Monday, 4 August 2014

Starting school - tips to make it easier for you and your child

how to cope when your child starts school or nursery
It's August and lots of children will be preparing to start school or nursery in the next few weeks. This can be stressful for both the kids and their parents, so here are a few tips to make it easier on both of you.

Hopefully you will already have laid some groundwork such as visiting the school or nursery and meeting your child's new teacher or carer, but even if you haven't there are lots of things you can do in the time remaining to ease things along.

Getting a good start to school or nursery:

1. If you have to buy uniform or new clothes, go together and make it an exciting adventure. Give lots of compliments about how smart and grown up your child looks. Take photos and make a big fuss.
2. In school or nursery there are lots of other kids and things will be labelled. It helps if your child can recognise their own name, even if they can't actually read. Play lots of games around this, label things at home, make buns with letters on, look for the letters in their name in other places like shop signs, etc.
3. Help older ones become independent in areas such as feeding themselves, toileting (cleaning themselves and washing their hands) and dressing if they are going to school. Pre-school children will, of course, get more help from staff.
4. Talk about school in a positive way, even if you didn’t like it much when you went! At the same time let your child know you take any worries they have seriously. Talk about them, and ask questions like 'what could you do if that did happen?' (even if you think it’s unlikely). If they really can't think of an answer suggest a couple.
5. If school day bedtimes will be earlier than holiday ones, start gradually making bedtime earlier about a week before school starts. It's often easier than making the change in one jump.

Looking after you when your child starts school or nursery:

1. It can be hard seeing your child taking that first step into the world, but if you are worried or upset don’t let it show. Chat about your fears to friends who have older children - they know exactly how you feel.
2. If you have specific worries, think of practical things to do about them. For example if your child isn't used to mixing with others visit some parks, playgrounds and playgroups over the summer.
3. If you will be at home alone while they are at school, plan in advance how you can make best use of the time; join a gym, sign up for a class, go to a coffee morning, join the PTA, network with other mums on or off-line, look into opportunities for voluntary (or paid) work.
4. If you are placing your child into childcare so you can return to work, remind yourself of all the reasons you had when you decided to take this step.
5. If you have worries about how well your child is doing in school or nursery talk to their teacher or carer. They may be able to reassure you or, if they agree there's a problem, you can decide together what needs to be done about it


Author: is a professional stress management coach, specialising in working with individuals and smaller employers to minimise stress and maximise feeling in control.Find out more on  or phone 01977 678593

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