Each month, Jackie Hardie, owner of The Nursery, gives advice and guidance on aspects of parenting. Drawing on almost three decades working with early years children, including roles as a Reception teacher and an Ofsted inspector, running an international education consultancy, and of course, being a parent, Jackie gives down-to-earth and practical advice.
This month, Jackie focuses on going back to school.
Whether your child is starting school for the first time or has been going for years, nerves are extremely common on that first day back in September.
Luckily, the worries usually only stick around for a little while, but meanwhile being positive about school, talking to your child about the exciting things that will be happening in the days ahead and not hanging around at the school gates too long once you’ve arrived can all make those first few days easier. Children soon settle once they are in the classroom with their teacher and friends.
Other tips on making those first few days back run more smoothly include making sure your child has plenty of sleep, a good breakfast and arrives on time. Make sure they get everything ready the night before so they feel well prepared and there are no last minute panics.
Many children will be starting school for the first time this month and focusing on developing self help skills helps prepare your child for school and makes the move so much easier for them.
In our last blog we talked about things like helping your child to learn how to put their coat on, recognise their name and put their shoes on the right feet, ahead of going to school.
As the new school term gets under way your child will be introduced to new routines and lunchtime and PE are two particular parts of the routine that can cause anxiety. The more your child is prepared for these times of the day, the happier they will be.
Lunch time at school can be overwhelming for a four-year-old, but talking to your child about lunchtime can be a huge help. If they have a packed lunch ensure they can open their lunch box, peel a banana, open up their yoghurt and put a straw in a carton. For school lunches they may need to make a decision about which school meal to eat, so talk about this. Ensure your child can hold a tray, use a knife and fork, pour a cup of water and feed themselves independently.
PE may involve your child, dressing and undressing, organising their clothes so they can be found again and putting daps or trainers on the correct feet. You can help get your child get used to this by laying out shorts, t shirt and daps and allowing them to get themselves changed. Simple tips such as putting their shoes together and putting their socks inside will help your child organise themselves and also be a huge help to the class teacher who usually has 30 pairs of socks to locate!
All these tips can help school meal times and sports lessons become much more enjoyable for those who have just started school.