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Time for school!

Many families are facing the reality of their child starting school in September, now that the flurry of emails confirming places at preferred schools has subsided. It’s a time of change, mixed emotions and uncertainty – not just for the tots concerned, but also for parents and carers.

And although it’s often hard to accept your little one is growing up, the more you can do to prepare them for their next big adventure, the better. Here are just a few tips we’ve been sharing with our own families that you might also find useful…

· Encourage independence! Help your child learn to help themselves.

· Show them how to get dressed and hang up their coat. Make it fun! Play silly games like “sock monsters” or have a race to get dressed first.

· Teach them how to wipe their own noses and bottoms after going to the loo. Use sticker charts and other rewards if your little one seems more reluctant.

· Support them in developing their listening skills as they learn to follow instructions, share and take turns. Pretend play is a brilliant way of doing this, so don your superhero cape, or fairy wings and get ready for action!

Tracey Owen, Playgroup’s Supervisor, said: “Starting school is a big step, and it can be an anxious time for everyone involved. Parents sometimes focus on whether their child knows letters or numbers, rather than the more practical skills of self-sufficiency. All that wonderful learning will follow!

"In our experience, the best way parents can prepare their child is to talk openly about what school will be like and encourage them to look after themselves but to have the confidence to ask for help if they need it.”

If your little one is due to start school in September and you haven't already received a "Getting Ready for School Checklist" in your child's book bag, then please shout! It's a great resource that gives you a few more hints and tips about what else you can be doing at home to prepare your child for school.

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