29 Feb Preparing Your Child For School
What are the best ways to mentally prepare my child (and me!) for starting school for the first time?
Mental preparation includes managing your child’s and your own expectations. You probably want your child to enjoy school, discover a love of learning and develop social and physical skills.
By now, your child will probably have had at least one orientation day and tried on their school uniform. Perhaps older siblings are already at the same school. Your child may by now be familiar with the route to school and may already know some of the children who will be in their class and perhaps their teacher as well.
What else can you do?
You could have a practice day, where your child gets up, dresses, helps make their lunch, has breakfast, brushes their teeth and packs their school bag within a reasonable time. Or, you could make sure your child has some basic school skills to give them confidence on their first few days. That might include being able to count to ten, knowing how to tie their own shoelaces, knowing how and when to blow their nose and being able to name at least five colours.
It’s also a good idea to meet your child’s teacher prior to being asked to come in to the school because there’s a problem. The more the teacher knows about your child’s strengths and challenges, the more the teacher can modify their teaching style appropriately. Of course, this means you have a responsibility to support the teacher as well. Perhaps on the first day, you could meet with other parents for lunch to debrief and prepare for the after-school pick up. Prepare yourself for an excited and tired child, and possibly a tired and excited you.
Dr Alanna Horadam Principal, Cremorne Medical Practice
Words by Dr Alanna Horadam