Starting school is an exciting time for most children. However, for some children, starting school can be a difficult and scary time. Preparing your child for the start of school will not only help them feel more confident about what to expect at their new school, but also ensure that they can successfully transition into a new environment.
Here are a few tips to help you help your child prepare for their next big milestone – going to school:
- Engage your child in conversations about what he/she thinks about starting school. Encourage your child to tell you what he/she is excited and worried about.
- Encourage your child to also talk to his/her friends about school.
- Encourage your child to read. When children are younger, they learn to understand and express words. When they get older, they learn to read and write these words. Reading and writing will play a big part of your child’s learning at school. Reading books regularly with your child helps them get a good (head) start at school.
- Visit your local library. Find books to read to your child. There are lots of children’s books about going to school. Reading these books will not only help your child prepare for school but also increase your child’s literacy and language skills.
- Help your child develop clear speech. Children’s speech should be easily understood by others when they go to school. If you have concerns about your child’s speech before they go to school, seek help from a speech pathologist.
- Engage your child in imaginative play. Encourage them to problem-solve in play. This will help build your child’s confidence, critical thinking, and social skills when they attend school.
- If your child is worried about changes, make a book about going to school. You can take pictures of the school and talk about what he/she will see and experience at school. You can also provide your child with strategies on what he/she can do when he/she feels worried (eg. Talking to the teacher etc.)
- Attend transition-to-school programs at your school to help your child familiarize themselves with the new environment. Show your child around the school so that he/she is familiar with the school environment.
- Establish routines for dinner, bath time and bedtime. Once this is established, your child will be able to transition smoothly into this routine when he/she starts school.
- Encourage your child to be independent. Get your child to try dressing, packing school bag, eating, going to the toilet etc. independently.
- Get to know your child’s teachers. Teachers are here to help your child succeed. Help your teacher understand your child and understand your child’s needs. Teachers also work collaboratively with you and other health professionals to ensure that your child’s learning needs are met.
- Also, ask the school about how you can engage in your child’s learning and development.
- Talk to your child about bullying. Educate your child that bullying is unacceptable under any circumstances. Empower your child to speak up. Encourage them to speak to you if someone has hurt them physically and mentally. Let him/her know that it is a good thing that they came to talk to you about this.
Lastly, but importantly, stay positive and try to share your child’s excitement about their next big step. Good luck!
This blog was written by our in-house Speech Pathologist, Fiona Low. Fiona is fluent in English and Mandarin, and enjoys working with children from preschool years through to adolescence.
To learn more about Fiona, click here.
Information adopted from: