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So it feels like it was just yesterday your baby was born and now, fast forward five years, your little one will start school in just a few short weeks!
We know it’s a bittersweet time for parents, but let’s put our own emotions to the side for a minute and focus on the things you can do to help ease your child into schooling and also get organised for the new routine.
With the new school year now only a matter of weeks away, it’s time to start talking even more as a family about your child starting school. Be sure to keep the conversations positive, engaging and enthusiastic. Perhaps share some of your fond memories from school and focus on the friendships they’ll make, and how much they’ll learn and grow. This will help your child embrace the transition with a positive attitude. It’s also worthwhile scouting some great children’s books about starting school.
Without a doubt one of the best things you can do to help your little one get ready for school is organise a couple of play dates with other kids in your child’s class over the holidays. Having a familiar face or two on the first day will help your child feel more relaxed and confident about their new environment. Lots of schools set up Facebook pages for prep parents to communicate with each other so this could be a great way to tee something up.
The weeks leading up to school starting is the perfect time to replicate the school day – complete with getting dressed in their uniform, eating breakfast, packing bags and lunches, and driving to school at the time you’ll be leaving. You can then come home to play students and teachers – don’t forget to get younger siblings, grandparents, teddies and dolls in on the action too so there are other ‘students’ to share the experience with. You can practise morning tea and lunchtime too – all from your child’s lunchbox of course.
Before school starts it’s a good idea to get your child familiar with their new surroundings, including toilets and playgrounds. And if you’re keen to make use of the tuckshop, be sure to confirm there is one and if so what days the tuckshop is open (yes, some schools don’t have a tuckshop and others only run a few days a week!)
Now your child is ready to start school, here are some ideas to help make school mornings run more smoothly so you can get out the door faster.
Starting school is a great time to teach your child to be more independent and self-sufficient. Start small and build their responsibilities up over the year – maybe they need to be responsible for getting dressed for school and doing their own hair each morning or packing their own bag each night (with a little help from you of course so school notes don’t get lost). As they complete each job, get them to check it off on their own mini jobs chart in their room.
A family calendar is a great idea to keep everyone on the same page about the commitments for the week ahead. Don’t forget to update it regularly with library book day, sports day, show and tell, excursions, charity days and more as they come up throughout the year. We love the idea of using a whiteboard so you can easily update it as things change.
The last thing you want to do when you’ve finally got the kids to sleep is start packing lunches for the next day. You’re either dying to fall into bed yourself or craving some ‘me’ time right? But remember just 15 minutes preparing the lunches can save lots of time and panic in the morning. And don’t forget to check the calendar to see what’s on for the next day and then lay out what’s needed – school uniform, sports uniform, shoes, backpack etc. There’s nothing worse than running around 5 minutes after you should have left the house trying to find that missing shoe.
With all these handy hints you and your family will be nailing the school family gig in no time!
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