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The time has come for your child to move on from daycare or preschool and start school. It is a lot of change, but the transition can be made easier with some preparation. This blog post will give you tips to help prepare your child for this big step in their life.
Transitioning to school is all about change. Your child may see school as an unknown place with new rules, people and activities. It may also be the end of regular days filled with playtime, art projects and songs by the teacher. Instead they will be expected to sit in class quietly for most of the day while they complete work on their own. Teachers expect them to listen and follow directions without interrupting or complaining.
Your child may feel anxious about all of these changes and it is up to you as the parent/guardian to make this transition easier and smoother.
How can you prepare your child for the transition? Preparation will help reduce anxiety and make the change more comfortable for both you and your child. These tips should be implemented a week or two before school starts:
Talk about what will happen at school
Prepare the things they will need together
Model good behaviour
Prepare your child for separation
Give your child a tour of the new school
Talk with your child about what will happen at school. Let them know when they will make the transition; also talk about where they will go (classroom), who they will see (teacher, principal), and give some examples of what they will be doing (listening, playing).
Prepare the things they will need together at home before the first day of school. Items might include, back packs, folders with pockets, pencil boxes, snacks for school lunches, etc. If possible, have your child help pick out these items with you. This will be an important part of making your child feel like they are a part of the transition to school.
Encourage your child to follow directions from an adult they know (teacher, principal); role play at home by asking your child what you would like them to do if they start to run in the hallway or touch something that is off limits. This will decrease the chances of them misbehaving in the new environment.
Prepare your child for when you need to leave them at school. Talk about why they are going to school and who will be taking care of them (teacher). Let them know that you will arrive and pick them up later on; reassure them that it won’t be long and they will see you again soon. Ask them how they feel about school and if there are any activities or subjects they would like to try (art, music).
Help your child become familiar with the environment by visiting school during their first few days of class. Make it a game; watch for certain animals or colours on clothing. Point out different rooms (office, tuckshop) and ask them what they think is happening there. This will help them visualise the school, and give them a good idea of where they need to go.
There are many more ways to prepare your child for the big transition from daycare or preschool to full time school; these tips should get you going in the right direction. Remember that change is hard, but having a supportive family will make it easier.
If you would like any further tips on preparing your child for the transition to school, please get in touch with our team.