Starting school should be an enjoyable, positive experience where children have the opportunity to make new friends and experience new things.
Helping your child be ready for school
Below are a few strategies that can help prepare your child for school. The tips have been grouped into three categories. However, many of the activities help develop skills in more than one area.
Social and emotional competence
Ensure that your child has some regular contact with other children before starting school. This helps them learn how to make friends. Introduce games: - that involve taking turns, such as playing on a swing or jumping on a trampoline; - where they have to share or play co-operatively to attain a joint or an individual goal, such as, sharing coloured pencils or building a sandcastle; - of chance where children can learn to lose gracefully, such as board games like snakes and ladders.
Encourage them to come up with a fair solution if conflict arises. Sit down with them and help them sort through the conflict. Make them aware of rules and the reasons for having them, such as crossing the road only when the 'green person' walks. Use positive labels to help build their self-esteem, such as 'helpful', 'kind', 'responsible', 'grown-up' and avoid using negative ones. Refer to negative behaviour in terms of the event. "That wasn't a very sensible thing to do" labels the act rather than the personality. If your child sees you being kind and helpful to your family and friends, they will learn from your behaviour. If you are often angry and solve conflict by shouting or being aggressive, they are also likely to imitate this way of responding. Notice if your child does something well. Behaviour is more likely to change with praise than punishment. During the first few weeks, in particular, it is important that you ask questions about their day to encourage them to talk about school at home.