Discussion | Starting School

Starting school can be a difficult time, both for the parents, but also of course the children themselves.

We’ve written before about this topic, and had some brilliant top tips from a Reception Teacher, you can read that post here. But today we wanted to cover a few aspects that we think can help children ease a little more gently into school.

Here are our top tips or Ways to help children gain confidence in the idea of Starting School.

Practice some letters – it’s helpful if children can recognise their own name, and perhaps even write it. Do some fun activities involving letters over the summer holidays and they may not even realise you’re “making them practice their letters”! Some fun activities may include…

  • Shaving foam play
  • Tracing over letters
  • Letter books ie. these wonderful Jolly Phonics books.

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Get them happy & confident – the transition will be easier for children if they feel happy and confident about starting school. Make sure you talk about any worries and concerns they may have. And try not to talk about how “heartbreaking and sad” it is. (Yes we agree, it’s a difficult time), but we want our little ones to feel confident walking away from their Mummies & Daddies on that first morning. (However heartbreaking it is).

Get them independent  

It’s second nature for us as nannies and parents to help when our little ones ask. For example “Mummy, can you help me with my shoes”? “Can you do it for me”? But really do try to encourage your 4/5 year old to do it themselves.

  • Try to make sure they can dress / undress themselves. (Ideally without help, I know it’s soooo much quicker sometimes, but it’s the summer holidays so hopefully you have time)!
  • Eat independently within a decent amount of time, to avoid the possibility of missing out on playtime. Here we’d recommend the wonderful Nana’s Manners cutlery, which we’ve spoken about before! We’re recommending it to everyone – it really does help children to have the proper tools to be able cut their food etc. And Nana’s Manners cutlery does just that. Check out our review here, or their website here.

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  • Practice putting on their new school shoes independently.
  • Encourage them to go to the toilet (and wipe adequately), by themselves & wash their hands properly too.

Enjoy the holidays and relax – enjoy the summer, do lots of fun things and just let them be children. Once the school routine takes shape its quite difficult to have the flexibility to do everything after school. Allow your children to relax, watch a movie and just enjoy spending time as a family.

Be prepared – Reception children will be particularly tired after a long day of concentrating and (hopefully) being on their best behaviour all day. Just be prepared for tears after school, as they maybe feeling overwhelmed. Also be prepared in terms of having dinner prepped so you can enjoy quality time with your child once you’re at home.

Read some books 

There are plenty of books out there on the topic of starting school. You can read our previous list here.

Show an interest , of course, but don’t overwhelm…

Ask your child about their day, but be prepared for the answer “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember” – quite often this is genuinely the case. You’ll find later on throughout the year, and into year 1 and beyond children will be more open to share what they’ve done. Don’t be disheartened!

Here’s a great article on “25 Ways to Ask Your Children ‘So How Was School Today?’ Without Asking Them ‘So How Was School Today?’.”

What are you doing to help your children start school?

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