Is your kid starting big school this year? Our psychologist has some tips on how to make the starting school experience as smooth as possible.
Starting school for the first time can be both an exciting and nervous experience for young children. While different children will react differently, most will still need some kind of easing into their new school.
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In the video below, resident psychologist Collett Smart talks about the different things you can do to help a child starting school for the first time.
What starting school is like for kids
Imagine what it’s like for you to start a new job. Think about how you’d feel and the worries you may have. Your child is likely going through the same range of emotions when they start primary school for the first time.
Practical tips for starting school
- You know your child’s teacher will help them settle into school, but they won’t know that unless you actually tell them in as many words.
- Help them find where the toilets are (you may need to get them to ask their teacher if you haven’t been able to go on site due to COVID-restrictions).
- Show boys how to use the urinals.
- Teach them how to pull their clothes or jumpers inside out, and how to zip up their jackets.
- Help them practise undoing their lunch wrappers or lunchbox, and opening their school bag.
- Don’t overpack food as they may struggle to finish everything.
- Let them know what to expect from a school environment, including the need to follow bells.
- No screen time or tech in the mornings to ensure they go to school alert.
- Ensure there’s a good bedtime routine so they start the next day refreshed.
Emotional tips for starting school
- Most kids will experience a myriad of feelings, sometimes before the start of the school year. Others may remain stoic right up to the first day before falling apart.
- Don’t rush. Some kids will take the entire first school term to adjust to being at school.
- Even children who have been in childcare may struggle with not being with family for the entire school week.
- Ensure there’s a healthy snack available when they get home and they have plenty of time to play. This will go a long way to preventing an after-school meltdown (yes, it’s a thing).
More tips on how to avoid after-school meltdowns in the video below
The most important starting school tip for parents
It’s a bittersweet moment seeing our kids head off to big school, but the best thing we can do for them is to learn to let them go.
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