How to Prepare Your Child for the First Day of Primary School
Here’s the bad news: your child is getting ready for their first day of primary school. It’s a stressful experience for parents and a jump into the unknown for both of you.
But here’s the good news: your child is getting ready for their first day of primary school. And they’re going to love it. It’s stressful, sure, but also exciting. It represents the start of your child’s independence, and during their time at primary school you’re going to see them develop like never before. Ensuring they have a good first day will set them on the right course for the rest of their primary school years.
With that in mind, here’s how to prepare your child for the first day of primary school.
Encourage independence from a young age
Primary school is an important point in your child’s development. It’s where they will start to become more independent and become their own person. But to make sure they get the most out of the experience, there are things you can do as a parent to prepare them. One is to encourage independence in your kids from a young age.
In the broadest sense, this means encouraging them to do things themselves and take responsibility for their own actions. In a more practical sense, it’s also about giving them the skills they need to succeed at school and in life. That means making sure they’re able to use the toilet unaided, clean up after themselves, get dressed on their own and even use a knife and fork. By equipping them with skills like these, they won’t be playing catch-up at primary school.
Get your child used to learning
Parents can also prepare their kids for primary school by introducing learning into their lives from a young age. This can include, for example, reading with your children at home. Early reading brings a lot of benefits including improved communication skills, a wider vocabulary, more self-confidence and greater levels of creativity. But most importantly for us, reading with your kids can smooth the transition to primary school and improve their capacity for learning.
Know what to expect from their first day of primary school
Even as adults, we don’t like to have too many unknowns in our daily lives. And children are no different. Before their first day, try to learn as much about the logistics of the day as possible – where they have to report to, what time, who they will meet, what time they will finish, what they will be doing. Running through the timetable with your child can help to alleviate their concerns and let them know what to expect on their first day.
Fill up your own day
Once you’ve said a (possibly) teary farewell to your kids on their first day at primary school, it’s best not to spend the rest of the day worrying about how they’re getting on. Which is easier said than done, of course. To take your mind off things, fill up your day with activities or events that will help to pass the time until the end of the school day. If you happen to know any other parents, it might be a good idea to spend some time with them to process any worries you might both have.
Plan a reward for them
After such an exhilarating day, your child deserves to have something to look forward to afterwards. Whether it’s preparing their favourite meal, planning a trip to the cinema or simply watching their preferred TV show, the idea of a reward after a long day will motivate them to get through it – and might even make getting up in the morning a little easier for them!