My boy Ed starts school at the beginning of next year and I'm going to return to my blog then. When I have no-one at home for hours on end and my kids don't need me quite so much any more - sniff!
I just wanted to make it official just in case there is any one popping in, wondering when and if I'll ever be back. I do have an article in January's Practical Parenting if you'd like something to read before then.
In the meantime, I'll be getting ready for my little boy to start school (amongst other things). If you have a little one starting school too, my best advice would be:
- Start them doing as much as they can for themselves. Really encourage as much independence as possible. Get your child to look after her belongings, dress and undress herself, manage her own toileting and feed herself.
- Focus on language. Encourage your child to speak slowly and clearly, pronouncing sounds as best he can. Actively listen to what he's saying by making eye contact and repeating back bits of what he's said eg. "Mum can I have a drink" "You'd like a drink would you?). Also play lots of silly word games, making up rhymes and riddles as well as singing songs, saying nursery rhymes and reading stories.
- Visit the school. Go to all the transition sessions you can make it to and play on the playground after hours if possible.
- Set up a school play corner at home. Include pens, paper, a whiteboard if you can and your child's uniform and school bag. Don't forget to include soft toys, they make great imaginary pupils.
- Talk about what happens at school. Ask your child what they think will happen. Talk about the routine and recess and lunch. Get your child to use a toilet cublicle on her own like she'll have to at school. Often little things like getting stuck in the toilet or not knowing where her lunch or jacket might be or where she'll eat lunch or how she'll find her friends can be the biggest causes of anxiety. Talk things over giving your child jsut a little bit of information at a time and let her ask lots of questions.
- Wind back all the activities you can now and SPEND AS MUCH TIME WITH THEM AS POSSIBLE. This makes them feel loved and safe and secure and ready to meet challenges. It also lets you drink up those last lovely moments of together time which come fewer and further between when school starts.