Tips to help your little one settle in at school
For thousands of parents across the UK, it’s the final countdown to their child’s first day of school.
However, more than half of new school pupils are thought to be below the expected level of school-readiness and lack social skills, according to a State of Education Report.
With this in mind, LeapFrog is helping parents get their kids ready for the classroom with the help of parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi and popular parenting YouTube community, Channel Mum.
Liat says, “A child’s first day at school is such an emotional time for the whole family. It’s important to remember that in preparing for this day, it’s not about competitive parenting but more about giving children the skills to make sure they can be confident and happy and ease into this new stage in their lives”.
Liat’s top tips for parents are:
1. Talk to them about the idea of school – tell them about your own positive school experiences and find out any specific concerns they have about not having mum or dad around.
2. Attend settling-in days to help them to feel more relaxed – they’ll be able to meet the teacher and experience the classroom environment. Point out things they will be able to enjoy next time they come to school, such as the playground.
3. Help them find a familiar face if your child isn’t starting school with friends from their existing nursery or preschool.
4. Arrange a meet up – ask among local friends to see who has a child starting the same school and arrange meet-ups if you can, like a picnic or a visit to the local playground.
5. Teach them ‘self-care’ – like undressing and dressing themselves for PE – practise this over the summer with clothing that has zips and buttons.
6. Teach them how to eat independently with cutlery; get them chopping and slicing their food as much as possible.
7. Toilet train them (again!) so they know how and when they can ask to use the toilet, how to wipe up and wash their hands properly.
8. Practise counting up to ten in your daily activities – this forms the core of maths learning in the first year of school – and start looking at basic sums, using practical items around the house.
9. Introduce books and stories so your little one can see how letters correspond to sounds and words to sentences. Sharing stories and pointing out specific sounds is a gentle way to introduce this.
10. Teach them to recognise their name so they can find their coat peg or spot the name label on their jumper in a pile of others.
11. See using apps as a positive – we all worry about too much screen time but good quality, well-designed apps can be an engaging way to learn.
12. Encourage basic etiquette, namely taking turns and listening when others speak.
13. Practise sitting still! Practise for half an hour at first and introduce sedentary activities – for example, completing a jigsaw puzzle – to help with this.
14. Role play to help your child to feel comfortable approaching and talking to their teachers and to not be intimidated.
15. Take time to reassure them of any anxieties, even if you’re feeling worried yourself!
LeapFrog and leading child development website iChild, provided 200 primary school teachers with interactive learning system LeapStart, to use in classrooms over a two-month research period. The device received top marks across the board, with 97 per cent recommending the device to parents to help equip their children with the skills needed to start school.
To watch LeapFrog’s videos including more tips click here