Starting school can be both an exciting and daunting experience. Children face many challenges when they start a new school, and it can prove harder than it seems on the surface. At Spring, we recommend the following methods to support both parents and children with this transition.
Your child’s new teacher will play a key role in their transition to school. If you get the opportunity to introduce your child to their new teacher prior to their start date, it will help to supply a familiar face, which can ease some of the anxieties. It is best to form a good relationship with your child’s teacher, letting them know if there are any issues that may worry you or your child. If there are any concerns, simply arrange a meeting and it will provide you and your child with reassurance.
Children benefit widely from routine. Although they may object at first, a routine can help a child to know what to expect. Children are very adaptable due to their resilience. Ensuring they get the recommended amount of sleep, which is 10-13 hours per night for a 4-5-year-old. Sleep is extremely important to their overall health and development. Problems with behaviour, mental health and cognitive performance are seen more in children that do not have the recommended amount of sleep. It is important to get a child into positive bedtime habits and routines.
Sometimes children find it hard to transition to this new school life with lots of new challenges. Be prepared for tears. Adjusting to a school routine and an unfamiliar environment can be difficult, not to mention meeting lots of new children in one go and each child adapts and reacts differently to this. It will take time for a child to detach themselves from you at the door and go in happily. We understand this can be difficult for parents too, however, take comfort in the fact it is temporary while they find their feet.
As a parent it is essential that you support your child in being school ready, this is things such as being able to ask to use the toilet, washing hands on their own, asking for help if they feel poorly, having independence to be able to get dressed and eating independently. These things may seem small but are essential in ensuring your child is feeling confident and prepared. You could write up a checklist with any skills you can think of and test your child on them. Here are some examples that you can use:
Although it may prove time consuming to make an extensive list, taking that time out in the days leading up to your child’s first day at school can prove extremely helpful in the long-term.
A big part of starting school for a child is making friends and becoming familiar with the new people around them. Supporting your child to make friends and be ‘playground ready’ is the first step. The last year during the Covid-19 Pandemic and experiencing lockdown has been particularly difficult for children so it is important to recognise that some children may struggle with their social development when starting school this year. You can encourage your child by making sure you encourage them to join in with games, talking to other children and extracurricular activities will really aid your child in getting to know their peers more and boosting their confidence.
Try to talk to your child regularly about school positively but also do not be afraid to openly speak about what they are finding difficult as this form’s good foundations for an open conversation that normalises their feelings. It can be trivial things like “How did your day go?” or “What did you do today at school?” Encouraging your child to speak about school is important. In a lot of children, it can create a positive and exciting perception about going to school and allowing that time to reflect at the end of the day.
You may find an out of school club helpful to supporting your own transition as we understand parents often work outside of school hours. At Spring by Action for Children, we have Spring Oscars clubs across England and Scotland. A Spring Oscars After School Club and Breakfast Club can support a child to get to know their peers better whilst providing more flexibility for working parents. It is the perfect way for a child to integrate and learn. At After School Clubs Children benefit from a large choice of resources and have the opportunity to take part in different art and craft and sporting activities. Children spend lots of the time outdoors in the school playground or nearby park. At Breakfast Clubs, children can have a healthy breakfast, play games, and take part in different art and craft activities. Staff encourage children to be independent and develop good social skills. Children also develop a strong sense of belonging. Parents feel confident that their children are in a safe and stimulating environment.
What does a child do at a Breakfast Club or After School Club? At Spring Oscars, we offer the children a delicious, nutritious breakfast, while also giving the children an opportunity to develop their social skills and give them the chance to be creative before school starts through various activities, such as arts and crafts, dance parties, mini sporting games and more. We understand that parents and carers have certain commitments early in the morning. To help alleviate the pressure we make our breakfast club accessible from as early as 7am. This means that parents/carers can be at ease to know their children are being looked after and will be taken to school on time.
You can find your local Spring Oscars Club here