it sound too special too early in January. The week before is plenty of time to really start the practical preparations.
- For those children starting school, they don't need you to teach them how to read and write and count before school starts. Allow them a relaxing holiday period with lots of play.
- Read regularly to your children and practice holding conversations so that children's language development continues to progress.
- Avoid too much TV and movies and computer games. Have lots of fun and activities outside in parks, backyards, and beach.
- Ensure a regular bed routine and bed sleep routine in the last weeks leading up to school.
- Ensure you child is able to dress themselves and that they can toilet themselves, wash hands and have general self help skills
- Give them practice with school or preschool bags, lunchbox lids, drink bottles so they can use these easily and independently.
- If they express anxieties about starting school or preschool, acknowledge how they might be feeling. Eg. "I know it feels a bit different doesn't it". "I know preschool sounds better than school because you haven't been to school yet". "It can be a little hard starting something new but I'll be with you when you start".
- It might sound a little crazy but make sure your son is familiar with urinals. Often they have only seen unisex toilets!!
- Ensure you will be on time for school. That is important and helps your child settle quickly each day.
- Remember that talking too much, trying to explain everything can often overwhelm rather than help children. Preparation is best when it's in small doses, simple and not all the time.
- If you are able to take time from work, it is lovely for the family to go to school for the first few days. It is a special milestone in your child and family's life.
- Keep in mind that children will tire very quickly as they move through Term 1. It is often very hot, children are learning and adapting to many new things. Take it easy during first term and be careful not to over schedule your children.