Thursday 16 May 2013

Are your children ready for school?!

Some parents are starting to think about September and there little one's starting full time school!!....Is your child ready for school? Forget force feeding them phonics, this is about getting your child ready for the social challenges of school. The more prepared they are, the easier they will settle and the more they’ll get out of those early days.

 1. Can they dress themselves?
Imagine the scene. One teacher faced with thirty children and their coats. By the time each child is zipped up and wrapped up, playtime is over. If your child is able to go some way to helping, they may get some fresh air.

If you can see buttons on trousers and skirts becoming a problem during the post PE change, invest in elasticated waistbands. These will also help during any ‘last minute’ toilet visits. Avoid tights in the early days - they can also lead to unnecessary bathroom accidents. With shoes, laces and buckles are a no-no. Stick to Velcro fastenings which your child can do themselves.

2. Are they used to sharing?
Sharing is a difficult lesson for a child to learn, especially if they only start learning it at school. But it’s a vital lesson if you want your child to settle in and make friends easily. No one wants to play with the boy who refuses to take turns and share, and before long that child becomes isolated. Start to make a point of praising your pre-schooler for sharing his bag of figures or his last few sweets.
3. Can they use the toilet on their own?
Reception classrooms usually have a toilet nearby but children are expected to use it on their own. That can mean less confident children avoid a visit until it’s too late. Encourage your child to begin taking toilet trips without you to build up their confidence. Remind them that hand washing is part of the ‘visit’. Beginning school toilet training now will mean fewer accidents in September.. 

4. Are they able to eat independently?
Lunchtimes can be a real flashpoint in the early days of your child’s school life. Dinner halls are noisy places and can make a child feel overwhelmed. Make sure they arrive at school able to pick up and use a knife and fork. If they’re opting for a packed lunch, make sure they can open a yoghurt, put a straw in a juice box and unpeel a banana. With school a few months off, it may seem like the easier option to feed them, but it won’t help in the long run. Practice, however painful, makes perfect.
5. Are they able to recognise their name?
If your child can recognise their name, they’ll be able to find their peg, identify their drawer in the classroom and find their cardigan if it gets misplaced. Starting school can make even the most confident child feel a little lost. If they can locate important places, it will make them feel more in control.
6. Can they use scissors?
Teachers look for this in the early stages of Reception to evaluate dexterity. Get crafty over the next few months.
7. Do they understand discipline?
It’s important your child understands what’s expected of them when they arrive at school. They need to know hitting, kicking, biting and hair pulling will not be tolerated. Not only will it bring your child to the attention of the head teacher for all the wrong reasons, but it will make your child unpopular with their classmates. Reputations earned in the early days of school tend to stick and can be hard to shake off.
8. Can they communicate with an adult?
Giving your child the skills to communicate with their teacher means they will be able to have some control. How else will they ask to go to the toilet? If they don’t understand how to get the attention of an adult, how will they let their teacher know they don’t understand their work? A child who can communicate will get more out of the school day than a child who is unwilling to speak up. Encourage your child to ask and even practice with a raised hand at home to make sure they understand the most appropriate way of getting a grown ups attention.

9. Are they able to count?
If your child is able to count up to 20, and count back from 10, this will give them a really good head start. Use some of their favourite toys or foods to make counting fun. Lay out 10 grapes and get them to eat them one by one, counting as they go. It will give them confidence and help them see learning as fun. Plus it’s a great way to get one of their 5 a day down them!

10. Can they follow simple instructions?
The school day is full of instructions. Your child will be asked to put coats on pegs, bring packed lunches into classrooms and sit cross legged on the carpet for circle time. If a child is used to following instructions, they will avoid being reprimanded. The more time a teacher dedicates to repeating instructions and encouraging co-operation, the less time there is for teaching. Start giving your child simple tasks – perhaps helping with the weekly shop or with some straight forward jobs around the house. It will prepare them for school life.


  1. I don't think my youngest is going to be ready come September - she still has a dummy :-S

    1. Aww bless!! I'm sure she'll be fine!
      My youngest had the dummy fairies come for a visit took all the dummies away and left some presents...Only had a couple of days of screaming but we got through

  2. a very useful post! my son just finishing year 1 but all that you have said held true