16 Tips for Preparing Your Child for Starting School

Every parent wants their child to succeed. Preparing them at an early age so that they are ready when starting school will help them in getting the right start. It’s never too early to start the process of thinking about school readiness. Getting your child ready for the big transition to school involves not just academic readiness, but also independence and social readiness as well.

Nearly every child is a little apprehensive about starting school. Here are some helpful ways to prepare your child for starting school.

Preparing Emotionally

Talk to your child about starting school. Taking the time to ask your child about his or her feelings is a good place to start. Don’t be surprised if your child gives a whole range of emotions attached to starting school:

  • If your child is nervous, reassure them that such feelings are normal and that nearly all of their classmates are a little nervous, too!
  • Talk to them about all the good things about the school such as making new friends to play with, fun art projects, and learning all about new things.
  • Visit the school before school starts. Many school districts will arrange for new students to meet their teacher face to face and see the classroom where they will be spending their day. This can help reassure them and make them feel less apprehensive.
  • Have your child make friends with another child who will be in their class. Consider having them over to play before school starts. By having a friend to interact with, seeing a friendly face can help make school much more enjoyable for them.

Life Skills

Having a good set of life skills can help them to be well adjusted to the world around them socially and make for a more positive experience at school:

  • Have a daily routine that you follow each weekday. Setting bedtime and meals to a particular time will help children adjust more easily once school starts.
  • Encourage your child to help with chores around the house such as meal preparation and simple cleaning tasks including tidying up after playtime
  • Set expectations for behaviour and give consequences when rules are broken.
  • Let your child do complex tasks such as completing puzzles or craft projects on their own or with friends.
  • Rewarding good manners while discouraging shouting, screaming, hitting or other negative behaviours can help to make the transition to school easier. Children need to be taught to be social and to deal with the world around them. Have a discussion with your child about positive behaviours when interacting with others.
  • Playing a game of money bingo or other math bingo games can teach children how to count as well as to understand basic money concepts. A number of online learning sites offer a number of bingo games aimed at preschool, kindergarten and early grades.
  • Children learn communication skills through reading and discussion at home first. By spending time with your child finding out the things that they are concerned or curious about and giving them lots of hugs and reassurance is sure to make their first days at school positive ones.

Practical Preparations

It’s surprising the number of knowledge kids will have learned by the time they are ready to start school.  Playtime can provide many of the skills they will need before starting school:

  • Reading to your child every day is an important part of school readiness. Going to the public library for story time and to check out books is a great way to start.
  • Sing songs such as the alphabet song as well as play games that involve recognizing words, colors and numbers.
  • Play is one of the most important developmental tools that parents can provide for their children. Make time for play, bicycle riding or doing interesting activities such as going to a museum or on a walk through the park.
  • Play a game of money bingo to help your child recognize the various denominations in both coins and in bills. Make it a counting game where three or five of each type of coin in a row is a bingo.
  • Bingo has been adapted to teach colours, letters, animals, plants, language and word recognition. Bingo is also one of the most effective ways to teach math and math concepts from preschool through every grade level.

With these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to help your children get ready for that big first day of school and get a good start on helping your children with the social and intellectual education.