Starting primary school is a significant milestone in a child’s life, and as parents, it’s natural to want to provide the best support during this exciting and sometimes overwhelming period. I went through this very journey last year with Hugo and I wanted to share some of the things that really helped us on our journey in the hopes it may make it ever so slightly easier for you too. Whether you’re a first-time parent or have gone through this before, it’s essential to consider a few key strategies to ensure your child’s smooth transition into primary school. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this – Henry my eldest started primary school many years ago now and is in fact going to high school in September!! It feels as if it was only yesterday I was pregnant with Hugo so when he embarked upon primary school last year it was a huge culture shock for both of us.
I want to preface this blog post by saying that for many of the children embarking on primary school at this time lockdown played a huge part in their lives growing up. Older children were impacted but not on the scale that our younger offspring were. This does mean that there has been a significant increase in these children struggling with transition and change. Of course, every child is unique and their experiences are all different but Hugo really struggled with change and I just want to reassure you that if you have a child who is slightly more sensitive it is going to be okay. I had many sleepless nights worrying over Hugo starting school and how he would cope but a year on I can tell you that any worries are a mere figment of my imagination and he is absolutely thriving – so don’t despair I’ve been there so I know how you feel!
Establish a Routine
Routines provide children with a sense of security and predictability, helping them adjust to the new school environment. Start by establishing consistent sleep and wake-up times to ensure your child is well-rested and ready for the day ahead. Additionally, create a morning routine that allows for a relaxed breakfast and ample time to get ready, minimizing any rush or stress. Do this well in advance of them starting school so that it feels comfortable and normal before September rolls around. A structured after-school routine that incorporates time for play, homework, and family interaction can also contribute to your child’s overall well-being. In those first few months, they come home worn out and exhaustion can lead to meltdowns and tantrums but having structure helps keep everyone happy.
Primary school is an excellent opportunity for children to develop their independence and self-confidence. Encourage your child to take responsibility for simple tasks such as packing their school bag, putting on their shoes, and managing their own belongings. Things like zipping up their own coats should be encouraged as this is the sort of thing expected of them when they attend school. It sounds obvious but often preschools and nurseries are able to be more hands-on and help children with these tasks. Promote problem-solving skills by allowing them to make decisions within reasonable boundaries. By fostering independence, you empower your child to navigate the challenges and opportunities that arise in the school environment, boosting their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Foster Open Communication
Maintaining open lines of communication with your child is crucial, especially during this period of adjustment. Encourage them to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to school. Ask open-ended questions about their day and listen attentively to their responses. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small, and provide a safe space for them to discuss any concerns or challenges they may be facing. By fostering open communication, you can build trust and support your child’s emotional well-being which is one of the most important jobs we have as a parent. We incorporated some books about starting school into our bedtime routine so that the idea of school became fun and exciting without it feeling too heavy. Some of my recommendations are:
Collaborate with Teachers
Establishing a positive relationship with your child’s teacher is such an overlooked task. I have been really blessed in that Hugo’s teacher is absolutely wonderful. She is so open to conversation and discussion – often reaching out just to let me know how he is doing. Building that relationship makes school so much easier for our little ones so take any opportunities you can to get to know your child’s teacher before they start. Attending parent’s evenings, and school events, and volunteering when possible are all really great ways to build upon that relationship. Before starting and during the school year your class teacher will appreciate you sharing any relevant information about your child’s interests, strengths, and any specific needs that might require additional support. This collaborative approach between parents and teachers creates a strong support system that fosters a conducive learning environment for your child which of course is the overall goal.
Encourage A Love For Learning
Instilling a love for learning at an early age can have a profound impact on your child’s educational journey. Engage in activities that stimulate their curiosity and creativity, such as reading together, exploring nature, and visiting museums or libraries. Support their homework efforts without taking over, emphasising the process rather than the end result. Show enthusiasm for their achievements and encourage a growth mindset, where mistakes are seen as opportunities for learning and growth. By nurturing a positive attitude towards education, you can lay a solid foundation for your child’s lifelong learning. There is this great misconception amongst the human race that mistakes equal failure when in fact mistakes are the pinnacle point of success. Teaching our children this from a young age helps build resilience to that later in life.
Primary school is a huge step for any child but one that should be celebrated and encouraged. There will be fears and anxieties along the way for both you as their parent and them as the child. Be kind to yourself during this process as it can feel like they are too little and not ready for the road ahead but be reassured that everything you have done in their lives before now has been to set them up for this very moment. They will make solid friendships, experience things you never thought possible and come home and relay a bunch of facts you would never believe they could ever comprehend. The other day after an assembly on Anne Frank Hugo came home and told me all about her and I was very impressed with not only his retention of knowledge but his understanding too! Enjoy this process and absorb every second the days are long but the years really are short.
You May Also Like:
Thank you for stopping by! Check out my last post here.
Love as always!
More From Me
Want to find out more about me? Head over to this page. If you like reading posts like this then you might want to follow me over on Bloglovin. Don’t forget you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & YouTube.
As always words, views and opinions are honest and my own. Links marked with “*” are affiliate links. This does not cost you anything additional but it may mean I earn a small percentage from any sales. For more information about any of this please head over to this page.